Firstly, tell us about your personal involvement in walking and cycling.
I walked everywhere growing up. Living in York, it is so easy to walk to most places. I grew up cycling everywhere but didn’t then cycle for years. I remember watching the Tour De Yorkshire and thinking it seemed really cool – and someone I was working with was selling a road bike, so I bought it from him and it was the best thing I ever did! Cycling keeps me healthy and fits into my life really well. Cycling has helped me lose weight, get fitter and it’s also great for mental health.
How did you get involved in ‘Cycling Without Age Rides’?
I think that we should take responsibility for the older people in our community – there is a quality of life that they should have. I think that we should be positive about aging! I heard about ‘Cycling Without Age’ when it was first launched in York by York Bike Belles. I was one of the first volunteers that took Trixie out and it was fantastic – I had such a good time.
What inspired you to volunteer as a Pedaller?
I love meeting new people – it has been great meeting both Pedaller’s and passengers. I hope that something like this will be available to me when I’m older too.
How do the Care Home residents respond to the rides on Trixie?
Initially a number of the residents took persuading – they were a little worried about the idea of going out on Trixie, however after going out on a ride they absolutely loved it – the difference from before and after was huge – they wanted to go again! The first few residents that went out on Trixie inspired other nervous residents to go on a ride. Even in the cold winter months, residents have still been keen to go on rides. Trixie is so well received by the York community when she is out on rides – people always wave and want to chat.
How would you like to see ‘Cycling Without Age’ progress?
When people see Trixie out, it is seen as a spectacle – it’s unusual. This is good, of course, however I want it to get to a point where it is just normal to see rides like this. I want the experience to be available to more people. Older people deserve a good quality of life.
Why do you think cycling is important for York?
Cycling is a huge part of York culture – I remember living in York when I was younger, in the eighties, and there would be times when you could hardly get down the street because it was so full of cyclists! I feel that we are falling out of love with the car now. Cycling is important for York from a sustainability point of view – York just can’t take any more cars.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Invest in ‘Cycling Without Age’! Not everyone wants to or can be a Pedaller of course but as a project it should be easier for it to exist. It gets older people back out into the community in a sensible, enjoyable way. We need to do more for our older citizens than just maintenance. For example, when my parents get older, I want them to be able to go out on ‘Trixie 3’! This fits into the wider philosophical idea that older people should have a good quality of life – we are all going to be old at some point, so if you don’t invest in this now you won’t receive the benefits when you are older. The door is already open, just more support and funding is needed.