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Happiness is a ride in a trishaw

Ian Froude pedalling as Kevin Boerman enjoys some fresh air as part of the Greytown Lions Club Cycling Without Age project. PHOTO/JESSICA MORRIS

JESSICA MORRIS

The power of push bikes and fresh air is helping to get rest home residents outside and into the Wairarapa sunshine.

The Greytown Lions club has been developing a new project, offering residents rides on a purpose-built trishaw through Greytown.

The trishaw, a bike which allows volunteers to pedal passengers who may otherwise be unable to get out into their community, has been out and about on Greytown streets on a trial for the past three months, but will soon have to be sent back to Wellington.

Lions club member Kevin Boerman says the response from passengers had been phenomenal.

“It’s glee, that’s probably the word that describes it. It brings out the seven-year-old in a 77-year-old.”

After a glowing response from the Greytown community, the Lions are hoping to get their hands on their own trishaw to carry on with the programme when the trial trishaw is returned in the next few weeks.

With $11,000 raised, and a $17,000 price tag for a trishaw, they’re now reaching out to the community to help them hit their target.

Boerman knows more than most the joys of getting out and enjoying the fresh air on your face.

An ex-surveyor from Alaska, Boerman is now battling Parkinson’s Disease, but that hasn’t stopped his love of the outdoors, which he’s now hoping to share with others.

“The trishaw gives them access to community, and they can dream a little, enjoy the scenery a little, identify trees as they’re passing them by.

“It’s just such an opportunity for us to serve the community, that’s what the Lions club motto is, we serve. That’s what it’s all about.”

Fellow Lions member and volunteer trishaw pilot Ian Froude is also helping to drive the project forward, and he says they’re thrilled with the response.

“We really didn’t know how it was going to go, whether they’d be ultra-cautious at rest homes, but in fact the reverse has been the case – they’re just dead keen to get people outside the four walls. We’ve been quite staggered.

“One of the things we find is you go through the town and people are waving and stopping and talking to you. They’re out there, they’re part of the community instead of being stuck away at home.”

While the trishaw is only used to take rest home residents out for trips, the club have their eyes set on an electric bike which they hope will enable them to expand their rest homes to include home visits.

The project was inspired by an initiative started in Denmark back in 2012, ‘Cycling Without Age’.

“They realised that a lot of people in rest homes and other facilities weren’t able to get out much,” Froude said.

“They designed this type of machine and got people out and about, air on their faces and able to mix in with the town.”

Lions Greytown’s project is the first independent ‘Cycling Without Age’ chapter in the country, with their electric trishaw set to arrive in October.

People interested in contributing to the project can find their donation page by searching for ‘Greytown Lions Cycling’ on the ‘Givealittle’ website, or volunteer to join the project as trishaw pilots.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This has been a terrific addition to our range of activities we have for residents at Arbor House. Such is the enthusiasm we have queues forming for the trishaw. Our residents enjoy the feel of the outdoors, and can only endorse the comments in this article.

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