Cycling without Age’s mission is to create a world in which the access to active citizenship creates happiness among our fellow citizens, regardless of age and ability, by providing them with an opportunity to remain an active part of society and the local community. The organisation does that by giving them the right to wind in their hair, the right to experience the city and nature close up from the trishaw and by giving them an opportunity to tell their story in the environment where they have lived their lives.
Cycling Without Age is working on making communities welcome for all, regardless of age and ability. In order to live long and happy lives, people need relationships. Unfortunately, our cities are not designed to meet this basic human need. One trishaw ride at the time, Cycling Without Age brings visibility and joy to all of those who are confined to their rooms, because of age, ability or stressful jobs. An average person in the western world today spends 15 minutes outside, that’s not enough. We need sun, wind, rain, companionship and adventure.
Cycling Without Age works with researchers to document the positive effects of trishaw rides for the mental and physical well-being of the pilots and passengers. One such example is the reduced risk of developing diabetes for pilots, and the positive impact the trishaw rides have on people who are diabetic. This research was done with Novo Nordisk and their initiative “Cities Changing Diabetes”. The research is shared within the community so all chapters can use the findings to get local support.
Cycling Without Age is dedicated to social inclusion of people regardless of age and ability. They signed the International Federation on Ageing’s pledge in respect of older Persons of Diverse Sexualities, Gender Identities, and Bodies (LGBTQI). The Global South is their main focus area in 2021 and 2022, because they want to include elders and people with disabilities, who live in countries where trishaws aren’t produced. That’s why they support and sustain the formation of chapters in Nigeria, Mali and Uruguay.
Cycling Without Age are activists and vocal on social media for more liveable cities and more cycling infrastructure. They welcome city planner delegations and ride with politicians in their trishaws with passengers to encourage them to prioritize cycling in their communities. They have visited the European Commission with other activists to highlight the need for ambitious policy in this field.
Technical details & Operations
One day in August, 10 years ago, Ole Kassow invited residents at the local nursing home out on a three wheel bike with a seat in front- a trishaw, because he loves meeting his neighbors and riding bikes. He didn’t know them yet, but they soon became friends and started enjoying weekly rides together. The idea quickly spread and is now represented in 2,700 locations on 6 continents. Every day, changemakers in all corners of the world go on a joyride with new friends, and sometimes they organize big adventures: long rides across their country, which for many means the holiday of a lifetime and a truly inclusive experience, regardless of age and ability.
Cycling without Age is a social movement, made up by a strong community that shares the guiding principles: generosity, slowness, without age, storytelling and relationships. They are operating as a holacracy which gives local ownership and a great variation in the way they ride.
The trishaws are all available through www.copenhagencycles.com, they’re all of high quality and made in a way that they’re easy to access. They passengers always sit in the front which makes sharing stories easier and it also makes them feel like the center of attention. People forget about their disability and remember who they used to be. They also have a great list of associated coffee shops, theaters and salons as “coffee friends”, those are places who offer a treat when the Cycling Without Age trishaw rolls by. That way the passengers get to see and taste what their community is up to, and it makes everybody feel connected, seen and valued.
Deployment & Impact
Cycling without Age is in more than 52 countries. The organisation is in hot and cold climates, hilly and flat, big and small cities, rich and poor communities. Rather than building a big organization, they support affiliates in setting up a locally driven chapter with support from their peers next door or on the other side of the world. The community has raised €25 mil. most of which is found and spent locally.