Outdoor recreation is one way to stay active, social, and connected with your community. Adaptive sports have been around for some time, but knowing about it and how to get involved is a different story.
Evidence shows that getting outside and being in nature supports a healthy lifestyle and boosts our mood. Who wouldn’t want those benefits? Finding accessible trails, or inclusive opportunities can turn into hours of research. One benefit is unplugging from the “daily grind.” Our daily lives involve so much screen time for work, school, or play that getting outside allows us to unplug and recenter ourselves.
Here are a few Northeast Ohio opportunities for adaptive, outdoor recreation:
Getting out for a Roll – With multiple trailheads in the east, west, and downtown areas, many of these trails in the Cleveland and Lorain County MetroParks are paved, making these trails accessible. Go for a roll in your wheelchair, or take a handcycle or similar equipment out for a longer trip. Cleveland MetroParks also offer other outdoor/nature related events like bird watching and other family-friendly events. You can find more information on https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks or https://www.loraincountymetroparks.com/trails. Many trailheads sit inside of a park setting, so if exploring trails isn’t your thing, enjoy your book or some company while sitting under a pavilion.
Handcycling – Cleveland Metroparks have, in the past, hosted events for those with limited mobility to try out handcycling. You will need to contact them to inquire about future events. If you have handcycled before, and have a way of transporting one, the United Spinal Association Northeast Ohio Chapter owns 7 handcycles that can be loaned out to members for 30 days at a time. For more information, or to inquire about borrowing one, send them an email at email@example.com
Our chapter is hosting a social get-together where you can try out handcycling for free. Join us on Saturday, July 16, 2002, at South Mastick Picnic area in the Cleveland Metroparks (Fairview Park). Come try out handcycles, or just hand out with us and try yard games. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be grilled for lunch.
Kayaking – Cleveland MetroParks, and the LoCo Yaks of Lorain County offer adaptive paddling. In collaboration with the Lorain Port Authority and a grant from Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the LoCo Yaks installed a public, free to use, ADA accessible boat launch is located at 1355 Black River Parkway, Lorain. Visit locoyaks.com for more information or to connect with them on their socials.