Opening up a world of outdoor joy through ageless cycling
THE joy of a gentle ride through local parks in the company of old and new friends is being made possible through the enthusiasm of seniors like Sydney's Adrian Boss.
He's one of an enthusiastic group from BIKEast who has secured joint funding from Sydney City Council and Woollahra Council to purchase a trishaw which will transport less agile seniors through local and iconic park areas in the inner city.
The specially built bikes don't come cheap at $15,000 each, but the value they deliver in making it possible for older people to visit places that are often inaccessible is unmeasurable.
"It's an opportunity particularly people who are otherwise trapped in their home or aged care home, who only get bussed out for recreation occasionally," the BIKEast coordinator for Cycling Without Age Mr Boss said. "With these bikes we are able to give them rides in a park. The whole aim is to get them out and about, and reconnect with the community. They can talk with pilots like myself. The rides we provide are free."
Each trishaw is ridden by a trained pilot who are often much younger than their passengers. So far, Mr Boss has trained 11 other pilots.
It's taken a few years for Mr Boss to drive getting the BIKEast program off the ground in Sydney since he attended a briefing session given by the Cycling Without Age Danish program co-founder and realised the value of such a program for older people.
"I have spent about 20 hours a week , particularly in the last 19 months, on the project," the retiree said.
Aged care home provider Montefiori had started a small program with a donated bike, taking their clients out for rides around Centennial Park. But now with another bike available, and more volunteer pilots to pedal the trishaws, Mr Boss is determined to see the choice of ride locations and aged care provider partnerships extended.
The magnificent Botanical Gardens are one of his targeted locations. There is just some logistical and administrative issues to be resolved before they can start accessing its pathways.
He said COTA NSW is also looking to establish a program to support placing similar bikes in the west of the city and in regional NSW.
A national organisation, Cycling Without Age Australia, has also been formed.
For more information, phone Mr Boss on 0407 005574.