A child’s best friend can be their first two-wheeled bicycle. It becomes their most trusted transportation and many a child finds their pursuit of happiness while riding their bike. It gets them away from home and chores; it gives them an escape from life.
A child can hop on a bike and gain instant confidence and elation as the wind blows through their hair. For a short time, they have complete control. Biking where they want and pretending to be the fastest vehicle on wheels as they pass cars while cruising the neighborhood sidewalks. While on that bike, a child can fantasize about being their favorite superhero and rescuing good from evil. They can escape dogs, jump sidewalk bumps and speed as fast as their legs will take them. It’s that feeling of escape and lack of responsibility that we yearn for as we grow older.
In 2012, Ole Kassow started a European organization called Cycling Without Age. His goal was to help the elderly get mobile. He started by offering free bike rides on a rickshaw vehicle to local nursing home residents – then the movement caught on spreading to more countries, including America. Watch the 15-minute video; it is time well worth spent.
Locally, Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh is the first long-term care organization in America to obtain a license and implement the program. Residents can sign up and cruise the city by trained Cycling Without Age pilots. The program simply creates joy for residents. It gives them an escape from their troubles, pains and/or depression and exposes them to fresh air, sunshine, rosy cheeks and sites that bring back memories. Riding that rickshaw gives them mobility and allows them to be the superhero once again as the wind blows through their hair.
"We are proud to have launched this amazing program in Oshkosh, Wisconsin”, reinforces Bonnie Behnke, director of development for Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh, Inc. “There are smiles all around, pilots, elders, staff, family, bystanders, every time you come in contact with a rickshaw! We love creating joy in our elders lives!"
Thank you to the trained pilots, the Oshkosh Police Department and Caramel Crisp & Café for opening your doors to this program and serving the weary travelers their favorite beverage in Sunset Hill Stoneware mugs. You’re helping others live their life – for the rickshaw pilots, you're taking a priceless journey.
Keeping watch. Pat