Volunteers looking to establish Cycling Without Age in Parkes

COMING SOON: To introduce the trishaw to the Parkes Shire, BIKEast from Sydney is bringing one to town next week and providing demonstrations. Photo: Submitted
COMING SOON: To introduce the trishaw to the Parkes Shire, BIKEast from Sydney is bringing one to town next week and providing demonstrations. Photo: Submitted

A lack of mobility will no longer be an obstacle to getting on a bike for Parkes' elderly community or anyone else after a volunteer group has formed to bring a trishaw to the shire.

A trishaw is a light three-wheeled vehicle with pedals, a type of tricycle designed to carry passengers.

A community committee has formed to raise the finances to purchase a trishaw which will be used to take the residents from local aged care and residential homes on a leisurely ride and, as committee representative Peter Guppy put it, "to get some wind in their hair".

The committee is joining the Cycling Without Age (CWA) movement, a worldwide not-for-profit organisation which originated in Denmark in 2012 that connects people who are no longer able to ride themselves with their community and the outdoors by giving them free rides on trishaws piloted by volunteer cyclists.

The program promotes inclusion and positive interaction between aged residents and community members and their environment.

A trishaw costs in the vicinity of $20,000, with an estimated $5000 per year for ongoing maintenance costs.

"It is a 100 per cent volunteer organisation that takes the elderly and less-abled citizens out for free bike rides," Peter said.

"This program has grown rapidly throughout the world and is now represented in 37 countries with more than 1100 chapter locations.

"The elderly often experience a loss of mobility leading to social isolation, loneliness and depression.

"Cycling Without Age provides the elderly and less-abled with an opportunity to remain an active part of society and to experience life beyond the confines of their residence or nursing home.

"The idea of Cycling Without Age is simple and the effects are profound."

Peter said establishing and launching the Parkes chapter of Cycling Without Age is an exciting and multi-step endeavor, and is ongoing.

In the meantime, to introduce the trishaw to the Parkes community, BIKEast from Sydney who have several of these trishaws they take to the villages in the eastern suburbs, is bringing one to town next week.

On Friday, April 9 the trishaw will make an appearance in Clarinda Street between 9am and 11am before visiting Parkes' three aged care villages, where volunteers will take some of the residents out for their first ride until about 4pm.

Peter said any relatives who'd like to see their loved ones enjoy a ride or would like to learn to ride the trishaw are more than welcome to come along.

On Saturday, April 10 BIKEast representatives will be in PAC Park from 10am instructing future riders of the trishaw.

There will also be another main street demonstration that morning until 10am.

There are plans for the trishaw to visit neighbouring towns of Forbes and Cowra - on Sunday the Forbes Rotary Club will host a visit from 10am at the Jemalong Residential Village, and a main street demonstration will take place in Cowra on Monday, April 12 from 10am-2pm.

Peter would love to see a trishaw in every town.

"Our dream is to build the service by adding other trishaws to the fleet and offering the program across our region," he said.

"We look forward to signing up lots of pilots knocking out plenty of kilometres around our little community."


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