15 Minutes… Cycling Without Age
When you’re a child, learning to ride a bike is a great source of triumph, but when faced with mobility or age-related issues, the reality of not being able to cycle again can bring with it a huge sense of loss.
Enter Cycling Without Age, a non-profit global initiative that believes everyone has ‘the right to wind in their hair’. How is this achieved? By providing the opportunity for those no longer able, to enjoy the freedom of cycling again with a ride on a piloted trishaw – a specially designed three-wheel cycle with a passenger cab at the front.
Rides are purposefully done at a walking pace, so that family members can walk alongside and take in the view, allowing for conversation, and relationship building.
Originally founded in Copenhagen in 2012, the initiative has since branched out into what the charity refers to as ‘chapters’ – sub-branches of the charity – each run by volunteers on the guiding principles of generosity, slowness, storytelling, relationships, and without age. 2.5 million people have used the service worldwide to date, with one of the oldest passengers being 108-year-old Edith Green from Bournemouth.
One chapter has recently started in Teignbridge. Set up by Peta Cupper, with support from Home Instead West Exeter & Teignbridge, and a grant from the Lottery Community Fund, this fledgling charity had a bumpy start but is now offering regular trishaw rides at Mamhead, Haldon.
Peta told us: “I first heard about the initiative from Lynn Roddy, who is the director of the Tavistock and Tamar Valley Home Instead branch. She had set up a chapter and I loved the idea so with lots of support and help with funding, we became a registered charity earlier this year. We now have a van and an electric powered trishaw, piloted by my husband, Nick, so we can now take bookings for rides!”
Incredibly, rides are offered without charge, making the service truly accessible for any and all who suffer with mobility or age-related issues. But of course, running the service is not without cost, and voluntary donations are welcomed, as are efforts to raise vital funds to cover the charity’s running costs.
Fundraising is now underway to enable the creation of chapters in Exmouth, Tiverton, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Newton Abbot, and further afield, so why not consider if you can help, or perhaps set up a chapter where you live and help others recapture the joy of wind in their hair.
To book a ride at Mamhead, please contact Peta on firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Facebook, Cycling Without Age Teignbridge. To find out more about this exciting initiative elsewhere, visit www.cyclingwithoutage.org.uk
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum