Adapted Adventure Library – Borrow it, try it, do it!
Riding a bicycle is often considered an activity inherent to every child’s upbringing but participating in this activity when living with a physical disability presents a significant challenge. Youth with varying neuromotor disabilities have difficulty riding a typical two-wheel bicycle, thus requiring significant adaptations such as specialized seats and handlebars, side stabilizing wheels, raised foot plates and more to be able to ride. Furthermore, these adapted bicycles often require a parent or caregiver to walk with the rider to help steer or propel them, creating a barrier for families to ride bikes together. CP Kids & Families recognized these barriers and identified that youths living with disabilities were struggling to find ways to get outside with their families and enjoy the outdoors safely and equitably. As a result, the Adapted Adventure Library - Borrow it, Try it, Do it program was launched in 2022.
The Adapted Adventure Library grew out of the foundation of our highly successful, longstanding Adapted Bike Program. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for children and families living with physical disabilities to participate in fun, inclusive, and safe outdoor physical activities. CP Kids & Families envisions families cycling all together, without the barriers of physical or financial limitations, and enjoying feelings of belonging and social cohesion, while fostering a sense of collective identity. By loaning families our highly adapted, complex wheelchair transport and tandem e-bikes, we can achieve our goals of inclusion through fun, physical activities.
The Adapted Adventure Library provides an opportunity to increase the ability of youths living with physical disabilities to get out into the community, enjoy public spaces, and improve their overall health and wellbeing. We have an assortment of highly specialized e-bikes that families can borrow on a short-term basis, and ride around together throughout Calgary city parks. The bikes are not only incredibly expensive, but are very large as well, making them difficult for families to afford. Offering these bikes through a borrowing model means that families can access equipment without being burdened by the high cost or need to store and transport the large pieces of equipment. Our objective is to have enough variety of equipment that as many families as possible can have the opportunity to take part in safe and exciting outdoor activities throughout the year.
Who Will it Benefit?
The Adapted Adventure Library enables families who have children living with physical disabilities to get outside and enjoy the public spaces our communities have to offer in all weather, throughout all seasons. Providing a selection of specialized adapted equipment for borrowing means that families can access equipment without being burdened by the high cost or need to store the large pieces of equipment. Our objective is to have enough variety of equipment that as many families as possible can have the opportunity to take part in safe and exciting outdoor activities throughout the year.
The primary beneficiaries of the Adapted Adventure Library will be children of all ages living with physical disabilities. These children will be able to participate in fun, inclusive, safe physical activities, while getting outside and enjoying Calgary’s vibrant public spaces. Family members will also be direct beneficiaries of the program, as they too will utilize the adapted equipment with their children. Our longstanding Adapted Bike Program provides adapted bicycles to children living with physical disabilities, but the majority of the time these bikes require a parent to walk with or beside the rider. The highly specialized tandem e-bikes in the Adapted Adventure Library facilitate family riding, allowing everyone to participate together.
These pieces of adapted equipment, as well as the many we hope to add to our Adapted Adventure Library, offer incredible opportunities for both physical activity and inclusive participation for individuals living with physical disabilities. Children and families will benefit not only by participating in physical activity, but by engaging with the wider community, breaking down barriers, and building relationships with others. Ultimately, the success of the program will allow us to expand beyond our membership, offering opportunities to use the equipment to the general public, or at events catered to various groups such as seniors. The potential for who this program could positively impact is limitless!