Bike for three helps wind clock back

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RICHARD MAYS

A re-eval­u­a­tion of what it means to be re­tired has ar­rived at Palmer­ston North’s Olive Tree Vil­lage.

It’s a bi­cy­cle built for three that al­lows el­derly peo­ple to get out for a bike ride and feel the wind in their hair, even if mo­bil­ity is an is­sue.

Hel­mets are not re­quired be­cause, tech­ni­cally, a bi­cy­cle built for three is not a bike - it’s a tri-shaw.

With three wheels and a cosy shel­tered bench seat for two up front, the third rider of this ped­alas­sisted ma­chine gets to, quite lit­er­ally, be the back-seat driver, pro­pel­ling the two pas­sen­gers along.

Pedal-as­sist means the tr­ishaw has a recharge­able elec­tric mo­tor, good for 30 kilo­me­tres or so, to help with hills, head winds and the weight of three peo­ple.

Cy­cling With­out Age, a global con­cept started in Den­mark four years ago is now in 27 coun­tries and is in the process of be­ing in­tro­duced to New Zealand by Arvida Re­tire­ment Care.

Cy­cling With­out Age co­founder Dorthe Ped­er­sen came from Den­mark to launch Cy­cling With­out Age in Arvida’s New Zealand re­tire­ment com­mu­ni­ties. Ped­er­sen said the bike re­lied on vol­un­teer ‘‘pilots’’ to pedal res­i­dents around.

‘‘The whole pur­pose is to pro­vide ac­cess to places that peo­ple en­joy.’’

The Es­planade was a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion with Olive Tree res­i­dents who turned out for the of­fi­cial launch.

Ped­er­sen said Cy­cling With­out Age fos­tered the idea of ‘‘neigh­bour­ship’’ and helped cre- ate ‘‘new wit­nesses to our life sto­ries’’.

‘‘We don’t want peo­ple stored away. We want your sto­ries and ex­pe­ri­ence and wis­dom to be passed on to younger gen­er­a­tions, and to be shared.’’

Ped­er­sen said the bike had made a real dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives - in­clud­ing the 20 Danes in a care fa­cil­ity who rode them 300 kilo­me­tres over five days to a vil­lage in Nor­way.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant that it’s a slow ride,’’ Ped­er­sen said.

‘‘The ride is re­ally about re­la­tion­ships... about en­gag­ing with one another and com­mu­ni­cat­ing. It’s re­defin­ing what it is to be older.’’

Olive Tree’s Robyn Bal­lard said the aim now was to pull to­gether a good team of vol­un­teer pilots.

Olive Tree res­i­dents Betsy Bruere and He­len Holter­man with Dorthe Ped­er­sen from Cy­cling With­out Age, and pilot Mike Walker peep­ing over the top, pre­pare to take the new tribike for a whirl.

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