Pedal power has arrived at Baptistcare Gracehaven Residential Care in Rockingham, much to the delight of 93-year-old resident Annie Jones.
Mrs Jones was one of the first to put her hand up for a ride on the special Cycling Without Age (CWA) trishaw now visiting Baptistcare Gracehaven on Wednesday afternoons.
It’s part of a two year Baptistcare-sponsored program which has helped make CWA available to the Rockingham community.
“I loved it!”, Mrs Jones said. “It was nice to feel the wind in my hair. I’ll definitely have another turn next week, but I’ll be asking if we can ride faster!”
Like many of the residents who have enjoyed a spin around the neighbouring park with their own CWA ‘pilot’, Mrs Jones says the experience brings back happy memories of cycling as a youngster.
For others it’s a chance to ask questions about the mechanics of the bike, chat to dog-walkers out by the lake, wave back at children in the playground or simply laugh out loud while sounding the old-school horn.
Tim McGrath, CWA Treasurer and a volunteer trishaw pilot, said passengers enjoyed being the centre of attention as the three-wheeled bike took them out into their local community.
“There’s a phenomenon that happens; one we call the ‘royal wave’,” Mr McGrath said. “It seems being out on the bike prompts an unconscious desire to wave at people.
“The little kids in the playground wave back as the seniors go past on the bike. It’s wonderful to see such a nice interaction.”
An international movement represented in 42 countries, CWA believes nothing beats seeing the smiles of elderly passengers coming back from their first ride with the wind in their hair, rosy cheeks and lots of stories.
“But it’s not just about the bike ride,” Mr McGrath said. “It’s also about bringing people who are not normally visible, out into the community.
“It’s one of the things that drives us as CWA volunteers. Our passengers enjoy being out in the community, but also the community gets to see them.
“Because it’s such a fun thing, people are seeing seniors in a positive context.
“There’s always lots of smiles and waves. Very often we’ll stop the bike because people want to chat to our passengers,” Mr McGrath said.
Kim Jordan, Lifestyle Coordinator at Baptistcare Gracehaven, said the CWA rides were proving a popular addition to the weekly line-up of activities, with a growing list of trishaw fans among the residents.
“They love to get out on a bike – something they thought they would never do again – and they also get a change of environment,” Mrs Jordan said.
“They’re out enjoying the fresh air, following the cycle trails around the park. These are the little things that many of us take for granted, but that mean so much to our residents.”
One of the residents has made a block booking for a 15-minute ride every week with his wife.
“He doesn’t chat much, but his wife says that on the bike he doesn’t stop talking,” Mrs Jordan said.
Another resident is taking secateurs on her next ride because she wants to stop to pick a flower, and another wants to bring her grandchildren with her on the trishaw.
Baptistcare Gracehaven staff are always available to help residents get on and off the bike, making sure the trishaw adventures can be enjoyed by as many Baptistcare Gracehaven residents as possible.
For more information about Residential Care, please follow the link below or
contact us on 1300 660 640.