Fayetteville, AR — – On Saturday, for the first time in two decades some Northwest Arkansans experienced something they thought they’d never get to enjoy again.
People with disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy, blindness, and down syndrome got the chance to ride a bike.
“We were coming down the hill on Gregg street we were really picking up speed, all I could do was smile. It’s just a wonderful feeling to be back riding again,” said Rita Reese-Whiting, a participant in Saturday’s event.
People without sight used carriage style and tandem bikes. Riders were able to either sit alongside or ride on the back of the bike with someone who can see.
Reporter: “What was your favorite part about today?” Reese-Whiting: “Getting to ride, I haven’t ridden in 22 years.”
Northwest Arkansas resident, Sandra Bullins, lost her sight almost 20 years ago and hadn’t been on a bike since. She decided it was time for that to change.
“I thought wouldn’t it be neat if we could organize a bike ride to kind of bring awareness to disability awareness month. With something like this there is no limitation or barrier. If you can’t see you can get on the back of a tandem with someone who can and you can ride.” Bullins said.
The riders went around Scull Creek Trail and up and down the streets of Fayetteville. People with down syndrome and cerebral palsy used bikes that were lower down to the ground, making it easier for them to balance, pedal, and steer.
“It shows people that we can do things that other people can do, we just might need a little bit of help but it can be done,” said Gina Billeaudeau, who has cerebral palsy.
Sources of Community Living, Route 66 Tandem Bike Club, and Lake Fayetteville Boat and Bike Rental all came together to make this an experience they would never forget.
“We have all this wonderful trail systems – the first time I’ve been on it – and oh it was fabulous.” Reese-Whiting said.
Since October is National Disability Awareness Month, Sources of Community Living decided this was the perfect month to put on this event. They are hoping to host another event like this next year.