I love to learn about how cycling changes lives and Cycling Without Age which has recently set up in Parramatta is a great example. Cycling Without Age is a fantastic organisation giving elderly people access to the joys of cycling and it has a wonderful background story from one of my ancestral homes of Denmark. The concept is based on trishaws that are modified e-bikes allowing a pilot to ride with two passengers.
It was started by a visionary guy called Ole Kassow who met an elderly man on a park bench in Copenhagen which prompted him to rent a trishaw and visit the nursing home to offer to take residents out for a ride. It was a hit as you’ll learn if you watch this great Ted Talk Ole gave and grew from there.
The concept of Cycling Without Age is taking elderly people out for bike rides in specially built trishaw bikes piloted by volunteers. The organisation’s mission is to build bridges between generations and help prevent loneliness by providing elderly people an opportunity to avoid social isolation and remain active in their community by taking them out on bike rides and allowing them to feel the wind in their hair! The bike rides are free of charge and riders known as pilots are trained volunteers.
I first learnt about Cycling Without Age when I friend of mine asked me back in 2015 if I knew of anyone who would be interested in setting up a Cycling Without Age chapter in Australia. My friend Jayne has a strong connection with Denmark because she went there for an exchange year after school and formed a strong friendship with Dorthe Pedersen who is the co-founder of Cycling Without Age. Another one of those ‘small world’ stories. At the time I couldn’t think of any people within my cycling contacts who would be interested.
Fast forward to 2020, and I was very pleased when Charlene Bordley who runs a community cycling group in Parramatta told me she was a driving force behind setting up a Cycling Without Age chapter.
Ole and Dorthe have been very successful in setting up Cycling Without Age around the globe and now operates in 29 countries with over 2,000 trishaws and more than 12,000 volunteer pilots.
For participants, Cycling Without Age is not just about a bike ride. It’s also an opportunity to build a bridge between generations, exchange stories and start new friendships. There are programs in Murwillumbah, Newcastle, Western Australia and Melbourne.
This month the Parramatta chapter is focused on raising funds to purchase a $16,000 custom-built trishaw that will be built in Denmark. Here’s the link if you’d like to donate to this great cause.