Tandem bicycle to increase trail accessibility

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A tandem mountain bike is adding a new dimension to Otago Central Rail Trail journeys.

The bike is controlled by one main rider, while another cyclist can sit at the front where there is another set of pedals.

Although it helps if the person at the front pedals, it is not vital, which makes the bike a perfect option for people, particularly adults, who cannot cycle due to a disability.

Alexandra woman Pippa Wellstead set up The Good Life Charitable Trust to raise funds for the $7500 bike, which was delivered last week.

The trust aimed to raise awareness and educate the community about respecting and supporting disabled people.

It has also helped secure some of the much-needed funds.

The Lions Club of Alexandra and Alexandra Rotary Club each gave $1000 to the cause and the Otago Community Trust gave $3200.

To make sure it was readily accessible, the bike would be available from Trail Journeys in Clyde, where Mrs Wellstead works.

” .. we shall be able to offer the bike to families with young adults who are unable to negotiate a regular bike for a donation that they can afford,” she said.

“I aim to use these donated funds to purchase a child’s seat for a cost of $600.”

Mrs Wellstead lives in Alexandra with her husband, Mark, and three children, Jack (19), Phoebe (13) and Emily (12.)

Jack, who has Fragile X Syndrome , was one of the main driving forces behind the community project.

The condition has a range of characteristics, from mild to severe learning difficulties, anxiety, ADHD, delayed and repetitive speech and autistic-like behaviours.

Mrs Wellstead said the bike meant Jack could be assisted and – for the first time – the family could finally enjoy the Otago Central Rail Trail.

It was something the family was looking forward to, especially as Jack was very athletic in a range of other disciplines, including running and swimming.