Rest home residents get back on the bike


Rest home residents around New Zealand are about to find themselves more mobile than ever thanks to a Danish initiative aimed at getting them back on their bike.

Cycling Without Age sees volunteers guiding elderly residents around on purpose-built bikes to get them outdoors and active.

Faith and Hunter McGahey, both 81, don't remember the last time they were on a bike, but today they saddled up for a spin.

"The core is to get people who lack, maybe mobility or feel isolated in rest homes, back out on the streets and bike paths [to] reintegrate with their communities," says co-founder of Cycling Without Age Dorthe Pedersen.

"It's basically enabling them to live their dreams again."

The project, which started in Denmark three years ago, sees volunteers take elderly passengers on a rickshaw-style bike wherever they want to go.

Arvida Group, which operates 21 rest homes throughout New Zealand, decided to bring the initiative to New Zealand after seeing its success in 26 other countries.

"It's really about ensuring the residents can get a chance to get out of the retirement villages and aged care facilities, engage with the community, [and] see what's happening in the city," says Arvida Group general manager Virginia Bishop.

And there were no complaints from Park Lane Rest Home residents this afternoon who headed off for an afternoon of being cycled around the gardens of Mona Vale.

"It's just lovely you feel like a kid again with your hair blowing in the wind, being taken places I enjoyed," says Ms McGehay.

The only problem they might face now is a queue to ride the bikes.

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