Spokes of joy

Trishaw bikes are being used to connect vulnerable communities across Perth.

City of Stirling has announced free rides at various locations across the city as part of a ‘Cycling Without Age‘ initiative.

Today kicked off the first ride for the month at Jackadder Lake Reserve. 

The non-for-profit are a global group offering activities to the elderly and people living with disabilities. 

Cycling Without Age program coordinator Karen O’Connor says it’s about giving people the opportunity to experience connection with others and their environment. 

“It lets people have fun and feel the wind in their hair,” she says.

Volunteers are excited to connect with more people in the community. Photo: Piper Duffy.

The rides are targeted towards groups at risk of feeling lonely as a result of isolation.

Clinical psychologist and Curtin University professor David Preece says loneliness is the next public health ‘epidemic’ of the 21st century. 

Dr Preece says those suffering high levels of loneliness have an increased risk factor of experiencing depression and anxiety. 

“It can have a real impact on someone physically and mentally; ranging from dementia to premature death,” he says.

It’s believed elderly people and those living with disabilities experience higher feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

A US study of people aged 50 to 80 found seven in 10 people who reported being lonely also had poor physical or mental health. 

Cycling Without Age wants to change these statistics.

“Covid showed the impacts of social isolation, so we need to imagine what it’s like for people experiencing that level of loneliness daily,” Dr Preece says.

City of Stirling funded a new bike named ‘Stirling’. Photo: Piper Duffy.

Cycling Without Age team captain Mike London says it’s clear the rides add a lot of value to people’s lives.

Mike London speaks on people’s experience. Audio: Piper Duffy.

“To see the positive impact you make on someones day is a reward in itself.”

Mike London

The Cycling Without Age runs every month in various locations across Perth.