Today Canberra became the first city in Australia to introduce a Danish program that aims to allow elderly and less-able people to enjoy the freedom of cycling.
Cycling Without Age was launched in Belconnen this morning by Danish Ambassador His Excellency Mr Tom Nørring, thanks to a $20,000 Community Grant to Pedal Power ACT from IRT Foundation.
“This kind of bike connects Australia and Denmark in a special way – Princess Mary has been seen riding one through the streets of Copenhagen with her children,” said Mr Nørring.
The Ambassador commended cycling to the ACT Minister for Health, Meegan Fitzharris MLA and ACT Minister for Veterans and Seniors, Gordon Ramsay MLA who attended the launch.
“Cycling is good for the environment. It’s also good for our health. For those politicians who are looking to save a little bit, please get more people on the bikes, because that means fewer people in the hospitals,” said Mr Nørring.
Minister Fitzharris suggested that corflutes may be the key to getting more people on bikes, saying that “At the next election we should start by banning [corflutes] from cycle paths, as an incentive for people to be cycling rather than driving.”
The Minister also asked Pedal Power to investigate whether the trishaws would require special arrangements for cycle paths, as they are larger than the average bike.
Cycling Without Age Co-founder, Ms Dorthe Pedersen, has come from Denmark to help introduce the program to Australia. “Cycling Without Age enables older people to feel the wind in their hair again,” said Ms Pedersen.
“Pedal Power ACT is proud to be involved in such an important initiative,” said Pedal Power ACT Vice President, Mr Jeff Ibbotson.
“Keeping all Canberrans moving and on their bikes is our goal, and we are pleased that Cycling Without Age will allow more people to ride more often.”
Pedal Power ACT will mobilise its volunteers, and the University of Canberra will launch an appeal to students to recruit and train pilots for the trishaw bikes.
“IRT Foundation is thrilled to support Pedal Power ACT and Cycling Without Age to bring this active ageing movement to Australia,” said IRT Foundation Manager, Toby Dawson.
“For the Cycling Without Age movement to really take off in Canberra we need more age-friendly paths for cycling and walking, and more support for active ageing in general,” said Mr Dawson.
We’ll be following the program and talking to participants from Kangara Waters and Pedal Power pilots in the coming months, and supporting the Danish Embassy in their efforts to get more trishaws to Australia.
Regular Trishaw rides will commence at IRT Kangara Waters in December.
Click the Cycling Without Age logo for more information on the program.