Introductory Letter


Spring 2015

Our mission “Outdoor Adapted Biking Fun For People With Disabilities.” We connect the elderly, children, those who are visually impaired, war veterans, and others – anyone challenged by disability, dementia, or debilitating disease – with the great outdoors and community at large.

Imagine the thrill Passengers, or “wheelers” – outdoors and mobile, sometimes for the first time in years – feel the sun on their skin, the wind in their hair. Watching the scenery go by they chat with their pedaler, or “pilot,” and greet many people along the way. Smiles and laughter abound!

Isolation and depression to … “Yee-hah!” These rides lift spirits. Absolutely! Check out this brief article on therapeutic riding in Canada. Note the huge drop in symptoms of depression, plus sharply improved sleep patterns.

“A picture is worth …” Enjoy this fun 2-minute video clip taken at a nursing home in Greensboro, NC. What spirit! What joy!! And to think our Portland wheelers will be both young and old, living with all kinds of disabilities.

Inspiration Portland Wheelers is modeled after a similar program on Nantucket Island. There, last summer, in only its second season, six tricycles, or “trikes,” were in use five days a week, pedaled by a trained volunteer corps of more than 30 people. Visiting the island, I watched three elderly wheelers go by. With a parade of family and friends biking close behind, everyone having a ball (the usual scene I later learned), I was hooked. I had to bring this joy back to Portland.

Join the fun! This spring we’re asking individual donors and foundations for start-up funding. Late in March, then running through April, we’ll run a crowd-funding campaign to raise additional money. Our goal: $35,000 to purchase a number of trikes, a trailer, and to support our program. The more we raise, the more rides we can give. First rides? … mid May. So, please, jump in now to help. We’re a volunteer organization. We need pilots (first training: May 9-10), board and committee members, and a whole lot more. Chances are we have a place just for you. Come, contribute time, talent, and money. We need it all.

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Thank you!!

Doug Malcolm, Executive Director
PO Box 11314, Portland ME 04103