Sometimes the simplest things make a huge difference. It’s probably not a surprise to hear that riding a bike is a great way to boost morale. But did you know that riding a bike, whether you’re the one pedaling or not, can combat depression? And what better why to create meaningful connections than riding a bike together? This story is about how Celtic Court in Sydney, Cape Breton, heard about the Duet Bike, which is designed to allow people who cannot pedal themselves to enjoy the benefits of riding.
We interviewed two Celtic Court team members, RN Mary Lee Drake and Recreation and Volunteer Coordinator Mairibeth Reilly, who were happy to tell us all about it.
Dr. Jamie Ferguson, who is our gerontologist in Sydney, was talking about this bike she had seen and how it combatted depression. I said I saw the same video and thought we could buy it, but it was too much money. And she said to me “Mary Lee, the money will come, all you need is the will”. And I thought, Oh my God, maybe she’s right.
So I went to Mairibeth and I said, “what do you think, do you think we can do this?”, and she jumped on board with me and we started fundraising. While we were raising the money, Jason Shannon came down for a visit and I talked to Jason and I was showing him the bike and he said “I’ll tell you what, whatever you raise, I’ll match it.”
Every single day there would be 5 dollars tucked into an envelope and slid under my office door or a cheque for $400 mailed in. And it was amazing. But all of a sudden our Facebook posts about fundraising were going all across Canada and people in BC and Saskatchewan and Alberta were calling Celtic Court to ask about the bike and ask what we were doing with it. And other places that had the Duet bike were calling me and telling me to keep fundraising because it would change our whole facility once we got it.
You see their smiles and you hear their laughter and that’s why we go into recreation. As a recreation professional that’s what you want.
There just so much joy with the bike. It was the best purchase ever. It’s the best thing in 30 years, 35 years. I’ve never seen anything that has brought so much joy to this population.