Richmond retirement village residents get back in the saddle
Eighty-seven-year-old Norma Best said she felt like royalty being driven around on a trishaw at her rest home in Richmond.
Best was one of the residents at Oakwoods Retirement Village who got to catch a ride on the new two-seated three-wheeled vehicle.
The village bought a trishaw as part of the Cycling Without Age programme, which aims to get elderly or disabled people back onto a bike and out in their community.
The trishaw is a bike with a two-seats at the front. A community volunteer is positioned behind the passengers. There is also a motor to provide a boost on steeper terrain.
Oakwoods resident Beryl White, 96, said she was very excited about the ride in the trishaw.
"This is just lovely."
White's neighbour Jill Holland, 76, said she would love to go for a ride in Isel Park.
She said the ride around the village was fun and the best part was feeling the fresh air on her face.
Cycling Without Age co-founder Dorthe Pedersen said the idea was to provide bike rides for the elderly to specific places they'd like to go to such as the beach or a park or just a ride around the area.
Pedersen said the not-for-profit organisation had the ambition to have one billion people around the world "enjoy the wind in their hair".
"It sort of builds the bridge between the community and the [retirement] village [and] it builds bridges between generations.
"And the community realising this village is also part of us and vice-versa."
The organisation was originally founded in Denmark in 2012 by Ole Kassow who wanted to help elderly people get back on their bicycles and found a solution in the trishaw.
Since then, the concept has been rolled out to 27 countries around the world, including Argentina, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Arvida Group, which runs Oakwoods and several other retirement villages across the country, has bought eight trishaws for care facilities in Christchurch, Waikanae, Palmerston North, Blenheim, Rotorua and Auckland.
Arvida general manager marketing and sales Tristan Saunders said the bikes cost just over $10,000 each.
They had trialled the first trishaw in November last year in villages around the country including at Oakwoods, he said.
Saunders said Arvida was trying to challenge the way aging was treated at their retirement villages and thought the idea of bike rides was a great one.
"Why shouldn't you be able to get back on a bike and feel the wind in your hair?"
He said community volunteers were needed to bike the residents around the area.
Anyone who would like to volunteer can send Saunders an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.