Skip to content

Putting the wind back in seniors' hair

A chapter of Cycling Without Aging is on its way of becoming a reality in the City of Cold Lake. Submitted photo.

COLD LAKE – A local organization is hoping to introduce a new activity to Cold Lake seniors.

Sandra Evans, in partnership with the group Age Friendly Cold Lake, has launched a Cycling Without Age (CWA) branch in the city.

“The premise behind it is to help alleviate isolation that the seniors experience, or even people that have mobility issues. They get isolated and it turns into an emotional, psychological, and physical disease,” Evans explained.

Originally launched in Denmark in 2012, CWA is an initiative that takes the elderly and those with physical limitations out for free rides in trishaws. There are chapters set up across the world, including in Alberta. Communities already involved in the program in the province include Edmonton, Calgary, High River, Canmore, and Camrose.

The electric bike typically allows two passengers in two front seats and the pilot, or driver, can either cycle or turn it on to go.

“The whole premise behind the bike is that you’re only allowed to go a certain speed and that’s so people can approach the senior using the bike as a tool because of curiosity,” Evans said, adding the pilots are volunteers who must complete training before they’re able to participate.

Evans' daughter first introduced her to the program, but she didn’t look into it further until recently working at one of the local seniors' homes with a woman who was formerly a rancher.

“Now, all of a sudden she finds herself in a wheelchair. She can’t get around and her independence is limited. I used to pretend I was doing barrel races with her in her wheelchair, and one day I decided that we’d go for a walk,” she recalled. “It was really hard for her because her wheelchair didn’t have footrests. She was exhausted by the end of two blocks and it was hard to push her.”

When Evans approached Age Friendly Cold Lake, board chair Diane Stonehocker knew it would be great fit for their group and the community.

“One of the main issues senior citizens everywhere face is isolation,” she continued. “CWA will give them the opportunity to come out into the fresh air. Our summers are so short around here, we have beautiful trails and places in Cold Lake where we can cycle people around and have a good opportunity to hang out with them and put them in the fresh air.”

The next hurdle CWA will face is fundraising for the trishaws. Each costs roughly $7,000, and Evans is hoping to have three.

With planning for the Cold Lake chapter of CWA underway, Evans is hoping to have everything she needs in place by this summer.

“I would really love to be able to have it in the Canada Day Parade with two seniors in the trishaws,” she exclaimed.

Evans already has aspirations of expanding into Bonnyville. She’s planning to reach out to the Bonnyville Seniors' Drop-In Centre or the Bonnylodge for possible storage and partnerships, but won’t be deterred if there’s no interest.

“One way or another, I’m going to get it into Bonnyville because I can’t do one without the other.”

Evans' hope is the initiative will make a positive impact on even just one senior who takes a ride.

“I thought that would be so cool to be able to get our seniors out into the community, they get to experience the fresh air, nature, the wind in their hair because a lot of times, some of these seniors, that’s all they had was a bike. That was their first mode of transportation. To give that back to them, because everyone deserves the right to have the wind in their hair.”

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks