Residents at a Wisconsin nursing home recently got a long-awaited taste of spring, perched in the seat of a trishaw as a pilot pedaled them around the grounds.

Grace Lutheran Communities – River Pines purchased the motor-assist trishaw last year but had to wait for the winter thaw.

“They were pleasantly surprised by the experience,” administrator Jennifer Cohen told McKnight’s after the maiden voyage. “They can connect with the outdoors again, being outside and feeling the wind in their hair.”

Though some residents were apprehensive about climbing aboard, a crowd soon gathered. Passengers can board alone or with a friend, and the vehicle is accessible to “virtually anybody.” 

“Folks who use a wheelchair, they may need some help getting in, but once they’re in, there are seat belts to keep them safe,” Cohen said.

Resident Mary Dominski told Eau Claire’s WQOW that she had a “wonderful” first ride.

“I was very impressed by its comfort,” she said.

Cohen said Grace Lutheran covered the cost of the trishaw with two grants, one from Wisconsin’s civil monetary penalty fund and the other from the local Park Family Foundation.

River Pines’ trishaw rides will be piloted at most times by volunteers, with staff providing training and scheduling support.