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Pedalling partnership allows seniors to hit the open road

Cycling Without Age and Gosling Creek residents

A global cycling movement aimed at giving aged care residents the chance to enjoy cycling in the outdoors and meet new people has launched at Bolton Clarke’s Gosling Creek aged care in Orange, with residents Judith and John being amongst the first residents to ride.

Cycling Without Age started in Denmark to help older people get out and about while combating loneliness and promoting social connection - providing opportunities to interact with local communities, feel the wind in their hair and have some outdoor fun.

Australian-first research from the Bolton Clarke Research Institute published in 2022 showed the program helps boost wellbeing for residents and address symptoms of depression and dementia.

Local cycling enthusiasts the Orange Treadlies have been the force behind bringing the program to the region and providing the pedal power.

Thirty volunteers take turns manning the purpose-built rickshaw style electric ‘trishaw’ bike to give residents the chance to enjoy the scenic views around the Gosling Creek reserve.

Gosling Creek resident Judith Saint, who is vision impaired, enjoyed her maiden voyage saying the ride brought back fond memories of her younger years.

“I just sat back and enjoyed being outside; hearing the birds and feeling the wind in my face. It was all very nice,” she said.

“My vision didn’t play a part or stop me at all, which was a nice change. Going on the ride made me feel like I was back doing and experiencing things I haven’t for a very long time.

“From my memories and the verbal cues from the lovely volunteers, I could even tell where we were and imagine the route we took.”

The same can be said for resident John Oldroyd, who has dementia and used to cycle for pleasure himself. His wife Narelle says he had a smile on his face the whole ride.

“He enjoyed it, there’s no doubt about it. He was happily chatting to the volunteer the whole time and what was even better was it was something we could enjoy together,” she said.

“He even remembered how to put his own helmet on. I take my hat off to the people who started it, it’s a lovely initiative.”

Residents at Gosling Creek are very keen to take their turn, with 30 people already signed up to the waitlist, and extra sessions in the calendar to meet demand.  

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