ACTON – The North Acton Recreation Area (Nara Park) is 1,600 acres of space with a municipal beach, swimming spots, playgrounds, and an outdoor amphitheater.
It’s open to everyone and that now includes Leslie Johnson. She’s riding the nearby rail trail for the very first time on her bike, thanks to the city’s new adaptive bike program.
“I have a disability myself, so I can’t ride a two-wheeled bike,” Johnson told WBZ-TV. “When the rail track started and I was walking on the rail track, I saw cyclists and I wished so much that I could ride the bike on the rail track.”
So Johnson, a member of the city’s Commission on Disabilities, asked the city to help him help people with disabilities ride horses.
“I felt for the people. I wanted to see more disabled people on the rail trail enjoying it as much as fully capable people,” she told WBZ.
It was then that the recreation department and its director Melissa Rier started to move. They got a state grant and three special bikes – a hand bike, a recumbent bike and a stable trike with a back brace especially for a child.
“We have a lot about inclusion and that’s really important to me and our department,” Rier said. “We thought NARA would be a great place because it’s right next to the railroad, so someone could rent a bike and get out on the railroad and just ride.”
Now these special bikes are ready for anyone to ride. It’s a new way to explore the city and a new chance to leave behind a physical limitation.
“It’s good to be outside in the fresh air, exercising and doing what other people are doing,” Johnson said.
If you live in Acton, the bikes are free, and if you’re coming from out of town, you only have to pay $5.
You cannot reserve the bikes, but you can call ahead to see if they are available. For more information, call (978) 929-6640 or email [email protected]