The Friends’ efforts to expand the accessibility of the Lakeshore and provide recreational opportunities for all took a major step this week with the purchase of a Van Raam Opair bicycle. This wheelchair bike will allow everyone to enjoy the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

The Friends was able to purchase this bike through the generosity of many donors, including The Cyclery in Glen Arbor. Matt & Katy Weisen and Nick Killian of The Cyclery and Crystal River Outfitters continued their long-time support of the Friends by partnering with us to evaluate accessible bicycle options. During these discussions, the team offered to become a dealer for Van Raam Opair bicycles, providing local expertise, maintenance and purchase options for future bicycles. They also made a donation towards the cost of the bike!

“The Cyclery and the Crystal River Outfitters Recreational District have a mission to get people out recreating within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. When the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail was established it provided yet another great way to explore the park. Paved, non-motorized paths wind throughout the park to showcase more of the area’s beauty to all ages,” said Katy Weisen. “The addition of the Van Raam Wheelchair Bike that we helped the Friends of Sleeping Bear obtain is yet another opportunity to expand usership! We are so appreciative of all the Friends do to better our community and visitor experiences.”

The Friends are currently developing the bike program and awaiting the arrival of the first bike. We hope to begin free bicycle rides with the Opair on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail from the Dune Climb to Glen Arbor later this summer.