Rehabilitation assistant Morgan Foisy moved to Prince Rupert just over a year ago and immediately saw the need to bring a TrailRider — an adaptive bike — into the community to allow people of all disabilities to access the trails in the region.
“With the TrailRider they can virtually go anywhere, like the Butze Trail and especially with new trails opening, such as Tall Trees and Rushbrook (later this year),” Foisy said.
She was introduced to the TrailRider in Kelowna when she volunteered for one year with Adaptive Adventures. The adaptive bike takes two people, with one in the front and the back. It can maneuver over large obstacles such as rocks and logs.
“I personally know I have many clients who would benefit from having access to the TrailRider,” Foisy said.
One of her clients is Patrick St. Louis who is a C5 quadriplegic advocating for better access to recreation in the community.
Patrick St. Louis is advocating for having access to trails in Prince Rupert and surrounding area. SHANNON LOUGH/THE NORTHERN VIEW
“It gets people out there that aren’t able to access the trails or go out into nature,” St. Louis said.
He was 52-years-old when he broke his spine after falling from a chair while decorating his church. A year-and-a-half ago, before the accident, he would go hiking and fishing with his family. Both his wife and daughter said they want to learn how to use the TrailRider to take him outdoors.
“I think if we have one initiated with someone using it would encourage other businesses to purchase another one and we could go out as a crew,” St. Louis said.
In 2013, Kitimat residents fundraised to purchase a TrailRider to accommodate an elementary school student, and to offer trail accessibility for others with disabilities. Grade Two and Three classes made a pitch for a grant at a Kitimat Council meeting and they received $5,000 in support toward the purchase of the equipment.
Foisy has reached out to management at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre, where she wants to store the adaptive bike. If she’s successful in bringing a bike to Prince Rupert, she would maintain the equipment and train people on how to use it. Volunteers and users would be able to rent the bike for free.
A brand new TrailRider costs approximately $7,000 but Foisy has tracked down a gently-used one for $3,500. She has set up a GoFundMe page and has raised $460 as of April 13. She is reaching out for sponsors and donations to make the North Coast outdoors accessible for all.