Mildred Lewis (front) enjoys a spin around Polson Park for her 100th birthday, courtesy of Cycling Without Age pilot Jim Wind, in 2019. The highly popular program rolled out again on June 13, following a two-year pandemic break. (Morning Star file photo)

Mildred Lewis (front) enjoys a spin around Polson Park for her 100th birthday, courtesy of Cycling Without Age pilot Jim Wind, in 2019. The highly popular program rolled out again on June 13, following a two-year pandemic break. (Morning Star file photo)

Vernon Cycling Without Age program back with second bike

Popular program for seniors who are given rides on specialized bicycles back after two-year break

Do Lauren Lypchuk a favour, please.

When you see the co-founder of the immensely popular Cycling Without Age program piloting a bike with a pair of passengers herself, or one of her trained pilots taking seniors for a casual bike ride around Vernon, smile.

“We hope everyone will still wave when we go past them,” said Lypchuk as the program she founded in 2019 with her husband and fellow pilot, Ward Strong, returned to the local roadways and trails on June 13, following a two-year pandemic postponement.

Cycling Without Age is where volunteer pilots guide a specially made bicycle, called a trishaw, complete with two-person carriage in front, around the city for seniors and less-abled bodies to enjoy a free bike ride.

Rides are two hours in duration, strictly for the pure joy of being outside on a bike.

The passengers sit in a carriage up front (which holds two people), complete with seatbelts. If the weather turns bad, the bike is equipped with a waterproof, quilted blanket, complete with sewn-in hand muffs, and there is a fold-up canopy.

Since the COVID hiatus, the program has added a second bike, a Van Raam Chat luxury carriage, complete with shock absorbers.

Lypchuk works with 10 seniors residences on the program and they are thrilled to have the bikes coming back.

“Each of them is so excited,” she said.

Lypchuk and Strong have retrained 22 volunteers, back from 2019, and another 15 new volunteers have been put through the paces. The program runs seven days a week.

The activities directors at the residences will sign up people for rides but if there are people in the public interested, they can put their names in at the Schubert Centre. One of the program’s volunteers will contact them with an application.

The program continues to follow COVID protocol, thoroughly cleaning the bikes, and all volunteers and participants must be fully vaccinated.

“We have some riders in their 90s, some in their 60s so for public safety for the 10 residences, we are adhering to the COVID rules,” said Lypchuk. “There are people in the residences with chronic illnesses.”

READ MORE: WATCH: Vernon ready to wheel out special cycling program

READ MORE: Cycling Without Age launches in Greater Vernon


@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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