Ethel Dickerson is 96 years old, walks with a cane and is colour blind but for a half an hour Wednesday she was a kid again.
With a smile from ear to ear she and her young friend Wally Windsor, 97, were tucked beneath a cozy, bright red blanket, and got to tour some of the downtown on a sunny, spring day in the passenger seat of a trishaw cycle.
The pair were among a number of Cherry Park Retirement residents who got to go for a ride courtesy of the Penticton chapter of Cycling Without Age.
“It was just fantastic because we’re both in our 90’s and instead of walking we were just able to ride, just like we were children again,” said Dickerson after they pulled back into the centre’s parking lot. “We heard about it just this morning so we immediately jumped at it. To me this is a wonderful thing. Wally had a good time and a good laugh.”
Added Windsor: “I’m still laughing.”
Dickerson’s advice: “We do encourage anyone, everyone to ride.”
Cycling Without Age is a global activity for seniors and the less able to get people outside
It was started seven years ago by Ole Kassow in Denmark who was in Penticton recently to promote his program which Neil Pritchard started locally last year.
“It’s an easy and simple solution to a big problem we have in our society today. There are so many people who are lonely, elderly people who are stuck indoors not able to go out and use their senses,” Kassow said during his stop here.
Michelle Coates, lifestyle consultant at Cherry Park, who was watching the centre’s residents on their ride this week had nothing but praise for the volunteers and what they bring to the centre.
“The thing is a lot of these residents don’t get a chance to get out a lot so a lot of them are housebound so for them to get out in the community and to get some fresh air see downtown go see the lake … It’s just a great thing, they have big smiles on their faces they’re channeling their inner youth,” she said.
Pritchard eventually hopes to have a fleet of at least three trishaws and has recently been training “pilots” to operate the three-wheel, electric-assist cycle.
For more information Pritchard can be reached at 604-803-6648 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Facebook: cyclingwithoutagepenticton.