You know what's been missing
It's the small interactions of everyday life, like back when we used to know the people around us: the butcher, the hairdresser, neighbours, teachers, the policeman, the postman and the chimney sweeper. The contrast to the fast pace of modern life must be mind-boggling for those born in the 20's and 30's, no wonder a lot of them feel lost and lonely! We know you would love to change that too - and we're here to help.
How is this going to work?
Cycling Without Age moves into the community of your choosing and with the help of the trishaw (a really awesome bike for three), we start to connect the dots between past and present, young and old. We build intergenerational relationships and involve the whole community, starting with the hairdresser or the pub! The two communities with the most support get a knock on the door from us, a trishaw and fun activities to increase social cohesion and the right to wind in your hair. See the change in your hometown by starting to rally your local network right now.
At the end of this campaign, we will send a questionnaire to each supporter who gets to vote on where the trishaw(s) should go. Cycling Without Age will bring the trishaw(s) to the communities with the most votes. We'll meet, work with and connect local changemakers whom we'll support as they start to roll with this programme.
Who we are
Cycling Without Age is a movement started in Copenhagen in 2012 and we’re now over 10,000 changemakers in 38 countries worldwide. Nothing beats witnessing the joy of the young and the elderly interact on and around the trishaw and seeing the smiles of passengers coming back from their first ride with wind in their hair, rosy cheeks and full of stories.
How does a community bike works its magic?
The trishaw is a tool to revive the memories of the passenger, who shares his or her anecdotes with the other passenger, volunteer pilot, and the people they meet along the way. The passenger often prefers to ride to certain parts of the city, which holds meaning to them, this way they co-create the trips and get to feel autonomous and mobile. On the rides, new stories are created, as the experiences we get when we step outside of everyday life are usually the most interesting and worth retelling. The people who see the trishaw on the street experience something rare, and they have a new story to tell too.
Over half a million older people in the UK leave their homes once a week or less. The trishaw offers mobility and social relations. People on the street who see the trishaw and its passenger and pilot, very often wave and smile at them, and say things like “that looks cosy”. It’s wonderful to feel connected to -and greeted by your community. Sometimes they recognise the passenger, which is a special feeling, especially for someone who doesn't often get to go outside. Like in this instance where Rigmor, who is 80 years old, was recognised by her family at the Copenhagen Pride parade, they had no idea she was a trishaw passenger or a Pride Parade supporter.
Riding a trishaw means you’re doing something active, and it brings you where you want to go: the ocean, the city center, your former place of work or where you used to go to school. The trishaw brings you what riding a bicycle does: mobility and freedom. It also adds a sense of adventure, playfulness and excitement, and the feeling that anything can happen at any moment. It makes us dream of all the things that are possible and that we have yet to experience.
The trishaw connects people of different ages and background, and surprisingly in spite of the obvious differences, we often find we have things in common. Realising you both do gardening, enjoy rock music, or have similar principles, is a great way to develop a new friendship and learn something new. The trishaw ride sparks these kinds of conversations because pilot and passenger experience their surroundings from the same perspective which inspires talking about certain topics, and communication happens! Sometimes this communication is non verbal; a smile or a touch in silence is another way to communicate how you feel at that moment.
The trishaw is inclusive
Some trishaw passengers are wheelchair bound. Thanks to a special lift, they can now enjoy a bike ride again. John, a man who was a passenger on a trishaw ride, said that in the trishaw the city becomes accessible to him in a way it isn’t usually. The passengers sit side by side or alone during rides, they often wear a red blanket. When others see them like this, they forget to think of the illnesses that may have caused them to lose their mobility, they merely see a person who enjoys feeling a bit of wind in their hair. In Cycling Without Age we cycle slowly, which means we have time to stop and chat with people we meet along the way. Riding the trishaw is easy, which means anybody can be a pilot, we’ve had an 89 year old pilot riding a passenger younger than himself.
It makes you feel special
Being a passenger in a trishaw almost makes you feel like royalty sitting in a horse drawn carriage. Sometimes the pilot brings a special treat, or stops by one of the cafés that offer free coffee or ice cream to Cycling Without Age. The pampering invites a feeling of being an important person, someone who counts and who is of value.
The trishaw is a symbol of dignity, equality, quality of life and the joy of living.
Our data shows that 51% of the passengers make new friends following a ride, 82% feel they have more energy, 92% of the pilots have a larger network due to their participation.
Grethe, 96: “please tell everyone involved how much this means to me, and thank them for understanding the difference between being alive and living”.
Thorkild (100) and Anna from Brighton & Hove.