Specially adapted trishaw bikes funded by Watford Borough Council hit the town centre last week, with elderly residents taking a tour around this year’s wonderful Christmas lights display.
The rickshaw-style device which comfortably seats two people, connects those no longer able to ride for themselves with their community and the outdoors, by giving them free rides from volunteers at Watford Cycle Hub.
The tour, which included passengers from Tremona Care Home and the Watford FC CSE Trust’s Golden Memories programme, was enjoyed by all, as they travelled from the illuminating LED lights in trees and on lampposts up and down the High Street to the giant twinkly LED Christmas tree beside the pond.
The ‘Cycling Without Age’ initiative helps to increase physical activity and emotional wellbeing with both the passengers and cyclists alike and local resident Marjorie commented: “Cycling Without Age brings the amazing feeling of riding a bicycle to those who are not able to pedal on their own, I loved every minute of the ride.”
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “Everyone knows someone elderly and everyone can appreciate how isolating old age can become, regardless of the current pandemic situation.
“The time spent with the volunteers on the Trishaw is a wonderful opportunity for participants to enjoy wind in their hair, the ability to connect with nature, and the chance to share their stories.
“It is fantastic witnessing the joy of the elderly and volunteers on the trishaws and I am sure that many local residents will really enjoy these rides.”
Kate Jenkins from Watford Cycle Hub said: “The act of two passengers sharing a trishaw, along with the volunteer pilots, creates new relationships and friendships, which has proven to be one of the most valuable aspects of this project.
“Elderly people are brought back into community life, stories are shared, and health and wellbeing improves for everyone involved.”
The project – funded by Hertfordshire County Council and Watford Borough Council – is an expansion of the very successful ‘Lets Ride’ free led and guided rides for all, which the council currently runs in Watford through partnerships with British Cycling and Watford Cycle Hub.
Its aim is to get more people – more active, more often, through cycling – encouraging riding groups and offering cycling courses for adults and children.
If you would like to book a free ride or fancy becoming a volunteer cyclist on the electrical pedal-assisted trishaws, please contact – Nick at Watford Cycle Hub via email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.