In the summer of 2021 we made great strides in adaptive mountain biking in the Teton Area. Inclusion is our mission. Through development of partnerships with businesses we are able to expand our reach. This year Teton Adaptive collaborated with events that were already happening at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) such as Friday Night Bikes and a JHMR documentary film about new trails to bring the element of disability inclusion!
Our seventh Wydaho Rendezvous Bike Festival was more inclusive than ever with very positive responses from not only the participants themselves, but others who attended the festival. As well as growing the Adaptive participation to 25% of the total festival attendance — a ratio that matches the 26% of the US population that has some kind of disability.
“Little did I know that when I became paralyzed it opened the door to being a part of the most incredible community of super rad people. I can’t describe the feeling of biking and camping for days with all kinds of handcyclers and people that just understand it all.” –Courtney Custer
Having staff devoted to aMTB development and strong partnerships with JHMR and Wheel Wranglers helped us respond to the increased demand for cycling lessons in new ways impacting more people with disabilities who live and visit Jackson Hole.
Another 2021 impact was spreading inclusion in the National Parks and on US Forest Service land. Director of Mission Joe Stone used his expertise in advocacy and his partnerships acumen to help make access to public lands a priority. He educated public land employees and stewards that people with disabilities can use e-assist adaptive equipment as mobility devices to access trails.
This year’s Wydaho Rendezvous aMTB event was smaller overall due to COVID but a huge success nonetheless. The 2021 Rendezvous saw some exciting stats: The adaptive community made up a significant portion of the whole festival (25%); Females with disabilities increased from 23% in 2019 to 43% in 2021; and 14 people with disabilities got hands-on training on the Bowhead, articulating superbike. Of the 14 people who tried the Bowhead, five were quadriplegics who offered additional engineering feedback for the company to consider for future models.
Throughout the year, Teton Adaptive aMTB staff worked in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to test trails and areas for accessibility for mobility devices such as the Bowhead. We worked with neighboring Grand Teton National Park to establish concrete adjustments that will be made to several trails. Our Director of Mission ventured to Rocky Mountain National Park to work with Quinn Brett, the Federal NPS Program Analyst, and others to make similar recommendations to the list of changes needed. Two parks down, only 61 to go, starting this important work speaks to what George M. Wright called the nation’s ‘best idea!’
“National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” –George M. Wright
Our 2020 emphasis on cycling plus outreach events brought increased demand for cycling lessons and demos. Thank goodness we had trained partners Wheel Wranglers and JHMR to share the demand!
Teton Adaptive staff facilitated 21 individual lessons with the same surprising ratio of 43% of females to 57% males. The star piece of equipment in 2021 was the Bowhead Reach. People with spinal cord injuries participated in equipment demos that confirmed its value in accessing trails that are not built for adaptive gear. With our staff’s support riders learned the range of the gear and their own skills. Many left with a goal to purchase the equipment themselves. An important note about aMTB staff, at Teton Adaptive we find it imperative that lessons are conducted as often as possible by a staff person with a disability. The ability to understand the client’s perspective is vital to the success of every service.
The partners Teton Adaptive trained were very active in 2021. Both Wheel Wranglers and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort served an increased number of people with disabilities. In the second year adaptive mountain bike lessons were offered, JHMR took 33 individuals downhill mountain biking and road riding on the pathways as well as expanding adaptive offerings to other sports on the mountain.
Seven Wheel Wranglers staff received training from Teton Adaptive in the Spring of 2021 as well as two adaptive bikes, during the summer they served clients with disabilities alongside all their standard clients. Seven clients rented adaptive bikes and two wheel bikes simultaneously for a total of 15 rental days to enjoy the pathways with family and friends, which totaled $2520 in revenue. That’s what inclusion means to us!
With your help and grants from Hanson Family Foundation and Move United, we at Teton Adaptive are very proud to report that mountain biking in the Teton Area is becoming more inclusive every year.