When it’s time for Ken “Tubby” Tubman to put the bicycle helmet on, he’s only reluctant because it means removing his favourite hat.
Once the 86-year-old is on the bench at the front seat of the trishaw, a three-wheel bike designed to pedal older adults, Tubby is reminded of how much fun cycling can be, especially if you’re seated next to a fellow guest.
The trishaw is similar to a pedicab, with a bench that seats two. It’s also electric assisted and has seat-belts.
“It’s neat, and if there’s a grouch [sitting with me], I can always control them,” Tubman said with a smile.
The goal of the ambitious new program, called Cycling Without Age, is to share the experience of cycling with older adults in Greater Victoria who might not otherwise get out on a bike. It was started in Copenhagen, Denmark by Ole Kassow and is now in 28 countries and six Canadian cities. Twenty-four-year-old University of Victoria student Carson Sage launched a Victoria chapter as part of his masters of kinesiology project with the help of Kristi Owens and Marleen Butchart.
“We’ll be the first chapter in B.C.,” Sage said. “Winnipeg just beat us to it [as No. 5 in Canada].”
Tubman, it should be noted, lives independently in his Moss Street home. He was linked up with Sage through the day program he attends at nearby Beckley Farm Lodge in James Bay, where he goes once a week to exercise and socialize.
“The bike is from Copenhagen, we fundraised through donations from family members [of Beckley Farm Lodge],” Sage said. “It’s for the residents and for the day program clients.
“We’ll keep the bike at Beckley Farm Lodge and we’re hoping when sons and daughters visit their parents, they can take them out for a ride.”
Right now, Cycling Without Age is looking to add more bikes, including at Broadmead Care home in Saanich, which is the parent operator of Beckley Farm Lodge. Cycling Without Age Victoria is also launching a fundraising campaign to bring a bike to Cook Street Village, and to eventually bring bikes to multiple assisted living and care homes in the region, Sage said.
“We are looking for volunteers, very soon, to come and offer rides,” Sage said.
For more information visit CyclingWithoutAge.ca.