… so that everyone can enjoy the freedom of a bike ride!
**UPDATE MARCH 2021
We are recruiting a paid part-time Coordinator to help us restart our Cycling Without Age Rides this year.
Are you passionate about cycling and improving the quality of life and wellbeing of York’s elder community? Do you have experience building relationships with a wide range of people? Are you self-motivated, with excellent communication, organisation and IT skills? If so, this new role could be for you!
Find out more about the opportunity here**
What do Cycling Without Age Rides mean to our passengers
Rides Research Report 2021
NEW for March 2021 is a Research Report from Emily Tupper, PhD researcher, who was a volunteer Pedaller on the programme. Emily pedalled, 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)
Stories from the passengers
We’ve recorded some great stories and interviews with Cycling Without Age passengers since the Rides started in late 2018. Have a read!
Story from a relative of a passenger
And we received a lovely message from Mary, daughter of passenger, Gwenda, recently:
“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 are happening in York at the moment? (March 2021)
Since March 2020, the Rides have been on hold because of the pandemic leading to care homes closing to visitors. We have been working with six care communities in York – Gale Farm Court in Acomb, The Lodge in Heslington, Glen Lodge in Heworth, Lamel Beeches in Fishergate, Hartrigg Oaks in New Earswick and the Chocolate Works Care Village in South Bank.
Since late 2018, 156 residents from these communities have enjoyed 510 Rides, pedalled by 35 volunteer Pedallers. We had set up an ongoing programme of 20 regular Rides a month at the start of 2020. They were greatly valued by all involved, and we will be restarting the Rides as soon as it is safe to do so.
June, Secretary of the Residents Association at Gale Farm Court, recently 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”.
We now have a wonderful team of 20 volunteer Pedallers who offer Rides to passengers from these care communities in “Trixie”, the electric rickshaw. You can meet the Pedaller team below. They are currently waiting patiently in the wings until our care communities open to visitors and we are in a position safely start the Rides again.
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 bike with a passenger cab for two out front, community Pedallers offer free, comfortable rides to older, less mobile folk who may not get out as often as they’d like. All ride together on fun, cycling excursions into the countryside and around the city.
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 2020.
We follow the Cycling Without Age original and wonderful principles of active citizenship, bringing generations closer, generosity 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!
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, 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, please do consider a donation. You can donate at http://www.givey.com/yorkbikebelles.
And here are some of the brilliant Pedallers!
Pictured above are our most recently-trained volunteers; meet some of them below.
Susie Braithwaite (seated in Trixie, right)
I’m active and mostly retired and love cycling and the freedom that it gives, alongside walking, gardening, cooking and eating as well as my family of seven grown up children and one grandchild! I am out most weeks on bikes in the stunning Yorkshire countryside. I love to share rides with our passengers and talk as much as they want about just about anything!
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.
Neil Braithwaite (centre front row)
I’m now semi-retired and work with a number of organisations in the housing and charitable sectors as a Chairman and Board director. This means a lot of time spent in London and on trains. So I am keen to be out, about and active in York, especially if this means I can cycle and share the fun with others who find it difficult to get out.
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.
Robin Hart (back row, right)
I’m a keen cyclist and have completed quite a few long distance cycles. I am keen to get people who used to like the fresh air, but maybe now find it difficult or a bit scary, back out there again.
Libbie Bulmer (front row, right)
I started cycling around five years ago as a way to regain both fitness and confidence after a period of illness. It soon became so much more than that though, and I began to cycle for pleasure, often incorporating it with café stops to satisfy my tea and cake obsession! I’ll often meet people whilst out and about on my bike, at cafés or on group rides and we’ll swap stories and our passion for cycling; the cycling community is such an inclusive one, one which has benefited me enormously over the years, physically and mentally. I’m always trying to persuade friends to get involved with cycling and being a pedaller is such a wonderful opportunity to share the experience and benefits of being out and about on a bike with people who may not always get the opportunity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.