Cycling Without Age is a movement started in 2012 by Ole Kassow. Ole wanted to help the elderly get back on their bicycles, but he had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer was a trishaw and he started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents.
He then got in touch with a civil society consultant from the City of Copenhagen, Dorthe Pedersen (now Cycling Without Age), who was intrigued by the idea and together they bought the first 5 trishaws and launched Cycling Without Age, which has now spread to all corners of Denmark, and since 2015 to another 38 countries around the world.
To create a chapter of the Cycling Without Age program in Dunedin. With Otago Polytechnic engineering students building the bikes; Otago Polytechnic OT and Social Services students developing the voluntary arm of the service; and Otago Polytechnic students (in general) volunteering to cycle the bikes.
And guess what!?
The bike got built during 2019 by engineering students. You can see Matt King (engineering lecturer) modelling the bike below. It’s all electric (but some of the electrics are currently housed in the shopping bag on the ground). The electric element seems pretty obvious, given the hills in Dunedin. Matt offered to let me take it for a spin – but I didn’t feel quite up to it that day. I hope to do it when Matt comes back from his next trip overseas.
If you have ever known any older person in a rest home, who does not get out to get the wind in their hair – then you will understand the benefits of this project.
There’s still some work to do and many potential skeptics to prove wrong. The next step will be to find some people to trial it with. Look out occupational therapy students – here comes another project.