Seniors were given a sampling of the electric rickshaw last summer. Photo submitted

Fast response buoys electric rickshaw plan for Rossland

More than half of fundraising goal met in a few days

A fundraising drive is bringing an electric three-wheeled rickshaw for Rossland closer to reality.

Cycling Unlimited says it’s getting closer to taking seniors and those with mobility issues out on tri-shaws in Trail and Rossland.

Cycling Unlimited launched a crowdfunding campaign on Nov. 29 and has already raised almost $6,000 towards their $16,000 online goal.

SEE: Electric bike project for seniors, disabled coming to Rossland

“The big push of course is to buy the bikes, that’s the biggest expense to get started,” says Diana Daghofer, the head of the Cycling Unlimited campaign. “So once we’ve raised money for those, and we feel pretty confident we’ll be able to raise money for ongoing expenses to keep the program going indefinitely.”

The total goal would be for about $40,000 for capital and operating expenses for the program, she says.

The campaign has two parts — Help bring Hermi’s Ride to Rossland and A Trishaw for Trail. Organizers hope to have tri-shaws operating in both communities next spring.

Cycling Without Age is a movement started in 2012 in Copenhagen. The program is designed to help elders and others with limited mobility enjoy rides on a bicycle or, in this case, a tri-shaw. The CWA tri-shaw, equipped with a pedal-assist electric motor, provides a comfortable seat for one or two passengers at the front of the bike, piloted by a rider on the seat behind.

The Lower Columbia chapter of Cycling Unlimited has partnerships with the City of Rossland and Columbia View Lodge in Trail, to reach the area’s seniors and others who cannot ride a bike. Rides will be offered free to get people out enjoying the fresh air and the community around them on the tri-shaws.

After starting work on Cycling Without Age last year, Daghofer wanted to take her mom, Hermine (Hermi to her friends) out for a tri-shaw ride. She lived in Montreal and that chapter was not yet up and running.

Unfortunately, Hermi passed away last September. But Daghofer hopes she might still be a presence in the program.

“Walking home from a presentation at the seniors’ centre in Rossland, I realized I could do the next best thing — raise funds for a bike in her name!

“Mom would be so pleased to help spread the fun and adventure of bike riding through our community!”

SEE: The Trail Fundraiser Page

SEE: The Rossland Fundraiser Page

If the fundraiser is successful, the group will order its electric tri-shaws early in the new year, with an eye to launch the program in late spring, says Daghofer.

That’s when the group will also be looking for volunteers to staff the trikes to help get seniors out as passengers on the road.

To find out more about the program, including how to volunteer, contact Daghofer at diana@cyclingwithoutage.ca or 250-362-5810.

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