Curated Story
Ole Kassow
Source: Ashoka

The Right To Relate: Cycling Without Age

This article originally appeared on Forbes

In 2012, Ole Kassow started giving free trishaw rides to elderly residents of a nearby nursing home. Today, over 1.5 million people have taken a ride with members of Ole’s global Cycling Without Age network. It turns out that slowing down, taking in the scenery, and enjoying light conversation creates relationships that break isolation and loneliness. Ashoka asked Ole how he looks at connections and relationships in the midst of a pandemic.

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Ashoka insight

Essentially, the problem that we're addressing is social isolation and loneliness associated with old age. We have five principles. First is generosity—I’ve been fascinated by generosity my entire life. My dad was in a wheelchair and I saw how much people communicate through generosity, their willingness to reach out.

People connect by telling stories, sharing, listening—this kind of interpersonal communication is also a principle. Third is relationships. We should think of relationships as a basic human right—they are fundamentally important to our well-being.

The fourth principle is slowness. When you slow down you become aware of things, marvel at things, and you discover a goodness you wouldn't otherwise discover. Finally, “without age.” Of course, it's part of our name, but it also means that we don't want any discrimination of any kind.