The Right to Relate: Cycling Without Age

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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

Now is a time when people can feel the value of empathy. It’s easier for all of us to understand feeling isolated or vulnerable. I've seen volunteers visit homebound elders and speak, even sing, to them through the window, just to let them know they are not forgotten, not alone, and that after the pandemic we will go riding again. In Portugal, in both Lisbon and Porto, we have fantastic chapters where volunteers have organized the fleet of trishaws into a shopping and delivery service for groceries and medications.

I have also been experimenting with something, just filming the view from a trishaw ride, without passengers. One volunteer pedals, the other films from the seat, just with an iPhone. You can watch online as if you are riding along. So, it keeps the relationships going and it keeps the spirit, hope, and sense of shared adventures going.