After completing a survey this summer on the community’s interest in having more programing at the East Boston Greenway, the Friends of the East Boston Greenway purchased two adult trike-bikes and recently launched a community trike-bike pilot program.
Through funding from the Bare Foundation as part of its Waterfront Initiative the Friends group was able to maintain and staff the trike-bike program on a regular schedule for the past several weeks and provide Greenway users with an opportunity to receive basic use instructions, like taking a test ride along the Greenway at various locations, and participating in a brief post-ride survey to provide vital feedback on this initiative.
“The main idea is to get more people out into their open spaces, doing more different things,” said Friends of the East Boston Greenway Chris Marchi. “So we’re taking a close look at the cycling options we have. With our Greenway offering a bike path that’s over three miles long, expanding our cycling opportunities is a natural fit.”
The plan, said Marchi, is to get about 50 people to test-ride these bikes before the weather starts to get cold. Depending on the response the Friends group gets, Marchi said he is hoping to develop a proposal for an adaptive cycling program on the Greenway targeting adult users ages 40 and up, as well as people with limited mobility.
“Thus far, we’ve had about 35 people test ride the trikes,” said Marchi. “What has been really interesting has been the level of excitement we’ve had from people with disabilities and people who are recovering from surgery. One woman said, ‘This changed my life today!’ While another rider told us, “You gave me back my freedom”.
As popular as the trike-bikes have been with elderly and disabled riders, what has been surprising to Marchi and the Friends group is the level of interest of young riders.
“Teenagers and 20-somethings are really responding well to the program,” he said. “One major reason that so many people are drawn to this program is the cost–like the NOAH kayaking program at Constitution Beach, we’re lending these bikes out for free. Cost can be a real obstacle for working families, so we’re trying to structure a program that will bring a fun, healthy cycling activity to the neighborhood for free.”
With this trial getting off to such a good start the Friends group is interested in finding ways to expand this popular idea next year.
“We’re planning to put together a proposal to buy more of these smooth-riding and sturdy bikes, and find a youth group partner to run one or two bike center locations,” said Marchi. “How cool would it be to have a fleet of Trike bikes and maybe a six person family surrey bike or two located at Constitutuion Beach, and at Bremen Street Park? Our parks receive tremendous use, but with so many more people coming into our fantastic neighborhoods each year, we still need to find ways to engage more and more people–people of different ages and different backgrounds and people with different interests and abilities.”
To learn more about Friends of the East Boston Greenway adult trike bike program join the group at Friends of the East Boston Greenway on Facebook.