I drove 2 hours to Boston in the rain and mist. I drove home in the a wild rainstorm. In between, for a miracle 7 hours, unforecasted sun shone on our Accessible Recreation Fair in Boston yesterday.
Over 275 people attended the event at Artesani Park, hosted by DCR's Universal Access Program. Individuals, families, and groups tried out cycling, hiking, and letterboxing, got their faces painted, and enjoyed refreshments and a stroll in the park. Many discovered new recreation opportunities to explore this summer.
After a hectic morning of getting the event rolling forward (made especially challenging due to a dramatic overnight thunderstorm!), I took a break in the shade along the Charles River, away from the main scene, to eat lunch and watch cyclists ride by. There I had my chance to chat with riders of various adaptive bikes provided for the day by DCR, All Out Adventures, Bike-on, and Northeast Passage.
Everyone was loving their ride - kids, parents, large people, blind people, those with various impairments. My favorite encounter was with Carolyn Tierney of Watertown, who came to the event on The Ride, Boston's accessible transportation service. She was on a Trailmate Joyrider, an easy to use recumbent style trike (shown in center photo). I asked her how she liked it and found out that she had just bought it from Bike-on, and was working on a way to get it home. "I have MS and neuropathy in my feet," she told me. "My feet are in constant pain. Yet here I am riding a bike, and my feet don't hurt!"
"I get tired of waiting for the bus, so I bought this bike. I'll be using it to shop at Star Market and do my laundry! I can't believe this was so affordable - it is a used demo bike. And, I found out today I can go sailing all summer for just $1!!!!"
It's moments like this that make a program coordinator's work pay off. Here was someone who came to the event and not only had a great day, but found new ways to maximize her quality of life through recreation and is now looking forward to the summer months as a opportunity for fun! At the end of the day, I saw her getting her new bike loaded onto The Ride van for her return trip home.
Special thanks to a wide array of people who offered their assistance to make this event a success: Matt Cerino, Ray Faucher, Mike Garvey, Barry and Gabrielle Gold, Steve Jewett, Chenine Johnson, Adam Markell, Margo Mays, Chauncey McCarthy, Vin and Judy Micozzi, Barbara Moran, Karen Nichols, Tracey Osimbon, Renee Pease, Scott and Lynn Pellet, Susan Spera, and Johanna Zabriskie, to name just a few!
I also want to make special mention of Blue Frog Party, a Boston area kid's party service. They provided simple craft activities and big bubble fun at our event and were a real hit with kids, families, and people with severe disabilities. Susan Spera, M.Ed, has years of experience working with people with disabilites and crafting inclusive, memorable party experiences!