Post Falls Couple Helps People Stay on the Move
by Sheila Julson
Gary and Beth Dagastine never set out to be bike dealers, but after Beth had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair, she later found that a recumbent trike—a bike that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position—helped her become more independent and mobile. It also allowed her to exercise in a way she didn’t think was possible. “Back in 2000, we drove into Spokane where they were giving test rides on recumbent trikes in Riverfront Park,” says Beth. “I got out of my wheelchair and into that bike, and I was gone! I rode around for two hours and I didn’t want to leave.” As a result, Gary set out to purchase a recumbent trike for her, but he found there were no dealers in the Spokane/Northern Idaho area.
“I had to change that,” says Gary, a retired sheriff from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. A purchase from TerraTrike, a leading brand of recumbent cycles, became a hobby, as Gary eventually became self-taught in building, repairing and customizing recumbent bicycles. That hobby morphed into a successful business, Northwest Recumbent Cycles, and they have since become a top single seller of TerraTrikes’ in the world.
Gary and Beth sell recumbent trikes from a shop on their property in Post Falls, Idaho, and welcome people from all over the world to come and take a test ride. They are currently the only dealer in the area that specializes exclusively in recumbent trikes. “And the business has gone nuts,” Gary says. Beth adds that they get calls at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m. about their recumbent trikes. They carry 15 brands including TerraTrike, Hase Bikes, BerkelBike, HP Velotechnik and Ti-Trikes.
Many people find recumbent trikes comfortable and ergonomically friendly. “It’s like sitting on a couch, rather than sitting on a fence post,” Gary says. Recumbent trikes also have an advantage for people of differing abilities or mobility issues. “You sit in a recumbent bike, and it’s like being in a lounge chair,” Beth says. “They are easy to control with your arms and legs.”
Gary and Beth can also customize the trikes for people’s specific needs. “There are a lot of adaptions we can do,” he says. “We don’t care what your disability is. We’ll work with it. We also want to just get people to put the remote control down, get off the couch, and get out and enjoy life. We have people who can’t walk a step, but they’re able to ride from our shop out to Q’emiln Park and back.”
Beth, who is no longer confined to a wheelchair, says having a recumbent trike has changed her life, and she also has a stationary recumbent bike in the living room to use during winter months. “Recumbent trikes have helped a lot of people become mobile again,” she says. “They can relax and go at their own pace. And people think you can’t ride them on the roads, but you can. With recumbent trikes, we stay along the side of the road and just ride. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
Sheila Julson is freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.