Living on the Greenbelt


Cargo rides and friendly people

By Barb Law Shelley
Photos by Emma Thompson

Proving that Boise’s Greenbelt is for all ages and abilities, some senior citizens who live next door to the Greenbelt in the Veranda Senior Living community in Barber Valley, can be seen jaunting about each day on a Blessing Bike, a Boise-invented cargo style, three-wheeled bike that can transport two people while a staff member pedals from behind.

Ninety-two year-old Ramona Morrell says, “Riding the bike is thrilling for me. I get to enjoy the Greenbelt and get some fresh air while being out in nature. The Greenbelt is peaceful, not crowded, and I enjoy meeting people along the path.”

Adds 79-year-old Tim Brown, “My office of 28 years was on the Boise River so going out on the bike with staff reminds me of my days at work watching a bald eagle swoop down and catch his breakfast. I used to do a lot of road biking so this is a good way for me to still get out and enjoy nature.”

Bike passengers have their own bell. No one can vouch that they ever ring it to shout, “Passing on your left,” but the bell does come in handy for teasing and waving at their adult children who live in the nearby townhomes. In fact, several newly retired people around the country have purchased homes in the Barber Valley and Harris Ranch with the idea of bringing their elderly parents to live in Veranda Senior Living to keep them close by.

It makes sense that Veranda, a home for seniors and people needing memory care that opened in March, would provide a Blessing Bike, because their aim is to provide a cruise-like experience for their residents. The elegant Veranda lobby sports this quote: “Our residents do not live in our workplace. We work in their home.”

The bike is stored in the lobby for easy access to the Greenbelt that is only five minutes away. It sits by a grand piano, TV, hair and pedicure salon, exercise room, and is steps from spacious hallways leading to dining rooms.

“We selected this location, because we wanted open views of the mountains and access to the Marianne Williams Park and the Greenbelt,” says Linsay Wallace, Veranda executive director. “We bike on the Greenbelt 10-12 times a week.”

Staff takes advantage of the natural setting by placing bird feeders by residents’ windows. Considering that there are as many as 200 bird species that appear along the Boise River, the bird feeders invite variety. Veranda has an advantage, because it is also by Walling Creek. Residents have spotted humming birds, robins, starlings and ducks and geese with their offspring.

A bed turn down service, housekeeping and laundry services and activities such as a senior prom, visits from therapy dogs and monthly themed luncheons are all part of the experience.

“We are fortunate to be located in this beautiful, quiet neighborhood, surrounded by nature and the Greenbelt. Living here makes it easier for our residents to make the transition and feel at home,”

Says Linsay

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