Seniors and those with disabilities will soon be able to exercise their “right to wind in their hair” in Rossland and Trail.
A small group of dedicated volunteers is working hard to bring Cycling Without Age to those cities.
Cycling Without Age is a movement started in 2012 in Denmark. The program is designed to help elders and others with limited mobility enjoy rides on a bicycle, in this case, a “trishaw.”
The CWA trishaw, equipped with a pedal-assist electric motor, provides a comfortable seat for one or two passengers at the front of the bike, piloted by a rider on the seat behind.
Jane Hu, Canadian head of the CWA, was in the area last week to demonstrate the bikes and take a few folks for rides.
Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore, Trail Mayor Lisa Pasin, city councillors, media and other interested parties were invited to see just how valuable this program would be.
Rides were offered free to those with mobility issues, beginning with residents at Columbia View Lodge.
“Giving residents the chance to see new sights and experience the sounds, smells and feeling of riding a bicycle is a great way to keep them vibrant and active,” says Margot Wright, a recreational therapist at Columbia View and other local facilities. “The social interaction with the pilots and members of the community is important to maintaining people’s health and wellness.”
Marilyn Nelson and Diana Daghofer are the two women behind the venture in the Lower Columbia.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but we hope to have the trishaws operating in Trail as early as this fall,” said Nelson.
Nelson and Daghofer, along with Margot and other volunteers, still have to fundraise to purchase the bikes, which run from $7,000 to $14,000, depending on the model.
The more expensive model may be required to navigate the hills of Rossland, while the less expensive version is fine for flatter terrain.
CWA Guiding Principles include generosity, slowness, storytelling, relationships and no age barrier.
“Our aim is to link younger people who have time to share with older or less physically able folks,” said Daghofer. “We will ride slowly, so passengers can fully sense their environments and interact with people we meet along the way. It gives everyone a chance to hear the many stories older people have and to build relationships.”
Since its beginnings in Copenhagen, CWA has spread to 1,643 chapters in 42 countries, serving over 110,000 people.
To find out more about the program, including how to donate to purchase the bikes or to volunteer with the program, contact Daghofer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-362-5810.