No ordinary ride: How this adaptive bike program brings smiles to everyone involved

Not everyone can ride a bike, so this offers an experience like no other

Courtesy photo. Adriel Thornton (MoGo)

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There seemingly isn’t an easier activity than riding a bike.

The key word in that sentence is “seemingly.”

Due to physical or mental limitations, not everybody can learn or even have the pleasure of riding a bike around a neighborhood or town.

Given that, one organization in Detroit is doing its best to make sure there is access for all types of cyclists.

MoGo, a nonprofit bikeshare organization, is offering rides for adaptive cyclists throughout the summer.

The rides are held three days a week along the Detroit Riverwalk and one day a week in Ferndale.

The rides along the Riverwalk take place on Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

The group also meets in Ferndale on Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m.

“When people think of biking, the first train of thought is that anybody can get on a bike and ride,” said Adriel Thornton, executive director of MoGo. “We all know that’s not true.”

Rides are arranged through a reservation system, with the cost being $9 for one hour and $15 for two hours. A seasons pass can also be purchased for $40, said Jacob Graham, who helps run the adaptive program for MoGo.

There are 16 cycles available that are all different types, including recumbent tricycles, upright cargo tricycles, hand tricycles, tandem bicycles and tricycles, side-by-side quadricycles and a box-bike.

These types of bikes are expensive and not the easiest to store or maintain, so the program offers riders a unique way to get outside and be active.

“People who rent these bikes get the chance to use equipment that can be prohibitively expensive to purchase on their own,” Graham said.

As much as the riders get out of the experience, Thornton said the organization gets even more from seeing the smiles on people’s faces.

In particular, Thornton pointed out a situation in which a grandmother was able to ride a tandem bike with her grandson who has special needs and had never ridden a bike before.

“Her feedback really gives me goosebumps to this day,” Thornton said.

The rides will be available until Oct. 29.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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