Do you remember your very first bicycle? The exhilarating feeling of gliding effortlessly toward some new excitement, the feeling of the wind in your hair and the rush of air past your face? The feeling of freedom that you experienced on that bicycle? At Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience that thrill, regardless of their mobility level. This is why we are excited to announce that we will soon be introducing a new program on our campus: Cycling Without Age.
Cycling Without Age is an international program that started in Denmark in 2012 with the idea that “everyone has a right to wind in their hair.” Through the use of front-passenger, rickshaw-style bicycles called “trishaws,” Cycling Without Age ensures that everyone is able to enjoy the feeling of riding a bicycle. By pairing volunteer bike riders, or “pilots,” with seniors eager to get back on a bike, Cycling Without Age provides incredible opportunities to form cross-generation bonds, enjoy the benefits of nature and just generally have a good time.
Cycling Without Age has received significant international coverage since its Danish debut. Through viral social media campaigns, news coverage and word of mouth, the program has spread to more than 40 countries worldwide. Chicago Scots President, Gus Noble noted “Scotland is the world’s first country to adopt Cycling Without Age as a Government supported national initiative, so it makes perfect sense for the Chicago Scots, the first nonprofit in Illinois, to launch Cycling Without Age’s first chapter in Illinois.” Caledonia Senior Living is the principal charity of the Chicago Scots, which was established in 1845.
On May 9th, 2019, we will be launching our Cycling Without Age program on our forested five-acre campus in North Riverside, Illinois. Our two new trishaws will be christened at the event with inaugural rides piloted by the generous donors who provided them –Walgreens Boots Alliance’s Scottish born Chief Operating Officer, Alex Gourlay, and Bob Crawford, founder and former Chairman of Brook Furniture Rental.
As part of our Cycling Without Age initiative, we hope to partner with local high schools to recruit pilots for the program, increasing our community bonds and encouraging friendships across the generations. Ours is also one of the few Cycling Without Age programs that will attempt to capture data surrounding quality of life before and after participation in the program – to do this, we will be partnering with the Center for Gerontology at Concordia University.
At Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care, we believe deeply in our commitment to ensuring that everyone who lives here has access to top-quality programs on our beautiful campus, as well as opportunities to form social connections across the generations and experience the best possible quality of life. This is why we are thrilled to be the first aging services campus in Illinois to offer the Cycling Without Age program. Former Caledonia administrator Jim Boyle has donated his time to spearhead the chapter on our campus. He says: “Caledonia Senior Living creates a space for residents to feel valued and loved. With this new initiative, we hope we can bring even more joy to the seniors who feel limited by their mobility and will once again enjoy the pleasure of biking outdoors.”
We invite you to join us for the kickoff on May 9th at 9 a.m. on our campus at 2800 Des Plaines Ave. in North Riverside, to mark the beginning of this exciting new program.