A Dublin volunteer takes a few seniors for a trishaw bike ride through their local Cycling Without Age program. (cyclingwithoutage.org)

Chilliwack introduces pilot program to get seniors on bikes

The Cycling Without Age program uses volunteers to peddle trishaws and is already in 37 countries

Chilliwack is about to become the fifth city in the province to purchase a trishaw bicycle for its latest pilot program: Cycling Without Age (CWA).

Started in Denmark in 2012 in by Ole Kassow, Cycling Without Age gets a community’s senior citizens back out on bikes, regardless of their physical capabilities.

“Too many seniors no longer have the physical capability to get out on their own,” said Coun. Ken Popove. “(And) we need to get our seniors out in the fresh air (because) it helps fight against loneliness and social isolation.”

With that in mind, when the Yarrow Community School Society approached the City of Chilliwack for a one-time contribution of $9,925, about 80 per cent of the cost of one trishaw, Popove put forth a motion to instead pay just over half of the program’s $29,174 startup cost, $15,000.

The motion was passed unanimously. Said Coun. Chris Kloot commented: “I think we make a lot of investments for young people in our community. I support this interesting initiative for our senior population.”

“My first thought was this is great (and) we need to get behind this and move this along as quick as we can, (so) it was something I was happy to put forward,” Popove explained.

Manufactured by Copenhagen Cycles for Cycling Without Age, the trishaw bicycles cost more than $12,000 each, and come equipped with weather-proof hoods, electric-assist motors, and a personalized sticker package for the community hosting the program.

“Essentially, we bought them a bike and they’ll buy themselves a bike,” added Popove. “And I look forward to maybe being a peddler or peddle-ee.”

“It’s actually the cost of the bike, shipping the bike, and some safety equipment like helmets,” explained David Burge, one of the project’s co-founders.

It was only six months ago when Burge and the other local CWA co-founders were forwarded an internet link to Kassow’s TEDx video.

“We got excited about the idea of trying to do something locally,” said Burge, who’s a retired physician and long-time cyclist.

A volunteer shows off a new trishaw bike for Dublin’s Cycling Without Age program. (cyclingwithoutage.org)

“All four of the founding members of the local CWA chapter love to cycle, have elderly parents and see the immediate value of fostering social connection between generations through fresh air, wind in the hair, and exercise,” said Burge.

Even “(my) 91-year-old mother is fortunate enough to be mobile and out in the fresh air daily, and it is so apparent that the fresh air brings so much quality to her life,” Burge wrote in an email.

“What appeals to us (the most are) the relationship that are developed,” said Burge during a telephone interview.

“One of the things we plan on doing is encouraging the folks who are getting rides to tell their stories (because we) see it as a really neat opportunity for inter-generational community development. That’s been the outcome in other places that have started this program.”

“It’s a good idea for sure,” said Robert Saucier, who manages Chilliwack’s Senior Peer Counsellors group. “I would sit on it and go for a ride, it sounds like a fun thing to do, especially if the highways and roads we’re on are safe.”

“So we tried to come up with a model that may work locally, talked about various options, and decided to make the approach of trying to base it out of a community centre (like) Yarrow Community School.”

However, Burge adds the community’s first Cycling Without Age bike may not be ready to hit the trails until next spring.

In the meantime, says Burge, “we’ll be trying to recruit and train lots of volunteers and develop contacts within the community that will allow us to help lots of elderly folks access the bikes.”

“We’re very lucky with the growing abundance of wonderful—and flat—trails around Chilliwack,” said Burge. “It makes our community the perfect place for taking seniors out on tours in these deluxe trishaws.”


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack city council won’t reconsider cannabis retail applicant’s rejected pot shop

Reconsideration motion for proposed pot shop on Promontory defeated in three-to-three vote

Chilliwack city council sides with seniors against five-storey apartment project

Developer sent back to the drawing board over concerns about sun-blocking building downtown

Harrison Hot Springs to partner with Sts’ailes for reconciliation event

The event will be funded by a grant meant to build dialogue between cities and local First Nations

Ryan McMahon brings new tunes to Acoustic Emporium in Chilliwack

Album is ‘snapshot of a soon-to-be middle-aged man trying to beat the blues,’ says singer-songwriter

Odd Fellows of B.C. elect first woman as Grand Master

Chilliwack’s Trudie Brisson installed into top role for long-running organization

Coquitlam RCMP release video in search for witness to crash that killed girl, 13

Witness is described as a slim Asian man with short, black hair, no facial hair and wearing glasses

B.C. firefighters rescue frozen dog from ice

The fire crew found a dog stuck in the at Lake Paul on May 20

Most British Columbians agree the ‘big one’ is coming, but only 50% are prepared

Only 46 per cent of British Columbians have prepared an emergency kit with supplies they might need

B.C. man to pay Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party $20k over lawsuit

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Sitting and sleeping on downtown sidewalks could net $100 fine in Penticton

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30

Survey finds 15% of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

B.C. man killed in logging accident ‘would have done anything for anyone’

Wife remembers 43-year old Petr Koncek, father of two children

Most Read