Ride On Relaunches Cycling Without Age
We’re delighted to announce that we’re relaunching our Cycling Without Age project!
It all began when Ole Kassow noticed an old man sitting on a bench watching the cyclists go past. Ole had the thought that if he got hold of a cycle rickshaw he could offer to take him out for a ride. Thorkild is now 97 years old and has been enjoying his rickshaw rides for a couple of years. This YouTube video shows him getting the wind in his hair once more.
The idea has really taken off and there are now more than three hundred rickshaws in Denmark and Norway being propelled by over two thousand volunteers. In eighteen countries around the world people are now joining in and setting up similar schemes in their own towns and cities.
Here in Exeter, two of our Ride On volunteers went to Copenhagen in February in 2015 to meet Ole Kassow and find out how the project runs. This short clip shows them getting the hang of things. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiibTG_OIJc
With each Rickshaw costing over £4,000 each the project was kickstarted due to incredible fundraising by John Woolner. He rode his penny farthing from Lands End to John O’Groats in support of the project, and with a further grants from Exeter Council the first Trike was bought.
To help us run more rides we are looking for more volunteers to get involved to help lead rides – thanks to a grant from The Barchester Foundation we have just ordered our second Rickshaw so we can extend the project. Full training is provided and times are flexible. For more information, please email [email protected]
Ride On helps Ellie reach Paris dream
The aim of Ride On is to get more people on affordable bikes, whilst offering education and training to keep them on the move. Ride On customer Ellie Russell’s experience is a great example of what happens when we achieve this goal.
Ellie tells the story:
I first came across Ride On whilst living in Exeter at the start of 2017. My mum had just given me her old Condor which had been lying in the shed for many a year, looking a little worse for wear. I went for a quick service at Saddles and Paddles where I asked if they wouldn’t mind me coming in for some work experience some time – to learn more about servicing my own bike and being able to fix things on my own. Vince, who was carrying out the service, suggested I visit Ride On where they have BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) sessions every Wednesday.
I started to get used to riding with drop handlebars, foot cages and down tube gear shifters on my Mum’s old bike and soon fell in love with the way the bike rode. However, a couple of months later after getting a little too confident I had a crash and ended up bending the handlebars in the process. It was time for me to make use of the BYOB sessions and sort out my less than functioning bike.
I finally made it to one of the BYOB sessions where I was overwhelmed with how helpful everyone was. All the volunteers had so much experience and knowledge but were also great at letting me work on my bike myself and learning through doing.
It was clear that my bike needed a lot of work. Not only did the handlebars need changing, but quite a few other parts too. I had just agreed with friends to do a cycle from London to Paris, so I was determined to get the bike adventure ready.
I started coming to Ride On for the BYOB sessions once a week and gradually reassembled the bike to some sort of former glory! I always felt very at-ease in the space surrounded by people who were genuinely interested in getting more people riding and learning about bikes. There was always a great atmosphere in the workshop, teas all round and everyone mucking in to help each other out.
All the volunteers helped me source spare parts and Vince even built a set of wheels for me which are still going strong. There was so much support from everyone before my trip to Paris – advice on packing, what tools to take etc, and I was confident that the bike would make it through. After being told by the volunteers that I had a great touring bike with a good range of gears I was very excited to head off and felt that I knew enough to be able to solve on the spot problems that might occur.
During my trip from London to Paris my bike rode like a dream! I had no problems, not even a puncture. The Condor handled the terrain and hills well and I was able to keep up with friends who had more modern bikes (who had thought I wouldn’t make it out of London on my rusty looking frame!). I was able to help others on the trip with fixing punctures and little adjustments. Going to the workshops also meant I knew exactly what tools I would need for the trip so I could pack only what I needed – keeping my carrying weight as low as possible.
Unfortunately, I moved away from Exeter and was no longer was able to attend the sessions or help out and become a volunteer. However, going to the workshops and meeting everyone at Ride On was so great. It gave me more confidence when riding as I understood more about the workings of my old Condor and I loved spending time in the workshop down by the quay. Making an old bike that had been redundant and left in a shed into something I rode daily and didn’t want to leave my sight was also very satisfying.
Getting more people riding bikes and understanding how to fix them is such a lovely goal and Ride On is a really special and inclusive space to learn and meet kind people willing to give up their time and knowledge. An added bonus was that the workshop was open until 8.00pm allowing me to get there straight after work and do some tinkering.
Although my ride to Paris was a while ago now, I have more rides planned with a dream of cycling around Europe one day. My next big ride is the Trans Kernow, a cycle around Cornwall over a few days. Ride On has genuinely helped renew my love of cycling and bike maintenance.
I am now working part time at Temple Cycles in London – an independent company building their bikes in Bristol. It’s great to be around bikes and learning more from others who are dedicated to getting more people enjoying the great outdoors on their bicycles.