After seeing an elderly man sitting on a park bench, Ole Kassow thought of the idea to get the gentleman moving again, and not just by walking through the park, but by taking a bike ride. According to CBN News, after initial success bringing senior citizens for bike rides on a trishaw, Kassow founded Cycling Without Age in 2012 with the goal of creating happiness through helping senior citizens enjoy their environment and continue to interact with society and the local community. Since its inception, Cycling Without Age now operates in 52 countries, spreading the joy of cycling around the world.
Cycling Without Age operates with the use of volunteers, called pilots, who operate a trishaw, which is a bike that has a passenger seat in the front where the senior citizens can sit for their ride. Instead of sitting on a bench watching people go by, senior citizens are able to get moving themselves by experiencing the park as they ride around to different areas seeing different things. According to Cycling Without Age, more than 35,000 trained pilots take clients for bike rides as often or rarely as they want. Partnering with nursing homes and senior care facilities, the organization has been embraced by the community as a welcome breath of fresh air that gets senior citizens out and about.
The “guiding principles” of Cycling Without Age include generosity and kindness, allowing positive interactions between generations who make memories on their journey together. The organization also allows for “slowness,” which helps the pilot and the client slow down and enjoy their environment, while explaining the program to curious people they meet along the way. Storytelling is another part of the experience that helps build relationships as senior citizens tell stories about their lives. According to CBN News, some pilots have even become more adventurous, adding in a fishing trip or special bike tour along the way.
The benefits of Cycling Without Age are endless as participants both young and old look forward to the activity that is healthy and brings great happiness. With the ultimate goal of helping senior citizens get around outdoors instead of just staying put on a park bench, Cycling Without Age has made a tremendous difference in the lives of seniors. Even for the volunteer pilots, the service they are providing to seniors also changes their lives as they listen to the stories from generations before and feel good about helping others with limited mobility enjoy life.