The first Australian Chapter of a Danish movement designed to help older people feel the wind in their hair again was launched today by the Danish Ambassador, thanks to a $20,000 Community Grant from IRT Foundation.
Over 100 people attended the launch of the Canberra Chapter of Cycling Without Age with His Excellency, Mr Tom Nørring at bike-friendly Belconnen in Canberra, where two purpose-built 'trishaw' bikes will kick-start the movement in Australia.
"IRT Foundation is thrilled to support Pedal Power ACT and Cycling Without Age to bring this active ageing movement to Australia," said IRT Foundation Manager, Toby Dawson.
"Cycling Without Age enables older people to feel the wind in their hair again, while providing an enriching experience for both the pilot and passengers through slow cycling, storytelling and friendship."
Mr Dawson said that Pedal Power ACT will mobilise its 7000 members and students from the nearby University of Canberra to recruit and train pilots for the trishaw bikes, which will be maintained by the IRT Kangara Waters Men's Shed.
The bikes will be stationed at IRT Kangara Waters seniors' Lifestyle & Care Community, which will manage a program of regular rides for older members of the community. Cycling Without Age hopes to secure funding support for a third bike at Kangara Waters and to expects to expand the movement to Sydney and Melbourne.
"There are now 200 Cycling Without Age chapters with over 1000 trishaws and 6000 pilots worldwide," said Mr Dawson.
"IRT Foundation is supporting the movement to expand into Australia because it's aligned with our mission to create age-friendly communities.
"We want older Australians to have opportunities to enjoy a better quality of life — to participate more fully in social and physical activities, paid employment and civic participation, and to have equal access to community facilities and amenities."
Mr Dawson said the success of the Canberra Cycling Without Age chapter would not be possible without the support of the ACT Minister for Transport Canberra and City Services, Meegan Fitzharris MLA and ACT Minister for Veterans and Seniors, Gordon Ramsay MLA.
"For the Cycling Without Age movement to really take off in Canberra we need more age-friendly paths for cycling and walking, and more support for active ageing in general," he said.
"We're thrilled that Minister Fitzharris and Minister Ramsay showed their support by attending today's launch event today with Ambassador Nørring, who I know is working hard to bring more Danish trishaws to Australia."
Regular Trishaw rides will commence at IRT Kangara Waters in December. "So when you see us riding on the path around Lake Ginninderra, give us a wave and say hello," said one of the pilots, Pedal Power ACT Vice President, Jeff Ibbotson.
30 November 2016