Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, Oct. 20


 

Team of the Month

Posted Oct. 11

Posted Sept. 21

Posted July 20

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

 

(Posted 8 a.m., July 8)
Innovative program allows seniors to get out and about
By Fred Sherwin
OrleansOnline.ca

Residents at Queenswood Villa enjoy a ride on a bike provided by the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre and the Cycling Without Age program. Photo provided

The folks who run the Queenswood Villa retirement residence have come up with a fun and unique activity that gets residents out and about while enjoying plenty of fresh air and reliving some of their fondest memories.

The Villa has teamed up with the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre and Cycling Without Age Ottawa to provide residents with a twice-weekly cycling experience using a rickshaw-style bike that’s equipped with a canopy, disc breaks and an electric motor to assist the driver, or pilot as they are referred to, get up hills.

The bikes are configured so that up to two residents can ride up front, while the pilot pedals from behind.

The program is the brainchild of Cycling Without Age Ottawa founder Gary Bradshaw who first saw the bikes in action during a visit to Copenhagen in 2015. After returning from Denmark, he approached the Village Bruyére about purchasing a bike for their residents and he would provide the training.

“It is a senior type activity that is all volunteer. The volunteers take their time, riding slowly, and they build relationships with the people they take out,” says Bradshaw in explaining the attraction of the Cycling Without Age.

The program was a huge success from day one and shortly afterwards he took the idea to the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre which bought a bike of its own.

Once again he trained the volunteers as pilots and the agency started offering rides as part of their day program which is operated out of their satellite office beside Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School on Tenth Line Road.

Claudia Brunet is a summer student who has been assigned the task of promoting the Cycling Without Age program in the local community. One of her first calls was to Queenswood Villa sales consultant and activity director Victoria Newark who was immediately sold on the program.

“For our residents at Queenswood Villa, it’s perfect,” says Newark. “Especially the ones with limited mobility. They are able to go out for a trip around the neighbourhood and feel the wind in their hair. It’s marvelous.”

Villa residents can go out for a bike ride once every two weeks. The first outing was held on June 3, and from all reports it was huge success.

“Everyone came back with a big smile on their face. They really enjoyed it,” says Newark, who plans to approach her bosses at Revera Retirement Living about purchasing a bike of their own that could be used at all of the Revera properties in Ottawa.

The Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre also plans to purchase a trailer so they take the bike directly to their clients. The EORC currently has 10 volunteers trained as pilots.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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