Heritage Place Lodge Activities Coordinator Courtney Farmer gives resident Karen Collyer a ride around the Morinville Fish and Game Association pond trail on Wednesday, July 18. The Lodge’s new Duet Tandem Wheelchair Bike will allow getting out and about in the community. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
Heritage Place Lodge residents will have an easier time getting out and about for some fresh air and a little sightseeing now that the Lodge’s Duet Electro Bike has arrived.
The Duet Tandem Wheelchair Bike is an innovative and inclusive mobility solution that has revolutionized how people with disabilities experience cycling. The Duet features a unique tandem configuration that connects a traditional bicycle to a front platform with a wheelchair, allowing the user to participate in the cycling experience actively.
A Sturgeon Composite High School event called Sturgeon Strides for the Community, which took place in the spring of 2022, primarily funded the $11,000 plus bike. Funds from Heritage Lodge’s recent Canada Day silent auction provided additional revenue for accessories for the bike.
Heritage Place Lodge Activities Coordinator Courtney Farmer expressed Heritage Lodge’s profound gratitude to Sturgeon Composite High School staff and students, particularly teachers Sarah Day and Terresa Blonski, who organized the fundraising event.
“As a not-for-profit organization, this is something we would never have been able to purchase on our own, which is why we are so grateful to Sturgeon Composite High School,” Farmer said.
Farmer first experienced the Duet when in university and doing her practicum at Aspen Place, which also has one of the bikes.
Heritage Place Lodge’s Duet Electro has a battery and motor, allowing for electric assist with movement. Farmer said a unit on the handlebars allows staff to select how much electric assist is given. Additional options included some plastic shielding on the wheels and around the wheels to prevent a rider’s fingers from getting into the spokes.
“It’s a great opportunity to get our residents out, get some fresh air, and explore a bit of Morinville,” Farmer said. “I think it is going to be a great thing, particularly to people who have less mobility to get out and about.”
One resident who has had the opportunity to go for a ride is Heritage Place Lodge resident Karen Collyer.
“I love it. It’s great. I’m enjoying it immensely—the fresh air,” Collyer said. “I don’t get to go out a lot. This is wonderful—my first ride. It won’t be my last.”
Farmer said the bike and riding outdoors in the fresh air and seeing nature is a therapeutic thing for all concerned.
“This is allowing them to get out into the community,” she said. “We’ve seen so many people since we started being around. Everyone is rolling down their window and saying how awesome it is. It is a way for us to connect with the community.”
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