From making new friends and enjoying nature again, to rekindling memories of days gone by, residents at American Senior Communities have quickly grown to love their new three-wheeled companions. Introduced in June 2019, and already offered at multiple locations throughout Indianapolis, Cycling Without Age has become a much anticipated activity for residents of American Senior Communities.
How It All Began
The brainchild of Ole Kassow, Cycling Without Age was born in 2012 in Copenhagen, Demark. Ole had a routine of riding his bicycle to work on a regular basis, and a part of this routine was passing an elderly man sitting outside of a nursing home, presumably taking in the nature and fresh air. One morning, Ole was inspired to rent a “trishaw” and offered to share a ride with his friend from the nursing home. From that very first ride, the movement has spread to over 1,600 chapters in 42 countries around the world.
The concept behind Cycling Without Age is that everyone should be able to enjoy the freedom of cycling and the breeze of the wind in their hair, regardless of age or abilities. American Senior Communities has teamed up with Cycling Without Age of Greater Indianapolis (a volunteer run organization) to bring this cycling opportunity to our residents through regularly scheduled rides at nearby parks or trails. Residents receive these rides on trishaws, which are specially designed rickshaws where the passengers sit in the front rather than in the back.
Benefits for Senior Living Community Residents
Some might think that the only person benefiting from a bicycle ride is the person pumping the pedals, however, relationships and socialization are also huge benefits and lead to living a longer, healthier life. We are always looking for new and exciting opportunities for the residents of American Senior Communities, and we especially love it when the new activities bring so many health-related benefits.
Thinking back to childhood, some of the best memories from those neighborhood bicycle rides are likely to come from the laughter of friends and the freedom of exploring new places on your own. These are exactly the types of experiences and sensations that Cycling Without Age bring back for residents of our senior living communities.
Some of the primary benefits to residents include:
- Going outside and getting back into the community
- Interacting with new people
- Sensory experiences through sight, smell, touch and sound
“This program benefits our residents in so many different ways; it allows them to go out into the community, see the beautiful paths of Zionsville, socialize with people in the community, share their lives and stories, and be able to create relationships with the volunteers,” says Taylor Shuey, General Manager at Zionsville Meadows.
Don’t think that the residents are the only ones benefits from the free rides. “The cyclist drivers absolutely love being able to combine their passion for cycling with making seniors in their communities happy,” Taylor adds. “They love being able to see a resident’s face light up when they get to go for a ride on the Trishaw.”
Look Out For Cyclists
The program is getting a lot of attention in Indianapolis. In the first season, Cycling Without Age of Indianapolis started with one trishaw, and has since been able to add a second. With the excitement and rapid growth, the all-volunteer team had to shift their focus to recruiting new volunteers and training them to pilot the trishaws.
“We now consistently have two pilots for most of our regularly scheduled rides” says Deborah Gardner, President of Cycling Without Age of Indianapolis. When asked what surprised her the most about the positive reactions from the community, Deborah had this to say:
“I’m surprised by how many people ask if they are too old to pilot. If you can ride a bike and are active, you can pilot! The oldest pilot so far has been 90. The oldest passenger currently is 107. “
As the movement continues to gain momentum, and as new volunteers are trained to pilot the customized trishaws, there is a good chance you’ll meet our residents reliving some of their favorite memories as they laugh and ride through a neighborhood near you.
For more information on Senior Living at American Senior Communities, please visit ASCCare.com.