Wheelchair-bound residents at Yaletown House will be able to cycle along the seawall or anywhere else bikes can go after the care facility purchased a specially designed bicycle with a wheelchair on the front.
The Duet Bike allows disabled passengers to sit in a specially adapted seat at the front of the bike while a cyclist pedals from behind. If the pair wants to go into a café or shop, the front unclips as a separate wheelchair.
Brian Hewer, who is in a wheelchair after suffering a stroke, has used the bike three times — including yesterday when Mayor Gregor Robertson pedaled him along the seawall.
“I feel very safe on it, and a sense of freedom because I’m out in the fresh air and out in the community,” said Hewer.
He said the bike allows users to interact with their community and provides the freedom to visit parts of the city not accessible in a wheelchair.
“Getting out on a bike, even as a passenger, reduces depression and … (allows for) increased social interaction and enjoyment in life,” added Carol Crichton, executive director of Yaletown House.