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Disabled woman’s lifelong dream of cycling across Canada dashed after bike vanishes

Windsor police are asking the public for help in locating a missing hand-cycle, similar to the one shown in this photo but in black. .
Windsor police are asking the public for help in locating a missing hand-cycle, similar to the one shown in this photo but in black. . Spinlife.com

TORONTO — Police in Windsor, Ont. are hoping to help out a disabled woman who’s lifelong dream of cycling across Canada was cut short after her specialty hand-cycle was discovered missing earlier this month.

Windsor police said the missing three-wheeled handcycle belongs to a woman who has limited use of her legs, and had been working towards her dream of hand-cycling across the country one province at a time.

As of July 2001, the woman reportedly had only four provinces left to complete her journey but had to put her goals on hold for years due to an undisclosed illness.

Police said the hand-cycle was being stored at St. Georges Anglican Church on Devonshire Court in Windsor until the woman’s condition improved enough that she could continue her journey.

“She had been storing her bike there, at the church, and then she asked about it months after we had left,” said Father Gordon Maitland of the St. Georges Anglican Church.

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“She called me and said, ‘Is that bike still there?’ And I had seen it hanging in the furnace room of all places, but I don’t know what happened to it.”

The hand-cycle was last seen at the church in June 2014. The woman was notified on Jan. 9 that it was no longer there and may have been stolen or removed.

Maitland said they were forced to move out in June 2014, when the building had been condemned. He added that the church “wasn’t the most secure” during that time.

“I think somewhere in that transition period someone may have walked off with it or something. We had other stuff stolen from there, it was not an easy building to secure,” said Maitland, adding that a snowblower had been stolen from the church around the same time. 

“I feel bad for her, but it had been there a long time.”

The hand-cycle is described as an Invacare Top End Excelerator XLT 3 wheel handcycle that is very low to the ground and propelled by the use of both arms pushing on hand pedals at the same time — not alternating pedals such as with a standard bicycle.

The bicycle is black with gold flecks in the paint and was donated to her from medical equipment provider Invacare Canada to help her on her charitable fundraising journey.

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Anyone with information is asked to contact Windsor Police at 519-255-6700 ext. 4305, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS), online at http://www.catchcrooks.com, or by submitting a tip on Facebook.

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