North Bay is the first city in northern Ontario to be offering free bike rides to local seniors or less-abled residents through the Cycling Without Age Program.

It involves Trishaw, a three-wheel bike that seats two people in front with seat belts, while the volunteer driver is in back.

The organizing committee is led by Dr Erica Buck and the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay and Districts.

She says she saw a YouTube video and was deeply moved by the idea and felt it needed to be brought to North Bay.
“The Alzheimer Society has been an amazing partner, I went to them about five months ago and said, ‘are you interested?’ and they just jumped on board,” she says.

Dr Buck says it’s about giving people the chance to feel the wind in their hair again, pointing out life doesn’t end at 75.

“I have a story from one of the residents who got on the bicycle for the first time and at the end of the bicycle ride he got off and started to cry, and said ‘I haven’t had this much fun in years, can I do it again next week?’, so that’s all that we need to hear to make this happen,” she says.

There is one Trishaw and a host of volunteers involved in giving people rides at the waterfront.

Dr Buck says the bikes cost $11,000 and there are expansion plans.

“We are planning to bring three more bikes into the city, but they are expensive, so the next step is more fundraising,” she says.

Dr Buck also thanked her medical colleagues, who she says have been instrumental in making this happen through their generous donations.

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