Iron Belle Wheelers, offering bicycle rides to individuals who cannot ride a bicycle independently.
Written by Jesse Baroka on April 22, 2019
BESSEMER – The Superior Health Foundation has received a grant of $4,995 to the Gogebic Range Health Foundation. The Gogebic Range Health Foundation collaborated with Michigan’s Western Gateway Trail Authority to create Iron Belle Wheelers, which is a volunteer-run program that provides access to the Iron Belle Trail by offering bicycle rides to individuals who cannot ride a bicycle independently. Gogebic Range Health Foundation added another $2,000 in funds, which will go toward the purchase of a second bicycle that is equipped to give the handicapped a bicycle ride. Wheelers’ president Doug Hippe, tells the Ironwood Daily Globe that the goal of having the special bicycles is to get as many people using the bicycle trail as possible. The bicycle, which is known as a Duet wheelchair bicycle, is a three-wheeled bicycle with the ability to put a rider with a wheelchair on the front. The “pilot” or driver can pedal or use the electrical assist motor to drive the bike around. According to Hippe, the bicycle rides have been “a huge hit” this past year as the group made appearances at area nursing homes. The Wheelers plan to bring the special bikes to nursing home “festivals” during the year as well as showing them at community events. This past year, they were at the Bessemer Fourth of July as well as a Mother’s Day event in Depot Park.