Nearly a year after starting a fundraising project to bring two specially adapted bicycles to the Parksville Qualicum Beach region, the Domes family and the Qualicum Community Education and Wellness Society (QCEWS) are halfway to their goal.
After receiving a donation of more than $10,000 from the Nanaimo Hospital Foundation, QCEWS combined that money with some of its community donations to order the first bike; the Huka Duet tandem bike. The duet tandem bike is a combination of bicycle and wheelchair. The wheelchair can be removed from the bike and become a hand-operated wheelchair.
The specialty bikes are built by a company, Huka, which is based just outside of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Michael and Naomi Domes took their four children on a 1,200-plus kilometre trip through six European countries (Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Holland) as a way to help raise awareness of people who have different abilities and who still have the need to be active and out in the community.
The Qualicum Beach family embarked in the spring on a trip they named Aktiver-Zyklos, German for active cycle. As the family cycled through the six countries, Naomi Domes said, they had host families that supported the cause.
“We had European families hosting us every night, and so there were families that had said, ‘Yes, we want to be a part of this project, so let’s support you by hosting you for the evening,” she said. “As we went, we raised awareness of different abilities and the need for people to be active and out in the community.”
One of those families who helped along the way, Domes said, was the family behind Huka cycles.
“They were the ones who allowed us to ride (through Europe). They gave us our bicycles to ride while we were over there,” Domes said. “They were very pleased. They thought it was pretty awesome that a small community on Vancouver Island would rally around doing a project like this. They were very grateful, as well, that we had done our research into their product and they were more than happy to support us. It was a wonderful response from the company.”
QCEWS and the Domes family are still fundraising for the second bike, the Orion bike. People can donate through the QCEWS’ website, www.qcews.com, where there is a link at the top of the page for the Domes family’s Activer Zyklos GoFundMe page.
Domes said that while the first bike is already in the community, it won’t be ready for public use just yet.
“We’re hoping of course to have it out and cruising on the roads come summer,” said Domes, adding that QCEWS is still getting everything finalized for insurance for the bike.
Once the bike is ready for use, Domes said, QCEWS hopes to have the bike in a central location where families can come and sign out the bike and use it at no cost.
— with files from J.R. Rardon