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Age not a factor for Sault’s newest pedaling initiative

Coming to the Sault next spring, Cycling Without Age will take seniors and residents with limited mobility for free rides on an electric pedal-assisted bike
Formed in 2012 by Ole Kassow, the international Cycling Without Age movement will begin its operations in Sault Ste. Marie next spring.

Workers with a local non-profit are gearing up for a venturous opportunity that would allow elderly residents and those with limited mobility to experience Sault Ste. Marie in an entirely new way.

Superior Staff it Inc. will be launching a local ‘Cycling Without Age’ chapter, an international movement that allows older citizens to explore the area from the passenger seat of a trishaw bike for free.

Designed in Denmark, the three-wheeled electrical pedal-assisted bike carries two passengers in the front while being controlled by a driver in the back.

Launching in the Sault next spring, Cycling Without Age community chair Kristy Delavalle told SooToday her team has been discussing the idea for several years and sensed the program could provide a lot of positives for riders and pilots alike.

“We’re trying to promote healthy aging and decrease social isolation for seniors,” she explains. “It’s also creating a lot of volunteering opportunities for people to get involved. We’re really excited to bring this here.”

Priced at around $20,000 per bike, Delavalle says her team is waiting to hear if they’ve qualified for government grants before they go ahead and purchase one. In the meantime, the group has been organizing several fundraisers to help offset the incoming costs.

“We recently hosted our annual golf classic at Silver Creek, which raised several thousand in funds for the bike,” she says. “We’re in the process of securing one so it’s operational in the spring.”

“We won’t know until the new year if we’ve qualified for the grants, but if we do receive one, then we’re hoping to get two bikes.”

While committee members are still in the planning stages of mapping out biking routes, Delavalle anticipates familiar local spots like the boardwalk and hub trail would be among the scenic destinations included in the program.

The Cycling Without Age team is also looking for volunteers to pilot the bikes next year, which the organizer says is a great opportunity for younger and older generations to connect.

“It bridges the intergenerational gaps between passengers and pilots and helps form relationships with people who have lived in our community for so long,” she explains. “If you’re coming from a long-term care home, and your pilot is a younger individual – then you get to swap stories and learn from each other.”

“We also offer the training for pilots, so they would never be thrown onto a bike. All pilots are insured as we have our own liability insurance as well. It really is a volunteering experience like no other in the Sault right now, and anyone who’s feeling up for it can do it.”

In addition to looking for pilots, the Sault’s Cycling Without Age chapter is also searching for committee members.

These members would participate in monthly meetings to strategize bicycle routes, create ride schedules, and organize community events and fundraising efforts among other tasks.

Locals interested in becoming a pilot, volunteer, or committee member can email Delavalle at [email protected].

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Alex Flood

About the Author: Alex Flood

Alex is a recent graduate from the College of Sports Media where he discovered his passion for reporting and broadcasting
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