New Columbia program helps get residents out and about

8 months 1 week 4 days ago Friday, September 08 2017 Sep 8, 2017 Friday, September 08, 2017 4:05:00 PM CDT September 08, 2017 in News
By: Emily Sanderson, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - The Pednet Coalition of Columbia is gearing up for the launch of their new Giving Rides program.

The initiative will provide rides to older adults and people with disabilities who may find it difficult to get outside and be active. 

Volunteers will operate a tandem-style bike, making it easier for them to push participants along trails throughout the city.  

"The difference is instead of there being pedals in the front, there's a wheelchair in the front and it's got straps and a footrest. It also has an electric assist [if] the person in the back comes to a hill or needs an extra assist," Pednet Program Coordinator Heather Marriott said.

Marriott said the program goes beyond just a bike ride along the trails. 

"It's also the social aspect of it. So as we're training our volunteers it's very important for us to stress to them that having conversations, some of these people don't get to meet a lot of people all the time. So just getting out and having a good time," Marriott said.  

The group said they are have already been receiving positive reactions from participants during demonstration rides. 

"There was a gentleman who's lived here all of his life and talked about how he used to be out on the trail all the time and hasn't been able to in so long. Everyone has absolutely loved it," Marriott said. 

Residents from Bluffs Retirement Home in Columbia were also able to enjoy a ride. 

"It's a wonderful thing for people who can't physically go out and be active on their own," Bluffs Executive Director Colleen Hollestelle said. 

The group said it will set up more rides and start training new volunteers as early as next week. 

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