Cycling Without Age helps elderly get out of nursing homes, onto bikes

Published: Nov. 14, 2017 at 8:26 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2017 at 2:13 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As our loved ones get older, keeping them active is sometimes the best medicine. A new program on keeping seniors active is rolling out in the Greater Richmond area.

Thelma Radcliff and Adele Hines can't remember the last time they rode a bike.

"Long time," said Radcliff with a laugh.

They may be past their peddling prime, but a new program called Cycling Without Age is giving them another chance to experience the simple joys outside their assisted living facility, Saint Francis Home.

In a soft blanket cutting the chill of a cool fall breeze, Thelma and Adele found the laughter of their youth.

"Enjoy the show. Feel the wind in your hair. A little sun on your face and be outside," said Dr. Travis Shaw on their bike ride.

"It's great. You know, it's you know, really nice," said Hines about the ride.

Cycling Without Age, a new global initiative, was started in Denmark and has spread to countries all over the world.

"What we're doing is trying to get folks who might be in a nursing home or long-term care facilities, who have lost things like their mobility or have lost friends and family, and get them outside and enjoy the freedom that cycling can bring," said Dr. Shaw.

He launched the program this fall after buying one of the bikes.

"It's really interesting. It's very ingenious. The power system is within this hub right here," says Shaw.

It's called a tri-shaw. He's visiting nursing homes across Richmond and giving rides to people folks who don't easily get around.

"I think it's just a really special experience. I know I've enjoyed doing it so much, and the smiles that I see on the residents' face when they get to do this is really just been absolutely fantastic," said Shaw.

Kay Brown went for a spin with a dear friend Isabelle.

"That was the last ride she had taken, and that's the last smile I had seen," said Brown.

Isabelle passed away a few days later. She shared with us the last photo of ever taken of Isabelle. It's cherished by Isabelle's family, It shows a smiling, sunny day, outside.

"I think the older generation has so many great stories to share, and those are getting lost. So, I just enjoy hearing them talk about different things makes some jokes and laughter," said Shaw.

Shaw's trips are so popular that he cannot keep up with demand.

"For a lot of these people, they have lost the ability to get outside maybe they haven't had a bike ride in 50, 60, 70 years," said Shaw.

He needs more volunteers to give these rides, and he is trying to raise money to buy more tri-shaws.

"The sun in your face. The wind in your hair. I think really is just one of things that enlightens the human spirit," said Shaw.

Shaw started a nonprofit and is hoping to expand his program to more nursing homes. He is also looking for a few cyclists willing to donate a few hours of their time to spread some good company and joy.

Click here if you would like to help the nonprofit raise money.

Click here to email Dr. Shaw if you would like to donate your time.

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