Cycling Without Age has landed on local streets with elderly nursing home residents at Kingscliff and Banora Point among the first to experience the thrill of the wind their hair.
The Danish social enterprise founded in 2012 by Ole Kassow in Copenhagen offers recreational mobility to seniors in the form of volunteer piloted trishaw rides. CWA boasts 2,050 chapters in 47 countries with 2,700 trishaws, 31,500 trained cycle pilots and more than a million people served.
It lands here courtesy of Bill Van Zetten, a painter, decorator and cycling enthusiast, who signed on to lead a local chapter thinking it would help him ease his own way into retirement. Bill bought his first regulation electric trishaw with a $15,000 Salvation Army innovation grant, the application made by his cycling buddy Marty Thompson, Twin Towns Salvation Army Chaplain. He has approached local nursing homes to offer rides at Kingscliff and Banora Point and hopes eventually to extend the service to include Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. Bill launched his service in February, offering half hour rides on his electric trishaw which carries one elderly passenger and a carer per ride.
Chaplain Marty saw a TV documentary about the Danish trikers and thought it was exactly what the region needed to bring community groups together. “The reaction you get when you’re out with the bike is something else. People smile and wave and want to chat,” he said.
Having completed his regulation training, Bill is searching for volunteers to train as pilots. “It’s an electric bike so it’s not quite as easy as you might think. You need some fitness and there is training and police checks to complete,” he said.
Thompson Brothers Automotive at South Tweed supply a trailer to help transport the trishaw. If you would like to volunteer to assist with this local CWA, call Bill on 0425 714 471.