SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - The wind rushed against Caroline Pulliam’s face and she squealed in excitement.
The 11-year-old, who normally gets around in a wheelchair, was moving down Greenville’s Swamp Rabbit Trail in the front seat of an 85-pound tandem tricycle.
Her feeding tube was duct taped to the handle bars and her mother, Donna, was behind her pedaling and steering the three-wheeled vehicle.
Caroline put her hands in the air and pretended she was flying.
The Pulliam family, of Spartanburg, consists of avid cyclists. Donna and her husband, Norman, ride together frequently. Their 8-year-old son, Andy, rides his bicycle often as well.
But they were having a tough time finding a way to include Caroline in those activities.
“When my daughter was smaller we could hitch one of those buggies on the back, but she’s too big for that now,” Donna Pulliam said. “We just haven’t had the opportunity to go as a full family.”
Then they learned about tricycles that were available for rent at TTR Bikes in Greenville near the 17.5-mile Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail.
“It looked like the bike was just what we needed,” Donna Pulliam said.
After an 8-mile ride on the trail together as a family, she realized it was.
“To have the opportunity to do a normal family activity was awesome,” she said during a phone interview. “It was really emotional, exciting. She (Caroline) squealed the full 8 miles. She had the wind in her face, she felt freedom from a bike ride that most people would take for granted. It was fantastic.”
As of July 15, the Pulliams will no longer have to travel to Greenville to enjoy cycling as a family.
The Mary Black Foundation awarded Partners for Active Living $13,225 to purchase tricycles and they will be available for the public to rent at the Thomas E. Hannah YMCA on July 15.
“We are really excited,” said Partners for Active living Executive Director Laura Ringo. “This will give more families the opportunity to be active in Spartanburg.”
The tricycles cost $6,500 each and are made by the Canadian company Freedom Concepts. They are black and designed to seat two people. The bike and handlebars are completely adjustable, and the front pedals have Velcro straps and a guide rope that keeps the foot platform level, since many children have problems with their feet dropping when trying to pedal a traditional bike.