| Anna Eaton
Cycling Without Age
Cycling Without Age is a movement started in Copenhagen in 2012 by Ole Kassow. Volunteers use rickshaws to go out on bike rides with elderly community members, helping them to get out and about and take necessary trips to the shops and around the local area. It also reconnects people with the joy of cycling and being outside. I love it because it reminded me that we all share the same things that make us happy. Things like seeing new and beautiful places, travelling outdoors, “the wind in our hair”, socialising, dancing and going on a journey.
Ole started Cycling Without Age because he wanted to help the elderly get back on their bicycles. He noticed that many people in his community stopped cycling when they got older due to mobility issues or fear of accidents. For many people who lived in communities like Ole’s in Copenhagen, where cycling is very much part of everyday life, it was a big change and loss to stop.
But first Ole needed to find a solution to older people’s often limited mobility. The answer was a ‘trishaw’ and he started offering free bike rides to local nursing home residents. The movement has grown significantly in the last five years. There are now over 1,500 Cycling Without Age trishaws and rickshaws in 37 countries worldwide. The trishaws are driven by ‘pilots’ and can take two passengers. The oldest pilot is 90 years old and the oldest passenger is 106! You can start a Cycling Without Age chapter in your community and they have models to use to become part of the movement.
The Grey Escape
This brilliant film from their website is just under half an hour long, but it is well worth the watch. It captures the impact of Cycling Without Age by following twenty elderly people who take a four-day journey from Denmark of Norway to deliver some trishaws.
The film highlights how important it is in life to be mobile, to have freedom and to be outside. In later life, these things can be restricted due to illness, fragility or the design of the places in which we live. Cycling Without Age is about “being in the world” with others.
There film captures profound themes out of small moments. When one of the nursing home’s volunteer cyclist ‘pilots’ is involved in an accident, one of the residents, Knud who enjoyed the rides, takes over the cleaning of the bike. When asked about it he says: “It feels good. I’d rather do this than just be cooped up in my room. No point in that. You only live once – and you need to make the most of it. That’s my advice”.
This film is a heart-warming reminder that no matter what age we are, we all seek the same things and are capable of anything.
Photo by David Marcu