Adapted Adventure Library – Borrow it, Try it, Do it!
Building on the success of our longstanding Adapted Bike Program, CP Kids & Families has developed a new program called the Adapted Adventure Library - Borrow it, try it, do it! This program was developed as a response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to underscore the need for people to get outside and enjoy public spaces safely and equitably. The Adapted Adventure Library intends to increase the ability of people living with physical disabilities to get out into the community, enjoy public spaces, and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Our existing bike share program allows for the pooled lending of adapted bikes for children with disabilities, so they too can participate in safe outdoor activities, and we will build on these parameters with the Adapted Adventure Library. As the pandemic has increased the need for mobility options, so too has the need for our programs and services. Due to various physical disabilities, our members have historically been marginalized or experienced barriers accessing public spaces. The pandemic only exacerbated these issues, and we aim to continue overcoming these barriers by providing mobility options that not only permit physical distancing but enhance safe social interactions and healthy physical activities.
We have collaborated with members of the community, addressing their needs, and created a wish list of equipment we would like to offer in the Adapted Adventure Library. Currently we have two highly specialized tandem bikes that are adapted for riders with physical disabilities, as well as e-trikes that can pull Wike bicycle trailers for parents to take their children on rides. We have partnered with the Ability Workshop Society, who built us a dozen adapted sleds that we are looking forward to bringing out to tobogganing hills this winter.
Ultimately, our goal is to curate a wide selection of highly specialized adapted equipment that families and children living with physical disabilities can borrow on a short-term basis or try out on adventure days in Calgary parks. So far, our pilot events have been overwhelmingly successful, and we have received positive feedback from families, as well as requests for other pieces of equipment. We know that with increased funding support we can create a world of exciting adventures for families and children living with physical disabilities.
Who Will it Benefit?
The purpose of the Adapted Adventure Library is to enable 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 the vibrant public spaces Calgary has to offer. Family members will also be direct beneficiaries of the program, as they too will utilize the adapted equipment with their children. The electric tandem bikes offer different opportunities for a parent, sibling, or friend to ride beside or behind the individual with a physical disability. The e-trikes have Wike bicycle trailer attachments, allowing an adult to pull a child with a physical disability behind them. The adapted sleds are built in multiple sizes for different size users and have pull cords attached so that riders can be brought up a tobogganing hill easily and enjoy the activity with friends and families.
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!