“I saw a tiny, three-line-article about the Cycling Without Age initiative from Denmark in The Irish Times. I was already promoting another cycle route around Dublin bay from Sutton to Sandycove. When I read about Cycling Without Age, I thought it would be an amazing way to link the two ideas. We could bring elderly people down to the seafront in these special rickshaws and they could be integrated back into society in a completely new way, by training volunteers, nurses and relatives to be rickshaw pilots. The cycle route hasn’t happened yet but we decided that we wanted to be the HUB for Ireland so we ordered a rickshaw from Denmark and started to promote it. I will never forget taking an elderly man out for the first time. He just loved the idea and we had to take him several times. At one stage, while we were riding through the park, he got a phone call from his son, he picked it up, and his son asked: “Hi Dad, how are you doing?” he replied with a huge grin on his face: ‘I’m great, son! I’m cycling in the park!’ He was 85 and had bad knees. He couldn’t even walk, but there he was, cycling in the park and talking to his son on the phone. There was another elderly man, he arrived here in a minibus with his carer. He was non-verbal and in a wheelchair. We helped him into the rickshaw and we went for a ride in the nearby park. A minute or two later the carer turned back to me surprised and said: ‘Look at his body language! He is completely relaxed and smiling! I have never seen this man smiling before…’ I have so many of these stories I could tell you. Cycling Without Age is a no-brainer. It works! And we are very happy to give people back the right to feeling the wind in their hair!”
Clara and Charles from Cycling Without Age won a place on the Academy for Social Entrepreneurs in 2017. The Academy supports people with early-stage ideas for social impact, providing mentorship and support to bring your idea to life. €350,000 in funding and support available. Don’t let a good idea go to waste! Find out more HERE!