Cycling Without Age breaks down barriers to bicycling

A unique ride pulled into the lobby of Milestone Senior Living in Eagle River Friday morning.

Michelle Bachaus with Wisconsin Bike Fed steered a trishaw through the automatic doors.

Picture a bright red bicycle except with two wheels in front. Between those two wheels is a buggy-like contraption with bench seating and a red awning overhead.

While most of the residents were skeptical of the bike, especially on such a chilly morning, Darlene and Lavonne couldn’t wait.

“You can just throw us in there,” Darlene joked.

The two were loaded up in the seats, buckled in, bundled up with a cozy custom blanket designed for the bike.

Bachaus hopped on the bike seat and took the women for a ride, one which they thoroughly enjoyed.

“It was wonderful. I loved it. Although we didn’t find any men,” said Darlene.

Oneida and Vilas County ADRC offices will each be getting two trishaws to help more people enjoy the outdoors.

Bachaus says every time she takes people out is a wonderful experience.

“Just to see the transformation in people. Whether they’re riding or volunteering piloting. It’s almost instant,” she said. “People can be so quiet and not say anything. We get on this and roll 10 minutes out the door and they’re singing and swinging their arms, just having a great time.”

Bachaus heads the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Cycling Without Age program and travels around the state showcasing it.

“Cycling without age makes it possible for those who can’t or can no longer pedal their own bicycles to feel the wind in their hair and the sun in their faces and experience the joy of cycling,” she said.

While this particular trishaw has left the Northwoods for other parts of the state, the Northwoods will soon be getting its own.

The ADRC offices of Vilas and Oneida Counties are each buying two trishaws so that they can give even more people this experience.

“We’re here for the elderly and disabled as ADRCs. Any opportunity we can give to older adults and people with disabilities to provide inclusion, equity for any of the outdoor activities that we have, we want to do,” said Joel Gottsacker, manager of Oneida County ADRC.

The trishaws will be available locally starting next spring.

Sue Richmond is the Director of Vilas County’s ADRC. She’s also excited for the trishaws to be used within the Northland Pines School District.

“They’re going to get some of their paralegal teacher aids to be pilots so that they can offer it to some of the disabled students that can’t participate in the gym classes when they’re doing the biking. I’m thrilled to be able to have them part of this too because it’s important that everyone gets the chance to experience the outdoors,” said Richmond.

ADRC will need volunteers to pilot or pedal the bikes. You can call either ADRC office to sign up.

Oneida County ADRC: 715-369-6170

Vilas County ADRC: 715-479-3625

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Bachaus pedals the trishaw back inside Milestone Senior Living.