A month after a deadly earthquake killed over 70 people in Ecuador’s Portoviejo, yesterday the Secretaría Técnica para la Gestión Inclusiva en Discapacidades (SETEDIS) has launched an inclusive and accessibly bicycle program in the city during an event at antiguo aeropuerto Reales Tamarindos. It is the first of its kind program in the city, and gave many people with disabilities their first opportunity ever to ride a bicycle. The bicycle program was part of efforts to support and show solidarity with victims of the earthquake who have disabilities, with many people currently sheltering at the airport because their homes were destroyed.
Disability accessible bicycles in the program include one for people with visually impairments, where two bicycles are joined together side by side through bars welded together. They also include a basket in the rear for people to put items. Bicycles for people with vision and intellectual disabilities also included more traditional tandem bicycles frequently used by blind Paralympic cyclists. Other bicycles have been made available for people with more severe motor impairments, with a wheelchair frame on the front that an able-bodied cyclist behind pedals.
Among the disability sports Ecuador has participated in at the Paralympic level, cycling is not one of them. The country has only ever competed in swimming, athletics and powerlifting. In the past few years, Comite Paralimpico Ecuatoriano been doing more to promote cycling as an adaptive sport around the country. Cycling was included in a Paralympic try it day in Tulcán in December, and as part of an sports festival in Guayaquil last September.