The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Seniors get opportunity to ride area bike trails


July 16, 2018

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

DOUG HIPPE, of Ironwood, on Saturday shows a Duet tandem bicycle that will soon be available to give senior citizens rides on area trails at Cary Park in Hurley.


Hurley - Senior citizens who can no longer bicycle will be given the opportunity to ride the trails with a new bike that was on display Saturday at Cary Park in Hurley.

The bike was demonstrated at the Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts event at the park.

On an 85-degree day with only slight breezes, bicyclists went out in intervals on the non-motorized trails.

It was a fundraiser for ICORE, but Enni Gregas, of the Friends of the Iron Belle Trail, said all of the non-motorized enthusiasts in the area tend to help out each other at such gatherings.

"We support ICORE," Gregas said.

Doug Hippe, of north Ironwood, a member of the Iron Belle Wheelers, showed how the Duet bike will be used to offer the physically handicapped and the elderly rides.

Basically, the passenger sits in the front, padded seat and is strapped in with a seat belt. There are two wheels in the front. The operator pedals from the rear.

There's an electric assist on the tandem bike, which was developed in the Netherlands. The assist can be activated by the operator for steep hills.

Hippe, who is volunteer coordinator for the Wheelers' bike plans, said a schedule will eventually be set up for use of the bike for people in nursing homes, for example.

He said it was purchased through contributions from the Gogebic Range and Superior health foundations.

The bike and a trailer to transport it cost around $10,000.

Gregas said she'd like to see more than one bike purchased.

Gregas and Hippe said area non-motorized sports promoter Jackie Powers, of Ironwood, brought forth the proposal to purchase the Duet bike.

While Hippe was showing how the bike will be used, a few people came along and commented how beneficial and therapeutic it would be for a senior citizen in a nursing home to get out on the trail and smell the fresh air from the front seat of the bike, riding like a kid again, with the help of a companion.

Gregas said the Gogebic County Transit would be able to transport seniors to a site along the trail, where rides could be given.

Right now, training for use of the bike is still taking place.

Nearby, bike rides from the Cary park started at noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday at a relaxed pace.

Participants rode across the Montreal River to the Iron Belle Trail and as far into Michigan as they liked, then returned to the park for a picnic lunch.

The fundraiser supported development of the Hurley non-motorized trailhead on U.S. 51 and people could suggest names for the trail and trailhead when completed.


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