There are things people have to give up as they reach their senior years, and for many, cycling is on that list.
So while it’s not the same as riding a bike themselves, Eaton Senior Communities residents Eileen Hurley and Theodora Rios were all …
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There are things people have to give up as they reach their senior years, and for many, cycling is on that list.So while it’s not the same as riding a bike themselves, Eaton Senior Communities residents Eileen Hurley and Theodora Rios were all smiles as they disembarked from one of Lakewood’s two new trishaw bikes on the morning of Oct. 10 outside of the Lakewood Cultural Center.“It was just wonderful,” Hurley said.“Well, it was a little cool,” Rios added with a laugh.The ride the pair received was part of a celebration of the official launch of Lakewood’s new Cycling Without Age program. Sponsored by the city and the Lakewood Bicycle Advisory Team, the program offers residents at Eaton, located at 333 S. Eaton St., a chance to go on rides on the trishaw bikes through the surrounding area.“This is an idea I came upon that was started in Copenhagen (Denmark),” explained Gary Harty, head of the advisory team. “It seemed like too good of an idea not to share.”A trishaw is similar to a rickshaw, but the seat for the passengers is in front of the “pilot,” and it features an electric assist for help going up hills and other situations where the pilot might need a little help.The trishaws are currently only officially made in Copenhagen, so Harty started raising money to purchase a bike back in February. David Smart, president and CEO of Eaton, got involved to help raise the necessary funds, with the help of donations.“We received more than 100 donations to make the program possible,” Smart said. “In today’s world, we see so many tragedies and disasters, that it’s so great to bring some good news.”Harty also encouraged the city to be a second bike — a purchase the city agreed to because of the enormous potential of the bikes, explained Peggy Boccard, recreation manager with the city.“We’re going to use the trishaw at some of our programs, so that should be a lot of fun,” she said. “This is one of those public-private partnerships people always talk about that can do so much for residents.”The pilots of the trishaws are volunteers, who have to complete some training on the vehicles to ensure they can operate them safely for everyone.“We had to learn about road safety rules and how to handle the bikes properly,” said Wendy Bristol, one of the six volunteers who have been taking seniors on rides for the past three weeks.So far volunteers have given about 20 rides to 33 residents, and the aim is to provide several rides a week to any who are interested, weather permitting.At the Cultural Center celebration of the new program, both Mayor Adam Paul and City Manager Kathy Hodgson spoke glowingly about the partnerships that brought the trishaws to the city, and the connections this will bring to residents.“The city is passionate about providing opportunities for our ageless residents, which is what makes Lakewood a perfect place for this program,” Paul said.Harty said he was inspired to help provide some fresh air and connection to residents who sometimes might feel closed off from the rest of the community.“My favorite part has been the stories of people have lived in Lakewood for years,” he said. “It’s just not an experience you’re going to have closed off in your car.”For riders like Hurley and Rios, the fun and friendship make a ride a not-to-be-missed event.“The pilots are so good and friendly,” Hurley said. And Rios agreed.“I think this is going to be a big thing, with more and more people interested in a ride.”
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