(Photo: Commons Wikimedia)
Mexico City's government has implemented a program that allows people with visual disabilities to take bicycle tours within the City, a move that has benefited over 500 users in the last three years, according to information shared by Univision's health portal.
In Mexico City, this project is directed by professional and passionate cyclists who lend their services to support people with visual disabilities so they can enjoy the experience of riding a bicycle. The project's director, Manuel de la Torre, assured that "we use the bicycle as a work tool so that people with disabilities can feel the experience of riding a bike, like those of us who are passionate about cycling, cyclists at heart."
Each week on Sunday, the volunteer group meets at the monument of Diana the Huntress on Paseo Reforma, one of the City's main avenues, to offer bicycle tours to people with visual disabilities. Those responsible for the tours have 14 double bicycles, a towed sled and a tricycle to help the user experience cycling without the use of their visual sense.
Director Manuel de la Torre expressed that his main motivation is "neighborly love," adding that he wouldn't be doing it if he didn't feel like he wasn't being useful in life and that "dozens of people do it for love and that's why this project has evolved."
Since 2010, many users have been a part of the exercise, like Ricardo Carrillo, the first participant in a duathlon within Mexico City.
The "Paseo a Ciegas" program also helps to organize various activities such as retreats, night rides and visits to museums in Mexico City. The director explained to Univision that these activities help promote inclusion, love and respect for people with disabilities. The use of the bicycle also helps sustainability in the City and its environment since reforestation campaigns are planned, along with practicing other environmentalist subjects.
Ricardo Carillo said that he lost his sight due to diabetes and fell into a depression. He said, "Since I've been coming here I've shared life experiences with the volunteers, all of that makes the tours pleasant, a group is formed and sometimes friendships." This is a unique project that so far has piqued the interest of many Latin American countries like Argentina and Brazil, where application of the project can soon be expected.