Graeme recently paid a visit to the Carnoustie Chapter of Cycling Without Age Scotland, to highlight the distinctive program offering older individuals and those with limited mobility to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of our community.
The origins of Cycling Without Age trace back to Ole Kassow’s encounter with an elderly man sitting alone on a bench in Copenhagen, Denmark. He wanted to offer elderly people an opportunity to get out of their nursing homes and experience the freedom and exhilaration of cycling. Volunteer cyclists, known as pilots, would pilot trishaws to facilitate these rides, enabling the elderly to engage with their surroundings and enjoy meaningful social interactions.
The movement has since expanded to over fifty countries worldwide, including Scotland, establishing partnerships with various organizations, governments, and institutions. In 2016, the Communities Along the Carron Association (CACTA) in Falkirk introduced Cycling Without Age to Scotland. Recognising its impact, the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Fund granted CACTA £10,000 to explore the feasibility and benefits of the initiative within Scotland.
After a promising trial initiative in Falkirk, the Scottish Government extended its support by endowing £300,000 to launch the Cycling Without Age endeavour on a nation-wide scale. The paramount intention was to enhance the lives of vulnerable and disabled individuals by allowing them to enjoy nature through pioneering trishaw excursions.
The project serves as a beacon of hope in a society where elderly individuals often face isolation. Cycling Without Age embraces the concept of “slow-cycling,” where leisurely rides allow passengers to appreciate the scenery and engage with pilots. These rides, such as those offered by the Carnoustie Chapter, provide an opportunity for elderly individuals to reconnect with their city’s history through dynamic conversations with the pilots, fostering new connections and friendships. The initiative revitalises the lives of the elderly, as stories find eager ears and hearts, ultimately improving the collective well-being of all participants.
Supported by the Scottish Government, the sole country within Cycling Without Age’s global network to secure government funding for a comprehensive nationwide expansion and bolstered by the support of over fifty other organisations and individuals, Cycling Without Age Scotland has flourished significantly.
Today, Cycling Without Age continues to grow, with new chapters being established regularly and more communities embracing the concept.