Volunteers Are Soothing Senior Loneliness, Giving Free Rides on ‘Couch Bikes’ Worldwide – Find One Near You

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In cities across the world, volunteers are taking the elderly and people with disabilities out for spins on special tricycles to enjoy the great outdoors.

It’s called Cycling Without Age, and the group is finally up and riding again in Scotland, following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions—and they are delighted to be reengaging their scientifically-proven method for enhancing well-being in seniors.

Cycling Without Age (CWA) began in Denmark in 2012, when two good-hearted people (including Ole Kassow of Copenhagen) wanted to help the local elderly and less-able individuals get back on their bicycles. They designed a ‘trishaw’ with a two-person bench at the front where passenger could sit and enjoy the view.

Now there are 2,700 chapters worldwide using well over 3,700 trishaws—and anyone can see the obvious benefits on the faces of people in the carriages.

The Scottish government immediately supported the nonprofit as it chartered its service in 2017. Today it’s available for free in almost every part of the country. 27 local authorities are participating in the project, which has already provided rides to 43,500 Scots—thanks to thousands of volunteer peddlers.

Passengers and pilots alike are back enjoying sea and mountain views in some of the most beautiful regions Scotland has to offer.

In an effort to quantify the value of CWA, the Ageing Lab at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh worked independently to measure the effects of a ride day versus a non-ride day on dozens of participants who had taken at least four rides. Asked to describe their mood, stress, and energy levels using a scientific scale, they showed a strong improvement on ride days.

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