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.
Photo - Phil Hines Photography
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.
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.