Cycling Without Age Rides

**UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2021

After a pandemic pause of 18 months, our Cycling Without Age Rides for care home residents across the city are back! Check out the relaunch of the Rides on BBC Radio York, the short video on Greatest Hits Music, or the lovely article that made the front page of the York Press.

If you are interested in Rides at your care home, independent living scheme or retirement community, please email Julie Kay, Rides Coordinator, at julie.yorkbikebelles@gmail.com.

We urgently need financial support to continue this extraordinary initiative in 2022. Donate here or express an interest in sponsoring the Rides by email to yorkbikebelles@gmail.com.**

What Cycling Without Age Rides mean to our passengers

We’ve recorded some great stories and interviews with Cycling Without Age passengers since the Rides started in late 2018. Have a read!
Kath enjoys rides to the park
Joyce’s freedom!
Barbara enjoys the lovely fresh air
You’re never too old for a bike ride! (York Press article)
An experience of a lifetime for Gwenda (from her daughter, Mary):
I would like to take this opportunity to thank York Bike Belles for providing my mother with an experience of a lifetime! Gwenda is a resident at The Chocolate Works Care Home and at 96 years old she joined me for a ride in a rickshaw!! She loved every minute of it and happily pointed out landmarks she is familiar with as we travelled in style through the city centre to The Minster and back!
My Mum has very little short term memory but she has retained her adventure in the rickshaw and she enjoys looking at the photographs, in fact she giggles about it!! It was super!

What Cycling Without Age Rides mean to our volunteers

Check out our new “Voices from the Bike” short video series from our volunteers here!
The Voice of Simon Watterson
The Voice of Steve Cinderby
The Voices of Joanne Abbott and Peter Huxford
Rides Research Report 2021
Emily Tupper, PhD researcher, was a volunteer Pedaller on the programme in 2018/19. Emily pedalled and interviewed passengers and volunteers over 8 months and 23 rides as part of her research. The report is original and thought-provoking. Have a read!
I do feel (as many of the passengers describe the Rides) that it is their freedom, that they relish and treasure it. I imagine what it must feel like to be inside all day and then glide off on a bike into the sunshine” (Emily’s Fieldnotes).

What Cycling Without Age Rides mean to our care communities

Libertee Hull, Wellbeing Coordinator at Chocolate Works Care Village, says: “The Rides are amazing. They give the residents the opportunity to get outside which, since the pandemic, is the most important thing. Our residents get mentally and physically stimulated on the bike which helps them keep healthy in general, and helps with all sorts of mental health.  We are all very keen and excited to have the Rides back.”
Tracey Brookes, Activities Coordinator at Hartrigg Oaks care home said: “I think the work you guys do for us is absolutely fantastic and we very much appreciate your time, energy and enthusiasm you give.
On behalf of all our residents, they would like to pass on their gratitude and thank each and every one of you who kindly take up your time to deliver such a great activity for them, and look forward to each time you return with Trixie. Many thanks again.”
June Murphy, Secretary of the Residents Association at Gale Farm Court, sent us a lovely letter in support of our funding applications. She said Following the recent pandemic, I feel … continuing the rides will have huge benefit to all aspects of health and renewed feeling of some kind of normality to those who participate.
Baz Larner, Activities Coordinator at Rowntree Lodge, also recently sent us a letter of support. He said: “I have discussed this with some of the residents and shown them pictures of the bikes and what it involves.The reaction was amazing and they cant wait to be able to take part and enjoy a ride in the fresh air.
After the hardship of lockdown this will be a absolute treat and so beneficial to each and everyone. To be able to have a family member alongside as well will be so thrilling for them all. It literally opens up a whole new world and we can only imagine the social and mental health benefits that they will all enjoy.”

What Cycling Without Age Rides are happening in York at the moment? (September 2021)

From September 2021, we are offering Rides to three of our existing care communities in York – The Lodge in Heslington, Hartrigg Oaks in New Earswick and the Chocolate Works Care Village in South Bank. Since late 2018, 156 residents from our existing communities have enjoyed 510 Rides, pedalled by 35 volunteer Pedallers. At the start of 2020, we had set up an ongoing programme of 20 regular Rides to 40 elder passengers a month until forced to stop by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are aiming to reach this level of Rides once again by early 2022.

We now have a wonderful team of 12 trained volunteer Pedallers who offer Rides to passengers from these care communities in “Trixie”, the electric rickshaw. You can meet the Pedaller team below.

Finally, a most sincere thank you to the staff at Cycle Heaven, where Trixie is stored, for their ongoing support.

What is Cycling Without Age – the international movement? 

Cycling Without Age is a simple but brilliant idea. With the help of a special electric-assist rickshaw bike, community Pedallers offer free, comfortable rides to York’s elder community. Everyone rides together, chats and has fun on cycling trips out into parks, green spaces and around the best city sights!

