Even though it was parked for the pandemic in 2020, the Greater Vernon-based Cycling Without Age program continues to impress.
The Rotary Club of Vernon presented program co-founder Lauren Lypchuk with $1,000 for the program which gives rides to seniors and shut-ins on three-wheeled bicycles called tri-shaws.
The Community Foundation of North Okanagan chipped in $500 to assist with insurance and liability coverage through the Schubert Centre.
“These donations have been very important to our program to help ensure we stay afloat even though we are not running this summer due to COVID -19 pandemic,” said Lypchuk who, along with husband and program co-founder Ward Strong, launched the program in June 2019.
The object of the program is to give seniors and less able-bodied people free bike rides around the city and on the Okanagan Rail Trail courtesy of pecially trained volunteer ‘pilots.’
Cycling Without Age became an immediate hit. More than 50 people volunteered to be pilots, and there were no shortages of passengers as Lypchuk and Strong introduced the program to 12 seniors residences and the public who could sign up for rides at the Schubert Centre.
Grants and donations allowed the pair to purchase a second tri-shaw for 2020, but couldn’t get the program running because of COVID.
“It was a very difficult decision not to operate this year,” said Lypchuk, a doctor by trade. “Especially for the people who need it the most. It was a difficult decision, but it was the right decision.
“We plan to be up and running when safe to do so – hopefully for the 2021 season.”