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A trip down memory lane, Source: Cycling Without Age

Fingal launches ‘Cycling Without Age’

Fingal launches ‘Cycling Without Age’

The Danish initiative targeted at seniors with reduced mobility has now spread to 51 countries around the world

Bicycle is the greatest human invention, Samuel Beckett, Irish Nobel Prize winner for literature and an avid cyclist himself used to say. He thought that this simple and perfect vehicle came as close as could be to achieving freedom from the human condition, that metaphorical pendulum constantly swinging between suffering and boredom.

Reliving the thrills

All who have ever ridden a bike would strongly agree. To many, cycling has become a life-long obsession, which makes the pain of no longer being able to experience that feeling all the more unbearable. And this is how the mission behind Cycling Without Age was born: help elders from nursing homes who have lost the ability to pedal themselves feel again the rush of wind in their hair.

Now, Fingal County Council in Ireland is joining the long list of destinations around the world committed to this initiative. According to a municipal press release, several departments are involved: Active Travel, Age Friendly Fingal, Community, Sports and Fingal's Active City Project which shows how far-flung the initiative is.

How the movement originated

Cycling Without Age sprang up in Denmark in 2012. Its mastermind Ole Kassow sought ways to help seniors get back on their bicycles, taking into account their limited mobility.

The answer was a trishaw with a pilot. Soon Ole started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents.

Dorthe Pedersen, a Copenhagen-based civil society consultant, was captivated by Ole’s idea. Together they bought five trishaws and launched Cycling Without Age, which subsequently spread to all corners of Denmark, and since 2015 to another 50 countries around the world.

Locations in Fingal

There are three proposed locations for Cycling Without Age Trishaws in Fingal.

Skerries: Starting from The Red Island Carpark, you follow the beautiful coastal route as far as Skerries Rugby Club and back, enjoying the views of Shenick Island along the way.  

Baldoyle/Portmarnock Greenway: Travelling along the Coast Road to the Greenway. This 1.8 km stretch of dedicated cycle lane will bring you to the Station Road Roundabout and back.

St Catherine's Park: Starting at the Ranger Station in St Catherine's Park, you will cycle along the outskirts of the park to the Leixlip Gate and back to the Ranger Station Car Park.

Each trip lasts approximately 45 minutes and starts and finishes in the same place.

Volunteers wanted

Fingal County Council is looking for volunteers to assist in delivering the service. There is demand for a number of roles: piloting the Trishaws, arranging bookings, matching available volunteers and ensuring that the bikes are charged and in good working order before each ride.

Becoming a pilot with Cycling Without Age requires additional training on the spot (you must be an experienced cyclist anyway). Because older adults are vulnerable people and contracting coronavirus would have severe impact on their health, pilots are advised to keep themselves informed of the containment measures in their local area.

Would-be volunteers can apply using this page.

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