Who we are
Cycling Without Age was mentioned to me by a contact who suggested I take a look. After being inspired by watching various videos and reading about the amazing initiative, I knew it was something I wanted to bring to the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.
We have a high population of elderly people, a scenic landscape and of course, our close proximity to the coast! In September 2017 I became an affiliated member and the Newcastle upon Tyne chapter was established. Since then we are now a team of three, all with the objective of spreading the word and trying to raise funds to buy our first trishaw. Our trishaw is to be used for outings for the elderly and other isolated people in our local community.
Katie Wilkinson, Lesley Heseltine, Tim Parsons
What is Cycling Without Age?
We are part of ‘Cycling Without Age’ who are a not for profit, voluntarily led group. The movement started in 2012 by Ole Kassow, which set out to tackle the social isolation endured by elderly people as a consequence of their limited mobility. Cycling Without Age enables volunteers to use a bespoke bike called a Trishaw to take local nursing home residents out on bike rides around their local area. Cycling Without Age is a free service to help create new relationships between generations, involving the community and improving quality of life for the elderly. This has since evolved and now serves all vulnerable corners of society in over 33 Countries. Since Fraser Johnston, who is a volunteer for the Falkirk Chapter, was featured in BBC Three’s ‘Amazing Humans’ television programme the concept has spread rapidly throughout the UK with new Chapters of CWA opening to support their local communities. Each local chapter is run by volunteers with our guiding principles of generosity, slowness, storytelling, relationships and without restriction of age.
What are we trying to do?
Our volunteer pilots take local elders and care homes residents out on ‘trishaw’ cycle rides to feel the wind in their hair. We hope to bring generations closer together using special trishaws (three-wheel cycles with a passenger cab out front). They have electrical power assist, so you don't have to be super-sporty to be a volunteer cycle pilot! Our rides are comfortable, fun and free.
How is it going to work?
We are what is called a ‘registered affiliate’ of Cycling Without Age which means we have been granted the privilege of starting a ‘Chapter’ of CWA in our local area. We are building relationships with care homes and managing a scheme of local volunteers to take elderly people on bike rides out of their homes and back into their communities. By introducing this scheme into our area, we will:
• Build stronger communities
• Tackle issues of social isolation amongst the elderly
• Create more engaged and active citizens
Each trishaw costs around £6000 each. This includes the blanket and rain hood. The Trishaw is a specially designed bicycle with a two-seat carriage at the front, each with a motor so that the "Pilot" does not have to be super fit! The bikes are usually ridden slowly to enable interaction with the rider and the pilot as well as the general public along the route. The rider is positioned on the saddle behind them, where they can peddle and steer the bike.
Cycling Without Age facts
• Established in 2012 in Copenhagen
• Represented in 37 countries worldwide
• 450 + chapters
• 1,500 + trishaws
• 10,000 + trained cycle pilots
• Over 50,000 elderly people have been on rides
• Oldest pilot is 89 and oldest passenger 106
• Our trishaws cycle 2.2 million km a year or 53 times around the world
How you can help
We have set ourselves an initial target of two trishaws for our chapter. By donating to the project or pledging a reward you can help us get this worthwhile and exciting project up and running in your local area. If you would like to volunteer to become one of our trishaw pilots get in touch!
If you would like to make suggestions for routes and areas where you feel the trishaw would be of great benefit, please let us know at [email protected] We would really love to hear from you!