by Emily Varvir, CTRS
HARDWICK – With the completion of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) on the horizon, new opportunities for outdoor recreation in our area abound. Connecting 18 towns across 93 miles, the LVRT is open year-round and can be used for all types of non-motorized physical activity including walking, jogging, hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and dog sledding. During the winter season, the LVRT is even open to snowmobiling. However, despite the trail running right through the middle of our town, there are many residents who may not feel welcome or able to participate in these sports without aid or accommodation.
This summer, the Hardwick Recreation Committee and the Hardwick Trails Committee are partnering with Adaptive Sports Partners, a nonproﬁt based in Franconia, N.H., to make biking on the LVRT inclusive and fun for all Hardwick residents no matter their abilities.
The program will run from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., every Monday from June 19 to August 28 (excluding July 31) and from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., on every other Saturday (starting July 1). Additionally, the program will be free to all Hardwick residents.
So, who can participate in adaptive biking? Simply put, any individual with a disability. No two disabilities are identical, but as adaptive biking is endlessly modiﬁable, this sport is ideal for anyone with physical, cognitive, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges. For instance, an individual with one-sided muscle paralysis or weakness following a stroke or other neurological injury may ﬁnd that a recumbent or tandem bike is the perfect ﬁt. While a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), visual impairment, or other developmental disability, may discover a tandem upright bike more to their liking. Additionally, those with spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or other similar conditions, may ﬁnd a handcycle better suits their abilities. The options and pairings are inﬁnite.
However, no matter an individual’s disability or the type of adaptive bike needed to participate, the program oﬀers the same opportunities for all participants: physical activity in Vermont’s scenic landscape, joy and camaraderie among new friends, a sense of freedom and belonging, and most importantly, empowerment in one’s strengths and abilities.
If adaptive biking sounds right for you or someone you love, sign up under the “Get Involved” tab on the Adaptive Sports Partners’ website (adaptivesportspartners.org). If you have questions, please visit the Adaptive Sports Partners’ booth at SpringFest on May 27, at Atkins Field or contact Kerry Hussey, NEK Program Manager, at Adaptive Sports Partners, (802)-427-4116 or email@example.com.