Cycling Without Age
Cycling Without Age is a movement started in 2012 by Ole Kassow. Ole wanted to help the elders 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, who was intrigued by the idea and together they bought five trishaws and launched Cycling Without Age, which has now spread to all corners of Denmark, and since 2015 to another 50 countries around the world.
The Guiding Principles
Generosity: Cycling Without Age is based on generosity and kindness. It starts with the obvious generous act of taking one or two elderly or less-abled people out on a bike ride. It’s a simple act that everyone can do.
Slowness: Slowness allows you to sense the environment, be present in the moment and it allows people you meet along the way to be curious and gain knowledge about Cycling Without Age because you make time to stop and talk.
Storytelling: Older adults have so many stories that will be forgotten if we don’t reach out and listen to them. We tell stories, we listen to stories on the bike and we also document the stories when we share them via word of mouth or on social media.
Relationships: Cycling Without Age is about creating a multitude of new relationships: between generations, among older adults, between pilots and passengers, care home employees and family members. Relationships build trust, happiness and quality of life.
Without Age: Life unfolds at all ages, young and old, and can be thrilling, fun, sad, beautiful and meaningful. Cycling Without Age is about letting people age in a positive context – fully aware of the opportunities that lie ahead when interacting in their local community.
The Innovative Force of Cycling Without Age
By virtue of being a grassroots movement CWA’s innovative force lies in the grassroots. On our continued ability to innovate, to challenge the system and to break barriers relies on a strong community of practice and an ability to identify and disseminate great ideas and experiments.
How It Works
Volunteers (pilots) sign up for bike rides with the elderly as often or as rarely as they want to. It’s all driven by people’s own motivation. At present (March 2021) more than 2,500 chapter locations around the world offer Cycling Without Age from well over 3,500 trishaws – and the numbers are still growing. More than 35,000 trained pilots ensure that the elderly get out of their nursing homes, out on the bikes to enjoy the fresh air and the community around them. They give them the right to wind in their hair.