Guest Blog; Cycling Without Age Brighton and Hove
24th July 2018
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Cycling Without Age Brighton and Hove
Our volunteer cycle pilots take local elder care homes residents out on cycle rides to feel the wind in their hair! Most rarely have the chance to enjoy an outdoor adventure otherwise. Our special ‘Trishaws’ (three-wheel cycles with a passenger cab up front) enable passengers to experience the city and nature close-up and chat with passers-by. Cycle pilots and passengers enjoy the physical and mental well-being benefits. We have a 50/50 split of male and female cycle pilots and the bikes have some electrical power assist. Our principles are generosity, slow cycling, storytelling, relationships and community. 75% of our passengers are living with dementia. Rides are comfortable, fun, fully insured and free to passengers.
There is a lack of resources for fun, interactive, community-based, physically beneficial outdoor activity for elders living in care homes. Most haven’t had the feeling of freedom and joy of being on a bicycle for many years. They’re relatively ‘hidden’, even though they live just around each corner from us all. Many will sit and/or nap much of the day and can suffer boredom, decline in health through lack of stimulation and depression. They rarely, if ever, get outside to enjoy the sea-air, nature and interaction with people where they live.
What makes it special and why it makes a difference?
It’s an extraordinary thing enabling 80-100-year olds to be on bikes. Our rides literally bring care home residents 'back into view'. People really notice and interact with them. The passenger cab is at the front and open, so people can be seen, chat and interact with smiles and waves on both sides. We take rides at various care homes throughout each week. These regular cycle trips make journeys the length of the seafront and around parks that they cannot reach by wheelchair or walking frame. Most cannot go out alone and have very limited mobility. Our volunteer cycle pilots are from all walks of life. They make each ride a fun, healthy, interactive experience for the elder passengers. All return buzzing from the wind in their hair! We see spirits lifted, people report feeling ‘awake again’, ‘better’, ‘alive’ and sleeping better after rides out. 'I feel back in the land of the living'. Violet, 95
Exemplary service and organisation. Friendly, approachable, caring pilots, who genuinely love what they do. Care home survey 2018
'Today was so unexpected, so wonderful, to be out like this. So many passers-by smiled and waved. I loved it!' Shirley 82 with Walter 86
Without exception the passengers come back completely exhilarated. They love seeing parts of the area they haven’t seen for years, as well as visiting local parks. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to mix with the wider community and makes them feel valued. Care home survey 2018
Your cycle passed me on the seafront today. As they passed one of the elderly passengers said: ‘This is wonderful, so wonderful. It made their day and mine. Well done! Theresa, via Facebook
I loved it, just loved it. So nice to talk with so many people and the children and even the dogs! It’s magic being on a bike outside with everyone! Reg 98 and Beryl, 90
I went to visit Mrs B in hospital. She's had a severe stroke and sadly will not be returning to the home. She didn't recognise us but was very happy and serene to have company. I mentioned the cycling and she said "Ah, do they still come on Monday morning. The best bit was everyone waving at us, I felt like I was famous!" How lovely! Her brain has been badly affected by the stroke, but she remembered that experience. Care Home Manager
For more info: http://cyclingwithoutage.org.uk/brighton/