Age Friendly Cold Lake (AFCL) has a new service to offer to area seniors—piloted bike rides.
The organization received their trishaw—a three-wheeled variant on a rickshaw—several weeks ago,
and it was assembled and calibrated at Mach 1 Sports in Cold Lake.
Four volunteer pilots have been trained to operate the vehicles, which use pedal power and a small electric motor.
AFCL is looking for more volunteers.
The trishaws are the creation of international movement called Cycling Without Age.
“It started in Copenhagen back in 2012,” said Sandi Evans, who spearheaded the project for AFCL. “It’s really geared to the senior community or to individuals that have mobility issues and can’t get out into the fresh air and socialize.”
The trishaw creates opportunities for conversations between the passengers. Even better, Evans said, it allows the pilot to participate.
“It’s a win-win because a pilot gets to enjoy that interaction with the passengers as well,” she said.
Evans says that because of the trishaw’s electric motor, volunteers don’t have to be super-fit. But if someone wants to be helpful while getting a workout, the pedal-power option provides the pilot with excellent exercise.
There are strict limits to the travelling speed for safety reasons and for ease of conversation.
AFCL will offer recreational rides or transportation on local errands using the trishaw. The vehicles can carry two passengers in addition to the pilot, allowing them to enjoy the experience of a bike ride and the breeze in their hair.
“What better way to alleviate isolation?” Evans said.
The program will focus on routes in Cold Lake North for the time being. Evans said there’s a lot of logistics involved in acquiring and assembling vehicles, finding and training volunteer pilots, and establishing safe routes.
Ultimately, she said, AFCL would like to operate a trishaw in Cold Lake North and one in Cold Lake South. Future expansion is also possible depending on the success of the current programs, she said.