Cycling Without Age (CWA) is a wonderful initiative launched by Ole Kassow, from Denmark, to make elders happy, healthy, active, and feel included in society. The organization aims to provide fun and happiness to the seniors, in the form of free volunteer-supported trishaw/ cycle rickshaw/bike-taxi rides. Volunteers, known as pilots sign up for these free trishaw rides with the seniors in their local community. As the elders step out in the open air, they talk, laugh, sing, cry, get mischievous, and feel happy. They share their stories, feelings, and experiences with the pilots, and in turn, get to learn about the current society. Ole aims to build a healthy and interactive community for elders, their families, and friends. He received the Danish Community Award 2014 for his enterprise, and in 2017, he was the second Dane to become Ashoka Fellow, the world’s leading NGO for change-making and social entrepreneurship. In a recent interview on the occasion of World Senior Citizen Day (https://pedalandtringtring.com/2019/08/21/in-conversation-with-ole-kassow/), Ole talked about his organization, and how the initiative helps to bridge the gap between the generations. He emphasized that the purpose is not to provide a one-sided charitable activity. Rather, the ride and the conversations help in the physical and mental well-being of the elders and the volunteers.
The project initiated in 2012
Copenhagen, Denmark, has today spread to 42 countries worldwide. The US chapter of Cycling Without Age was started at Caledonia Senior Living and Memory Care earlier this year. The founder, Gus Noble was inspired, to read about a young man in Scotland who picked up seniors in a community and took them for free bike rides. Noble feels that the program is instrumental in bringing seniors out of isolation. CWA has opened its chapters in Australia, New Zealand, USA and many European countries. In 2015, Singapore became the first Asian country to open a CWA chapter. Many senior care centers have come forward to support the cause. Local transport authorities have approved routes around Singapore where the pilots and elders could enjoy their rides. Temasek foundation has funded Trishaws and the training program for the pilots as a part of their “Moving Generation” project.In 2017, a book was launched based on the inspiring conversations and storytelling interactions between the elders and the pilots, as they share their beautiful ride.
The CWA is yet to have an active
chapter in India and other Asian countries, but is hopeful that very soon they will be able to create a passionate team for this noble cause. Ole is confident that very soon the platform will be available to all seniors worldwide regardless of their demographics or geography.