Cycling Without Age pilot Ward Strong (rear) takes Chartwell Carrington Place Retirement Residence dwellers Betty Howard (front, left) and D. Gans for a spin around the Schubert Centre to officially launch the Cycling Without Age program in Vernon. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Cycling Without Age launches in Greater Vernon

Special program gives free bike rides to seniors and less able-bodied persons

Jane Treleaven can’t remember the last time she was on a bicycle.

Fellow Orchard Valley Retirement Residence neighbour Pauline MacKay’s last jaunt on a two-wheel bike was “40, 50, maybe 60 years ago.”

Yet there were the two seniors Monday morning at Vernon’s Schubert Centre for the launch of the Cycling Without Age program, beaming after a five-minute spin around the centre in the front-seat of a three-wheel tri-shaw, piloted by program co-founder Ward Strong.

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.

“It was wonderful. I would love to go on a longer ride,” said MacKay.

“This is such a wonderful idea,” said Treleaven. “Our fellow residents will enjoy it.”

Enjoying their ride around the centre, courtesy of Strong, were Chartwell Carrington Place Retirement Residence dwellers Betty Howard and D. Gans, with enormous smiles and waving to the crowd as if they were the Queen addressing her loyal subjects.

Taking the first ride were Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming and Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster.

Without question, Cycling Without Age has been a hit and the program is just getting started.

Strong and his wife, Lauren Lypchuk, began their quest to bring the program to the North Okanagan in 2018 when they applied for, and received, a grant from the Community Foundation of North Okanagan to purchase the specially made tri-shaw, built exclusively in Denmark, founding country of the program.

Since then, Lypchuk and Strong have assembled not only the bike, but a group of around 50 volunteer ‘pilots’ who will take seniors and less able-bodied people for bike rides around Greater Vernon.

The motto of the program is ‘The Right To Wind In Your Hair.’

RELATED: WATCH: Vernon ready to wheel out special cycling program

Lypchuk – who played the piano as guests assembled for Monday’s launch – isn’t surprised the program has drawn plenty of interest locally.

“The way it’s caught fire worldwide and across Canada (42 countries, including 20-to-25 cities in Canada),” I was expecting the same,” said Lypchuk. “A lot of footwork has been done, I’ve been working on this for the last year-and-a-half, and a lot of it is working with the community. Once things are organized, the program gets going.”

Lypchuk has presented the program to 10 local seniors’ residences and their respective activity directors are signing people up for rides. For people who don’t reside at the residences but want to be taken for a bike ride, they can sign up at the Schubert Centre or call the centre and asked to be put on a list. Program volunteer Bev Wagner will schedule people for rides.

The program, which is 100 per cent volunteer-driven, received a second CFNO grant for $15,000 last week. That grant, along with donations, will help Lypchuk and Strong buy a second bike.

Among the volunteer pilots is cycling instructor Bruce Mol, who thinks the program is a terrific fit for the North Okanagan.

“The program is so interesting that it identifies people throughout our city to get them outside, people who are isolated and want to be outside,” said Mol. “There are lots of seniors who don’t have enough family visiting them and they have to keep their mind engaged. To see those same seniors on the bikes with the big smiles, you just can’t go wrong with it.”



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Cycling Without Age Vernon and Coldstream chapter co-founder Lauren Lypchuk officially launches the program in Vernon at the Schubert Centre Monday. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Just Posted

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Cavalry Chapel Kelowna

Attendees of the Sept. 13 morning church service may have been exposed, Interior Health says

West Kelowna Warriors top Vernon Vipers in return to action

The Warriors earned a 4-1 win to kick off Okanagan Cup tournament

Fuel Good Day pumps up Okanagan-Shuswap organizations

Thousands raised by annual Armstrong Regional Co-op fundraiser Sept. 15

PHOTOS: Ghost sighting in Vernon’s Polson Park

Mom and daughter photoshoot brings joy and laughter to bystanders

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Supreme Court civil claim alleges Dustin Blondin was the victim of an ‘unprovoked attack’

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Parks Canada not responsible for Mount Kobau blockade

Nearby residents have been vocal about plans to turn the area into a national park

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read