According to Lone Star Wheelers President/Executive Director Shannon Catalano,
Mike was like a little kid as we rode the specialized red and grey bike ‘round and ‘round the circle in front of DaySpring Senior Living in Plano. Quickly feeling safe and secure, Mike was game for going all the way around the building. A cheering squad at the entrance greeted us with each pass.
A few days prior, Dorothy paved the way by participating in a DaySpring staff training session. She volunteered to get on and off the bike for demonstration purposes; however, once she was on, she was ready to ride. We moved furniture around and pedaled her through the dining room, into the living room, and back into the dining room. All the while she was giving her best princess wave!
Lone Star Wheelers launched their adapted bicycle program last Fall. Despite the sometimes chilly conditions, the program provided 64 rides totaling almost 35 ride hours in their first six months in operation. A ride consists of a community member that wants a bicycle adventure, but cannot or does not want to pedal, and two trained volunteers. The passenger is securely fastened and a volunteer steers and pedals. Another volunteer rides their own bicycle in the “pod” as a safety ride-along.
You’ll hear laughter and singing from the pod, because what’s more fun than being on a bicycle with the wind in your face! The passengers and volunteers become quick friends. When inclement weather keeps us indoors, often times the volunteers can be found in the DaySpring rec room playing dominos or helping with a puzzle. I’ll never forget the day Wende, one of our first volunteers, started playing sing-a-long requests on her phone. Herb was teaching us poker as Wende and Herb’s wife, Ruth, were belting “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and you know when to run!”
Riding along the Bluebonnet Trail, we pass by a soccer field and often hear stories about kids and grandkids. We like to stop near the dog park and share memories of pets. The first time we pedaled to the Veterans Memorial we learned that Herb built prosthetic limbs in the Korean War! It’s fascinating where the conversations go and the bonds that form.
We primarily pedal the DaySpring residents; however, we are open to pedaling anyone in the community by appointment. Families and friends that want to take part in the bicycle adventure can join the pod on their own bike. We are currently raising funds to purchase a bicycle for a second location. This will be our first year participating in North Texas Giving Day.
* Graphic and photo provided by Lone Star Wheelers
In 11 years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $290 million into the North Texas community. In 2019, more than $50 million was raised through more than 169,000 gifts benefiting over 2,988 area nonprofits.