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June 04. 2014 11:19PM

Crotched Mountain offers accessible cycling program


Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center's Accessible Recreation and Sports Program volunteer Nancy Annis of Henniker leads a tandem recumbent bicycle with Caitlin Asai, 28, of Merrimack with volunteer Cynthia Davenport of Henniker following. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)

GREENFIELD — After a successful pilot program last year, Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center’s Accessible Recreation and Sports Program is offering a spring and fall adaptive cycling program.

Adaptive cycling is specifically designed to assist people with disabilities and offers a variety of options from recumbent and hand cycles to trikes and tandems.

For those who need additional assistance, cycles can be linked together to allow active participation with a partner, while the lead cyclist controls the breaking and turning decisions.

“It depends on their abilities, it depends on their needs,” said program volunteer Cynthia Davenport of Henniker.

Davenport joined an adaptive cycling ride that started at the bike trail on Summer Street in Peterborough on Monday.

“These recumbent bikes are amazing,” Davenport said. “CMARS fills my soul. It does. It makes your heart bigger. There’s this like whole thing, you see the CMARS smile when they start moving. And they take such good care of people.”

Chauntelle Alkinburgh, 37, of Sharon, has been participating in CMARS skiing and kayaking programs for the past three years and is thrilled to be riding a bicycle again.

“I like it because it gives me an opportunity to get out and do something I did before my accident, because I was an avid biker before, and my balance is not so good right now so I can’t really go out on two wheels and be stable,” Alkinburgh said. “Before the accident, I was a physical education teacher so being active in a lot of different activities that I did before the accident really helps me a lot to get my confidence back up. … I love it.”

Alkinburgh was a client at the rehabilitation center in Greenfield where she first started receiving therapeutic recreation services, said Kristin Harris, CMARS program coordinator.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without recreation therapy,” Alkinburgh said. CMARS helps her to continue to pursue recreational therapy independently.

Monday’s group set out on the Peterborough bike trail with plans to ride into Hancock and then Greenfield before turning around.

The week before a group rode through Jaffrey and Rindge.

“We consider this our adventure biking so it’s a little bit of a higher level of biking,” Harris said.

The adaptive cycling program starts participants in small groups with supervision from therapists and trained volunteers and takes place on the Greenfield campus as well as at different locations throughout the Monadnock region.

CMARS adaptive cycling participants learn about bike safety, including rules of the road, hand signals and proper helmet fit. Information on class dates, what to bring, costs, or how to sign up as a volunteer is available online at www.cmf.org/cycling.

mpierce@newstote.com


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