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Editorial: Age-friendly pedal-power – a positive addition to any community

Left to Right: Rhonda Kendell (Trail resident), Maren Warming (Cycling Without Age Community Captain, from Copenhagen. Denmark), and Marilyn Nelson (CWA volunteer, Rossland)

Last Thursday, Rosslanders may have seen a pedal-powered “trishaw” demonstrating its ability to carry a couple of passengers at a time – and, with the help of the electric “pedal-assist” motor, make it all the way to the top of town.  Thanks to the volunteers who are powering this age-friendly initiative – it could have the power to influence the culture of our local communities in  a very positive way.

The trishaw is an initiative of Cycling Without Age – a movement started in 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  It’s intended to make travel by pedal-power more accessible to the elderly and to others with limited mobility. The trishaw would also be a great way for parents to transport young children around town.  

The electric assist is especially welcome on West Kootenay hills; relatively flattish Denmark doesn’t have hills like ours, though there is one notable street in Vejle, in southern Denmark, which climbs 200 feet with an average grade of over 16%, peaking in its steepest section at 25%.  Whew!  

Diana Daghofer commented that on Thursday's demo, “Quite a few people stopped to look at the trishaw and try it out – young, old, Dads with kids – the full spectrum!”  

The CWA trishaw provides a comfortable seat for passengers at the front of the bike, piloted by a rider on the seat behind.

Below: passengers Jane Hu and Gladys Turnbull with "pilot" Marilyn Nelson

The Cycling Without Age website (link above) explains in beautiful language the aims of the organization. The first section explains “Our Dream” as follows:  

“We dream of creating a world together, in which the access to active citizenship creates happiness among our fellow elderly citizens by providing them with an opportunity to remain an active part of society and the local community.

“We do that by giving them the right to wind in their hair, the right to experience the city and nature close up from the bicycle and by giving them an opportunity to tell their story in the environment where they have lived their lives.

“That way we build bridges between generations and we reinforce trust, respect and the social glue in our society.”

The next section lists five “Guiding Principles” with a brief rationale for each.  The second one particularly strikes me as worth considering by many pedal-powered people:

Slowness: Slowness allows you to sense the environment, be present in the moment and it allows people you meet along the way to be curious and gain knowledge about Cycling Without Age because you make time to stop and talk.”

Below: "Pilot" Diana Daghofer with City Councillor Andy Morel and Green Party Candidate Tara Howse

 

The City of Trail may have a trishaw sometime this year;  if so, it will be officially owned and managed by Columbia View Lodge.  The volunteers in Rossland who were responsible for bringing the trishaw here for people to try out aim to have one in Rossland, too, as soon as possible.  Now they’re working on fundraising, and are looking for volunteers.  Interested in becoming part of this growing initiative?  Please contact Diana Daghofer at diana@cyclingwithoutage.ca  or 250.362-5810. 

Below, left to right: City Councillor Scott Forsyth, Marilyn Nelson, and Libby Martin