Cycling Without Age is an international movement that started in Copenhagen in 2012 and has now spread to 41 countries around the world. It has taken off in the UK over the last year, following the amazing video from a Scottish project, which understandably went viral.

We were delighted to be able to bring this to York and to be official affiliates of the movement, with help from local and national sponsors and funders. Thank you to Dan Croxen-John, CEO of AWA Digital, for his generous start-up sponsorship in 2018, to i-Travel York for initial funding in 2019 and to the Community Fund for funding a 6-month “Making Cycling Without Age Inclusive” project in 2019. This latter funding enabled us to both increase our volunteer capacity to meet community demand and to expand the Rides to care communities with Council-funded places in 2019/20. And funding from local donors the Feoffees of St Michael’s Spurriergate and Ruth Jennaway of local IT business Skiweb Ltd to restart the Rides after the pandemic in 2021.

We follow the Cycling Without Age original and wonderful principles of active citizenship, bringing generations closergenerosity and kindness, slowing down, telling and listening to stories, creating new relationships and the right to enjoy life on a bike and the wind in your hair, no matter how old you are. Look out for the international Cycling Without Age brand in our work!

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Everyone has a great time! Older folk enjoy getting out more, fresh air, contact with the natural world and interacting with community life and companionship. Community Pedallers enjoy the same and the company of older folk and their stories on the intergenerational Rides, and have great fun pedalling people around.

Cycling Without Age creates a world where we can tangibly grow happiness – with the simple act of connecting generations to each other, the outdoors and the local community, on a bicycle ride.

Finally, we rely on donations and grants to fund our activities, which are offered free of charge to York residents. If you are able to support us, you can donate here.

And here are some of the brilliant Pedallers!

Pictured above are our most recently-trained volunteers; meet some of them below.

Sarah Worthy (back row, left)

I recently moved to York and I was looking for something I could do to help the community. I saw the request for volunteer pedallers and knew straight away it was for me.

I feel society is too dependent on cars so anything I can do to help people have fun and get outdoors without relying on a car is great.

Dan Archer (back row, middle)

I have always been a keen cyclist. Bike Belles volunteering is a way for me to combine my love of bikes and cycling with the chance to meet people, have fun and give something to society. I am a retired psychoanalyst. Otherwise I play music in a band and have a lot of interests.

Jez Sygrove (second from right)

I’m a keen cyclist, primarily a ‘roadie’ but with occasional off-road rides. Having seen Trixie around my neighbourhood a few times and thinking it is such an excellent way to help some seniors get out and about, I decided to support this initiative by volunteering.

Peter Morris

Peter has cycled for many years and his trips include adventures into Europe but he remembers most cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats over the course of nine consecutive days. He has since followed this up by completing two versions of the famous and challenging Haute Route across The Alps and enjoyed pedalling Ireland from end to end following the Wild Atlantic Way. Peter is looking forward to sharing his enjoyment of cycling with you so that you too can feel the freedom this brings. A family man Peter is married with two children and whilst he hails from the north east he has successfully made his home and career in Yorkshire but nevertheless enjoys watching Newcastle United from time to time.

Nick Jones

I’ve led a chequered life, initially working for charities and various departments of local government, and from 2007 teaching Philosophy at the University of York. I retired in 2018, and now split my time between several voluntary projects and trying vainly to improve my saxophone, flute and clarinet playing. Cycling Without Age helps us all, passengers and pedallers, to get a breath of fresh air and combines three things I enjoy – cycling, exploring the city, and chatting to interesting people.

Simon Watterson

Hi I’m Simon.  I live in York but work across York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding as a Marketing and Communications Manager for Your Consortium – an organisation that groups charities and social enterprises together to deliver programmes in local communities.  I’m married to Amanda and I have a grown up daughter Rosie.  I want to be a pedaller because it sound like a great way to meet new people, get a bit more exercise and give a helping hand (or feet…) to a great idea.  I’ve got a bit of cycling experience but I’m looking forward to the challenge of navigating Trixie through York.

Peter Hodgson

Born and raised in North Yorkshire, I moved to London aged 18 to attend university followed by a career in event management. Returning to York in 2017, I now work part time doing events and run a guesthouse, welcoming guests from all over the world to our amazing city. I’m also actively involved in the local community and enjoy meeting people, having fun, whist hopefully making a difference.

Joanne Abbott 

I have lived in the York area most of my life, with time away to attend University in Hull and short periods of working in Derby and then London. I have worked in the Voluntary Sector in York for the last 21 years, the last 5 of those years were as Head of Finance for York CVS.

I love getting involved in all sports and particularly those outside in the fresh air. I enjoy playing tennis for the village tennis club, playing golf with my husband and friends, family skiing holidays with our 2 daughters and of course cycling around the country lanes near where I live.

When I read that the Cycling Without Age project was coming to York I jumped at the chance to volunteer. I wanted to be able to help to give people the chance to get out and about and enjoy the outdoors.