The psychologist Susan Pinker has found that living solitary lives is the number one risk to longevity. Australian researchers Catherine and Alex Haslam found that people with active social lives recover faster after an illness than those who are solitary and older people who participate in social gatherings keep their memories longer. Cycling Without Age is a movement that offers a solution to some of the consequences of modern life. We treat loneliness and social isolation by providing a sense of belonging to a community, and we promote a healthier and more active lifestyle through slow cycling, which has an overall positive effect on any city. While cycling together, experiences are shared and friendships are formed, which is helping both the passenger, the pilot and those they meet on the way.
For the individual, regular rides means better sleep, better appetite, fever conflicts and the need for less medication.
Cycling Without Age originated in Copenhagen. The co-founder, Ole Kassow offered a ride to a care home resident and it was immediately backed by the municipality of Copenhagen thanks to Dorthe Pedersen, co-founder. The organisation is now represented in 37 countries with great success in places as diverse as the United States, Norway, Scotland and Singapore.
Cycling Without Age started in Ireland in 2017. Since then, Clara Clark and Charles Mollan have been demonstrating it to nursing homes and sponsors and spreading the word, with a great response. There are now Chapters all over the country with Trishaws out and about in Irish parks and bicycle lanes all over the country.
How to get involved
This will be more time intensive at the start, particularly if you need to raise funding but approximately 4 hours a week should be sufficient.
Getting started with a Cycling Without Age chapter is an amazing experience. Nothing beats witnessing the joy of the elderly, pilots and nursing home staff 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.