An initiative to help older people get out and about is launching in Bo’ness.
Cycling Without Age offers free rides for pensioners (and those with mobility restrictions) on trishaws – specially adapted bikes, with double front passenger seats.
The scheme was originally launched in Denmark and is now rolling out across Scotland.
Supporters say the initiative allows housebound seniors to get the “wind in their hair” and enjoy fun cycles around local paths, chatting to volunteer cyclists or “pilots” who ride the trishaws.
A public meeting is being organised in St Mary’s Church, Bo’ness, to promote the local roll-out and encourage people to take part. It takes place next Thursday, February 20, from 6 p.m.
Christine Bell, from Cycling Without Age Scotland SCIO, will be the guest speaker. The charity is supporting the launch of services across the country, backed by funding from the Scottish Government.
Maria Ford from the networking group Bo’net, has been helping to organise the local meeting.
She said: “We’re really excited about bringing Cycling Without Age to Bo’ness.
“It can bring a new lease of life to elderly people who might struggle to walk along local paths, or get out and about.
“Thanks to funding from the Rediscovering Antonine Wall project – backed by the National Lottery – we’ve already purchased one trishaw, and are in the process of fundraising for a second one. These special bikes (which allow passenger access from a wheelchair or hoist) help people discover Roman areas like Kinneil Estate and the wonderful foreshore of Bo’ness.
“We’re now keen to hear from people wanting to use the service, or volunteer help as cyclists or organisers, or even fundraise for us. If you’re interested, please come along to our meeting.
“You can also get in touch, and find out more, by visiting ‘Cycling Without Age Bo’ness’ on Facebook.”
St. Mary’s Church in Bo’ness is the location for the meeting on February 20.
Cycling Without Age was started in 2012 by Ole Kassow and Dorthe Pedersen. Ole wanted to help older people get back on their bicycles, but had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer to use trishaws.
Ole initially offered free trishaw trips to local nursing home residents. He then grew the scheme into Cycling Without Age with the help of co-founder, Dorthe. There are now local groups – or “chapters” – in 47 countries around the world.
Christine Bell, the executive officer of Cycling Without Age Scotland, says the initiative is based on principles of “generosity and kindness”. It starts with the obvious generous act of taking one or two elderly or less-abled people out on a bike ride. It’s a simple act that everyone can do.
“We encourage participants – passengers and cyclists – to make time to talk and tell stories and build relationships. Elderly people have so many stories that will be forgotten about if we don’t reach out and listen to them,” said Christine.
“Most importantly it’s about helping people enjoy their lives – and interacting with their communities – whatever their age.
“It’s great to see this roll-out in Bo’ness and I hope local people will support it.”
To find out more about the local project, visit www.fb.com/cyclingwithoutageboness
If you can’t make the meeting, you can also email: email@example.com
CYCLING WITHOUT AGE SCOTLAND
The Communities Along The Carron Association (CATCA) launched the first Scottish “chapter” of Cycling Without Age in the Falkirk area in 2016. Due to the huge success of CATCA’s trial project, it secured the full support of the Scottish Government to roll the project out around the whole country and create Cycling Without Age Scotland SCIO. This group holds the international licence agreement from Cycling Without Age International.
Anyone interesting in setting up their own local group can email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cycling Without Age Scotland on 01324 467272.
REDISCOVERING THE ANTONINE WALL
Rediscovering the Antonine Wall is a project which aims to bring the Scottish frontier of the Roman Empire back to life. The three year, £2.1 million project is supported by £980,000 from the National Lottery.
A number of activities are taking place across sites linked to the Wall, which ran from Bo’ness to Old Kilpatrick. Get updates on the official Antonine Wall website – www.antoninewall.org or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/antoninewall
- Maria Ford, Bo’net/Cycling Without Age Bo’ness – 01506 510629
- Christine Bell, Cycling Without Age Scotland – 01324 467272
- Adrian Mahoney, The PR Store, 01506 823714 or 07967 150560