For more than a decade, Salem has promoted bicycling as a fun, healthy, alternative to driving, and the city hopes everyone will soon be able to take a spin along its historic streets.
On Monday, the city’s Bicycling Advisory Committee plans to hold an open house to demonstrate bikes designed especially for people with disabilities.
Tandems, tricycles, wheelchair bikes, and other so-called adaptive bicycles will be available for city residents to try out from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Jean A. Levesque Community Life Center on Bridge Street.
“This is all about increasing mobility and making bicycling an accessible option for everyone,” said Tom Devine, the city’s senior planner.
Salem has teamed up with Bike-On, a Warwick, R.I., company that carries a line of custom-built adaptive bicycles made by the Dutch manufacturer Van Raam.
Alison Zack Darrell, business development director for Spinov8 Distribution, a Van Raam distributor, said adaptive bikes are new to the United States and Canada.
“We hope [the city] will embrace and implement a unique community biking program making it possible for all children and adults with disabilities and differing needs to engage in cycling,” she said.
Salem has been working to improve its biking infrastructure since as early as 2006, when the Bike Path Committee was charged with promoting and enhancing bike lanes.
“Increasing bicycle-use has economic and environment benefits for Salem,” Devine said.
“It’s also a healthy way to get around, and it’s fun.”
Some of the benefits of biking include reducing traffic and parking congestion, limiting pollution, and improving accessibility to local businesses, Devine said.
The city has also encouraged bicycling through Zagster Bike Share and coordinating bicycling events such as the upcoming open house, Devine said.
Monday’s open house could help determine if there is yet another option for the city to explore — adaptive bikes.
People who attend the event will be able to test the bikes, Darrell said.
The open house “ . . . will introduce members of the community to the idea of making cycling available to all,” she added.