Cycling with the wind in their hair

EASY RIDERS: Margaret Fullick and Shirley Loder with Ken Jury piloting the bike as they ride along Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Melinda McMillan

EASY RIDERS: Margaret Fullick and Shirley Loder with Ken Jury piloting the bike as they ride along Newcastle Foreshore. Picture: Melinda McMillan

NEWCASTLE and Lake Macquarie senior citizens are enjoying all the joy of cycling without the effort thanks to two bicycles imported to the city from Denmark. 

The NovoCare program, launched in mid-2017, offers the aged and disabled a seat on one of two electric motor-assisted tricycles at destinations in the city and at the lake. 

Shirley Loder took her first ride on the bike on Wednesday at the Newcastle Foreshore. 

“It’s great,” Mrs Loder said. “It’s a long while since I’ve ridden a bike, I can assure you. 

“I’m enjoying it, at my age, because it’s something I didn’t expect to do.”

Margaret Fuller has already been on several rides. 

“It makes me feel young,” Mrs Fuller said. “Can you believe that? It makes me feel alive and exhilarated.  

“The wind is in your face and the sun is on your hair. What more do you want out of life?

“People wave and give us a great big smile, it’s lovely. They think we are royalty, we give them the royal wave.

“I tell all my friends at bingo to come and have a ride.” 

Pilot Ken Jury said he enjoyed “watching the clients faces light up” while on the tricycle. 

“Last year we rode along Nobbys, there were dolphins in Horseshoe Bay and whales breaching out the other side – magnificent,” he said. 

NovaCare CEO Joseph McCarthy said he got the idea for the tricycles after seeing a TED talk Cycling Without Age, made in Copenhagen. 

The slogan of Cycling Without Age is: the right to the wind in your hair.

The program also focuses on generosity – giving back to senior citizens –  storytelling and “embracing what each generation has to offer”. 

“We look for programs that connect people to the community,” Mr McCarthy  said. “The beauty of this program is that it’s all about connection.

“The way the bike is designed, the pilot is behind, the people sit in the front with an unobstructed view.

“They can talk while they are riding.” 

The bikes have been operating at Swansea and the Newcastle Foreshore.

The recent addition of a custom built trailer means the bikes will be able to get transported to more locations in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. 

The program also includes the training of volunteer pilots, they are keen to recruit more.

The bikes are available to the community to take out family members and friends who are aged or disabled. 

To find out more about becoming a volunteer or taking a ride call NovoCare on: 1300 363 654.

novacare.org.au