(3/12/2019) Cycling Without Age rides into Freo
Cycling Without Age, an international not-for-profit organisation that allows elderly and less mobile people to experience an outdoor ride on trishaw e-bikes piloted by volunteer cyclists, has launched in Fremantle.
The social enterprise was partially funded by the City of Fremantle’s Arts and Community Grants program and received $5000 earlier this year to help get it off the ground.
City of Fremantle Director of Community Development Michelle Brennand said Cycling Without Age encouraged ageing in a positive context and built bridges between generations.
“It’s fantastic to see how this project is connecting elderly and less mobile people to their community and the outdoors, as well as facilitating volunteering participation and encouraging social inclusion,” Ms Brennand said.
“The concept is really taking off around Australia, and we’re pleased this community service is now being offered to Fremantle residents and visitors.”
Cycling Without Age was established in Denmark in 2012, and is represented in 42 countries around the world today. The first trishaws cycled Down Under in 2016, and Cycling Without Age Australia incorporated as a registered charity this year.
Cycling Without Age Community Captain for Fremantle Tim McGrath said the piloted trishaw rides followed two routes and were entirely free for passengers.
“Monday to Friday we depart from South Beach and cycle to South Fremantle Power Station and back, and on weekends you’ll find us at Bathers Beach cycling to B Shed and South Mole,” Mr McGrath said.
“Like a lot of the metropolitan area we have great beachside bike paths, but what makes Fremantle special is the waterfront areas around the wharf and harbour.
“A part of what we do as a volunteer pilot cyclist is act as a channel for passengers telling stories and many of our older passengers talk about their memories of the area.
“The physical joy of the wind in your hair and experiencing the wonderful environment we have in Fremantle is enough to encourage everyone to have a go.
“We find the social inclusion that comes with the attention of passers-by and the conversations with your fellow passenger and the pilot make it a joyful experience for everyone.”
Cycling Without Age’s Fremantle chapter is currently recruiting volunteer cyclists, who will be trained to pilot the trishaw.
“Demand is almost inexhaustible, so the more pilots we have, the more rides we can give,” Mr McGrath said.
“We do introductory training in groups of 10-15 for all Cycling Without Age chapters around Perth every few months.
“We’re also raising funds for a second trishaw. While our first trishaw was funded by a bequest and a City of Fremantle community grant, we are now seeking smaller donations and sponsorships from local businesses and care providers to expand this wonderful community service.”
Cycling Without Age is also offering trial rides at the City’s International Day of People with Disability and International Volunteer Day event at The Meeting Place on 5 December. Book here to register your attendance.