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New Toronto program aims to get elderly people outside, in rickshaws

Group looks to purchase the first rickshaw by March and help local seniors enjoy the cycling experience

Rickshaws are a common sight in Singapore.


Rickshaws are a common sight in Singapore.

A global movement getting elderly people on bikes is rolling its way into Toronto.

Cycling Without Age was started four years ago in Denmark but has quickly spread to countries such as Norway, Germany, Sweden, UK, Australia, USA and Chile. Now a group of cycling enthusiasts wants to bring the movement to Toronto.

“Cycling is really becoming part of Toronto’s everyday culture. There’s no reason to leave our elderly population behind,” said Dorothea Torrico, a year-round cyclist.

The original idea was built following a simple observation: Many seniors spend so much time just sitting down, a number of them experiencing mobility issues, she said.

“It would be just great to take them out on designated paths or ravines or around the beach, in an active way,” she said.

The movement allows young volunteers to sign up and use rickshaw bikes to pedal seniors around, giving them a chance to “enjoy the fresh air and the community,” said Torrico.

Toronto is now looking to purchase the first rickshaw, a $9,000 specially designed bike made in Denmark, which could be here in March. Then Torrico and her group will start giving demos on how to operate it and recruit volunteers to help offer seniors free rides.

“It’s based on community relationships more than just riding a bike,” she said, adding the rides help seniors improve their mental health and wellbeing.  

“We hope volunteers and seniors get to connect through storytelling as they ride along.”

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