A global cycling movement for older people has launched in Australia – all thanks to a $20,000 Community Grant from the Illawarra-based IRT Foundation.
Launched last week in Canberra, Cycling Without Age will see two purpose-built ‘trishaw bikes’ stationed at IRT Kangara Waters retirement village and aged care centre in Belconnen, which will host regular rides for residents.
A joint initiative with Pedal Power ACT and the ACT Government, the movement was started in Denmark in 2012 by Ole Kassow. Keen to help the elderly get back on their bicycles, he bought a trishaw and began offering free bike rides to local nursing home residents.
Worldwide, there are now 200 Cycling Without Age chapters with over 1,000 trishaws and 6,000 pilots
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So why did the IRT Foundation decide to bring the program to Australia? It’s all part of the not-for-profit’s mission to create age-friendly communities.
“We want older Australians to have opportunities to enjoy a better quality of life — to participate more fully in social and physical activities, paid employment and civic participation, and to have equal access to community facilities and amenities,” IRT Foundation Manager, Toby Dawson said.
The trishaws – which have three wheels instead of two and a seat at the front for passengers – cost $9,300 each with the rest of the grant going towards pilot training, licensing and staff time.
Pilots for the bikes will be recruited and trained through the 7,000 members of Pedal Power ACT and students from the University of Canberra, while the trishaws will be maintained by the IRT Kangara Waters Men’s Shed.
Cycling Without Age now hopes to secure funding for a third bike at Kangara Waters and expand the movement to Sydney and Melbourne.
Clearly they’re on a roll.