Ole Kassow started Cycling Without Age as a way of helping nursing home residents get back into society. As a cycling Copenhagener for whom the bicycle as transport is a given, Ole felt the need to help those with limited mobility. His solution? A classic Copenhagen trishaw. He was inspired by an elderly man, Thorkild, from his local nursing home and he offered to take him for a ride. Soon all the other residents wanted a ride, too. He then connected with Dorthe Pedersen, a visionary “boundary spanner” from Copenhagen Municipality, and together they bought the first five trishaws and kick-started what became the international movement Cycling Without Age.
Ole and Dorthe together with a dedicated team have since worked persistently to inspire not only Copenhageners, but all Danes to offer their companionship to elderly neighbors in local nursing homes. The reward of sharing the experience of mobility and wind in the hair is indescribable to everyone who encountered the bike rides.
The team is passionate about the Cycling Without Age movement. For them it’s not just riding a trishaw with the elderly, but rather building that bridge between generations, exchanging stories, starting new friendships and giving back to them while we are still able to. It’s the most amazing form of social inclusion. We are, after all, heading down the same path at some point.
The team is happy to have passionate local licensees around the world now who are working hard to start a chapter of Cycling Without Age in their community. It’s exciting for the founders of Cycling Without Age to assist this world wide network in creating renewed relationships between old and young people, on how to collaborate across sectors, and on how to run, operate and maintain the awesome initiative. The elderly will once again be handed the opportunity to connect with their local community and the people in it.
Rides have a striking impact on the elderly, the voluntary pilots, the staff and on the local community. We’ve learned over the last three years that nursing homes with trishaws use them as tools for conversations, for creating relationships and for enhancing the quality of life of everybody involved. We have strong indicators of positive effects on mental and social health for the elderly as well as the pilots.