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‘Cycling Without Age’ Will Launch Wednesday in West Hartford

An couple enjoys a rickshaw ride. Courtesy photo

The worldwide cycling movement to benefit the elderly will kick off with several activities in West Hartford on Aug. 26.

An couple enjoys a rickshaw ride. Courtesy photo

An couple enjoys a rickshaw ride. Courtesy photo

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford resident Lene Bruun said in June that she hoped to have the first rickshaw delivered by the end of the summer so that Cycling Without Age could begin operation in West Hartford, and her wish has come true.

The program’s first rickshaw arrived in mid August and on Wednesday morning, Bike West Hartford and Hughes Health & Rehabilitation will co-host a ribbon-cutting that will include an unveiling and inaugural ride.

With the launch of the program, West Hartford and Hughes Health & Rehabilitation will become the first location in Connecticut and one of only three location in the United States to offer Cycling Without Age.

“Nursing homes have reported numerous benefits of Cycling Without Age,” Bruun said. The positive benefits have included getting residents talking again and reduced aggression in dementia patients.

“Blind residents explained to volunteers that the rickshaw ride build their senses, including smelling the flowers, listening to the birds, and feeling the wind in their hair,” Bruun said in a news release.

Bruun said that she has been testing out the rickshaw since it arrived. “It is a great experience; the rickshaw even climbs the hills on Stoner Drive,” Bruun said.

Cycling Without Age founder Ole Kassow and his CWA partner Dorthe Pedersen have come all the way from Denmark to attend the program launch which in addition to the ribbon-cutting will include a “Slow Roll” and a fundraiser on Wednesday afternoon. Kassow will personally lead the “slow roll” from the Elizabeth Park entrance on Prospect Avenue to Kingswood Oxford School.

The roll is open to the public and snacks will be available at Kingswood Oxford along with information about the Cycling Without Age program including how to become a pilot. A fundraiser will follow from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on the Senior Green (170 Kingswood Rd.) at Kingswood Oxford.

Kassow, who founded Cycling Without Age in Denmark in 2012, didn’t start off with the intent of founding an international non-profit organization. As he explains in his TEDx Talk, Kasssow’s plan started with a 97-year-old man, the idea that the elderly might miss cycling, and a rented rickshaw.

For more information, visit www.cyclingwithoutage.org and/or www.bikewesthartford.org.

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