Cycling Without Age – Official Launch

Jonathan WrightNews

Geelong’s first chapter of Cycling Without Age was officially launched this month at Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in North Geelong. MACS Chair Gael Perry and Cr Sarah Mansfield took a comfy seat on wheels to cut the ribbon and ring the bell.

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Photo - Phil Hines Photography

This fabulous Geelong Cycling Without Age project is the result of the collaborative efforts of Geelong Sustainability, Cycling Geelong and Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS).

Initially, this inspiring movement began in 2012 in Denmark with a simple kind gesture by Ole Kassow who hired a trishaw and offered free rides to nursing home residents so they could experience the joy of being in nature and the freedom of cycling again. The impact on all involved was profound and the program expanded rapidly!

In just five years, the program has spread around the world. Today it is in 37 countries where over 1,100 chapter locations use more than 1,500 electric trishaws, which are peddled by over 10,000 trained cyclists giving free rides to more than 50,000 senior citizens.

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Photo - Phil Hines Photography
The specially designed, battery assisted trishaws are quite expensive, costing $12,000 each. MACS agreed to fund the purchase of one trike and to coordinate the logistics and program administration. Cycling Geelong and Geelong Sustainability agreed to fundraise towards the cost of the second trike. As part of the fundraising, Cycling Geelong was successful in receiving a grant from Geelong Connected Communities for $3,000. Both community groups continue to fundraise as a small shortfall still exists. The three organisations continue to collaborate on the numerous tasks required to successfully implement the program including: recruiting cyclists, training pilots, planning routes and establishing program procedures. Over thirty cyclists have expressed interest and ten are now competent pilots, currently taking MACS residents for regular rides twice per week.
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Photo - Cycling Without Age Australia

For older people in residential aged care, this cycling activity offers a liberating opportunity to reconnect with their community, to revisit key places and to reminisce about past experiences. It creates new and meaningful relationships across generations and contributes to both physical and mental well-being of the elderly and volunteers.

It is an inspiring way for aged care providers and municipalities to promote positive views about ageing and to challenge stereotypes whilst modelling healthy living and connected communities.

Reflections from MACS residents after their first ride:

“I enjoyed it very much, it was lovely. It was a treat really. Went to a place I had never been to before. Beautiful sun and the wind. They can take me any time.”
“I felt free and could see all the changes in the neighbourhood. It was wonderful to have the breeze in my face. I couldn’t keep my hat on. The driver was fantastic. I felt very safe.”

For more information watch this TEDx talk by founder Ole Kassow or this BBC Amazing Humans story about Fraser, a 20 year old medical student in Scotland. Or check out the Facebook sites: Cycling Without Age - Australia or the international site, Stories from Cycling Without Age.

Get Involed

If you are interested in donating towards a trike or becoming a pilot, contact Cycling Geelong or Geelong Sustainability:
cyclinggeelong@hotmail.com or info@geelongsustainability.org.au