Joy Riders kick off biking program at Cedar Creek Park for people with limited mobility
Carol Storez of West Newton gets out of the house often enough. But at 87 years old, she’s not exactly ready to hop on a Huffy and pedal around Cedar Creek Park in Rostraver.
“I can’t ride a bike myself anymore,” she said.
Now she doesn’t have to: Storez was the inaugural passenger last week on the first voyage of the Joy Riders, a collaboration between the nonprofit Veterans Leadership Program and triathlon training groups the Mighty Tri Girls and Total Chaos.
Together, they offer a community biking program for people with limited mobility.
The partners were able to raise $20,000 in nine months, enough to purchase two Duet bikes. Manufactured in Oakdale, the bikes feature a passenger seat in the front, with the cyclist pedaling in the rear.
“We just wanted to give people with limited mobility a chance to get out,” Mighty Tri Girls founder Sue Waldrop of Greensburg said.
After purchasing the bikes, volunteer “pilots” spent time training, according to co-founder Karen Primm of Smithton.
“We couldn’t really roll it out quickly, pun intended,” Primm said. “We had two hours of discussion with our volunteers, and then six hours on the bikes to get them comfortable with using it.”
Westmoreland County officials also provided the Joy Riders with a dedicated building in Cedar Creek Park to house the two Duet bikes, since they are too large for a traditional bike rack.
As Waldrop outfitted her with a helmet, Storez joked, “This is for when we start going 60 miles an hour, right?”
Primm said that even though the Veterans Leadership Program is a partner, rides are not limited to veterans.
“We’re not using a strict definition of ‘limited mobility’ or restricting it to just vets or just children,” she said. “We want anyone who needs a ride to be able to get it.”
Waldrop said Western Pennsylvania is a perfect place to launch this type of group.
“We’re so lucky to live where we do, to have so many miles of trails, and they’re all connecting with one another,” she said, noting that if they wanted, the group could get on the trail at Cedar Park — part of the Great Allegheny Passage — and be in Washington, D.C., in three days’ time.
Storez perked up when she heard that.
“I’m all for it,” she said with a laugh.
For more about the group, see JoyRidersPA.wixsite.com/jriders.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .