A nonprofit that helps people with disabilities experience the freedom of bike riding is gearing up for its third season along the Midtown Greenway.
Twin Cities Adaptive Cycling (TCAC) will kick off its season on April 30. With a goal of reaching 200 riders this summer, the organization is hoping to recruit more people willing to lend their time.
“We need volunteers more than anything,” said Caito Bowles-Roth, TCAC’s co-founder.
Last year TCAC served 120 riders on about 500 total rides, but by August they had to put those who wanted to ride on a waitlist due to a shortage of volunteers.
The group will be hosting a training session for volunteers in partnership with Pedal and Roll for Parkinson’s from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, at Freewheel Bike along the Midtown Greenway at 2834 10th Ave. S. Those interested in helping don’t need to be an occupational therapist (like Bowles-Roth) or a bike mechanic.
“We want to educate people on all the roles they can be,” she said.
The group always needs greeters who can help get riders organized when they arrive for a ride, she said. Several people TCAC serves are visually impaired and just need someone to ride up front on a tandem bike with them.
The biggest challenge in adaptive biking is getting bikes that can fit the specific needs of individual riders. TCAC serves people who have experienced spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, vision loss, Parkinson’s disease and balance issues, among other disabilities. To serve those people and reach even more they need to add to their collection of about 30 bikes.
Adaptive bikes are expensive, with an average cost of $2,000. To help raise money for more bikes that fit the needs of more potential riders, TCAC is hosting a fundraiser on April 17 at Indeed Brewing in Northeast. Every dollar spent on the taproom’s beer between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. goes directly to TCAC.
TCAC has open riding hours on the Greenway three times a week. Participants check in and board their bikes at the Urban Ventures lot at 2840 S. 5th Ave.
This year, Bowles-Roth said they are organizing individual fitting sessions for new riders on different days from the rides to speed up the process for participants. They’re also planning to start a youth ride program on the first Saturday in June.
Many who ride with TCAC are experiencing adaptive biking for the first time.
“It’s amazing to see people have that feeling of autonomy,” she said.
For more information, visit tcacycling.org.