PARK CITY -- Saturday wasn't just another day for 29-year-old Aaron Wilde. Sporting an orange reflective jacket and purple helmet, Wilde was all set to go -- if only his foot-pedal tricycle would arrive.
The National Ability Center set up a demonstration booth Saturday in Park City during PedalFest at City Park for disabled people to try out adapted cycles. Wilde was supposed to pick up his cycle from someone meeting him at the booth.Wilde, who is developmentally disabled, lives on his own in a Park City apartment with the assistance of Chrysalis Enterprises. The local organization helps disabled adults integrate into mainstream life.
Excited about the rigors of cycling, Wilde said proudly, "I've been exercis- ing on a treadmill. I'm also on a diet."
Wilde struggles with coordination and balance that make it difficult for him to ride some adapted cycles. But he does have strong legs that enable him to operate an upright foot-pedal tricycle, Mark Stevens said.
Stevens is the outreach coordinator for the ability center that provides a variety of yearlong recreational activities for the disabled. Summer lessons are available for horseback riding, fishing, cycling, swimming and water skiing.
"About 1,500 disabled people participated in 5,500 lessons in ability center programs last year," summer intern Keri Currutt said.
Cycling has taken off as one of the center's more popular programs. "This is the first year that we actually have a set program with planned rides as part of our schedule," said Trisha Hipskind, the center's new cycling coordinator.
But the center doesn't have any foot-powered tricycles on hand for Wilde to use. They have four hand cycles that are primarily used by paraplegics and Cole Sport in Park City donates regular cycles for interested volunteers to help out on the rides. The center also has two tandem cycles for the visually impaired.
Chrysalis arranged to purchase a cycle for Wilde from a friend of Greg McMahon, who builds adapted cycles. McMahon was in the process of modifying Wilde's bike but ran into a snag.
Unfortunately, McMahon arrived at the booth with disappointing news that Wilde's cycle wouldn't be ready until Monday.
But that didn't dampen the spirits of Wilde, who has faced many other challenges before. With his chin up and a smile on his face, Wilde hopped on a hand cycle instead.
Riding on the bumpy park terrain without the benefit of coordinated balance and the use of his strong legs was difficult, but Wilde didn't seem to mind.
As a consolation prize, Wilde said, "I get my picture in the Deseret News."