WINCHESTER – The village’s Dundas Manor finds itself on the cusp of a revolutionary advancement in providing joy to its many residents.
And all it took was the addition of a bicycle.
Although, it’s no ordinary people mover.
The long-term care home is now the proud provider of bicycle rides with its new machine built for two or three.
It’s all part of the Cycling Without Age initiative, which launched in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2012 and today has spread across more than 30 countries worldwide.
Manor volunteer Diane Lee can be credited with sparking the local idea, having seen the trishaw (a spinoff of rickshaw) highlighted on television. Ottawa’s Bruyere Centre has a similar bike, and the city medical facility served as an inspiration for the village home.
The groundswell of support continued when the manor’s administration approved the $10,000 expenditure to bring a bike to Winchester. It arrived in a container from Denmark earlier this year, and since then staff has been training for use.
“We’re lucky to have a home so supportive and willing to invest in the joy of its residents,” Jen Hill, the manor’s activity director, said. “I say it continuously that we’re very lucky here to have that support and encouragement.”
The Cycling Without Age movement was launched by Ole Kassow, who wanted to help the elderly get back on their bicycles. His solution was the creation of the trishaw, and it was Kassow who helped get the bike to Dundas Manor.
To date, nearly 20 residents at the long-term care home have toured the village from the front seat of the bike, and the uptake has been astounding.
“The smiles is what I’ve noticed… that’s the biggest thing for me,” Hill said. “I can say I prescribe to the motto that ‘everyone should feel the wind in their hair.’”