Seniors on a Roll

Volunteers use pedal power to help the elderly get out and about

By Maria M. Lameiras

cycling

COURTESY OF RICK MONK

When Rick Monk 94C was an Emory student, he found a bicycle in a house he lived in and started riding it to campus. Cycling became his primary mode of transportation. Now he’s giving that “wind in your hair” sensation back to people who can no longer pedal themselves.

In March 2016, Monk and a group of volunteers launched the Washington, D.C., chapter of Cycling without Age, a nonprofit organization started by Ole Kassow in Copenhagen, Denmark. An avid cyclist, Monk learned about the program from a TED Talk video and was inspired to reach out. Kassow connected Monk, an attorney who works with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and businesses, with two other D.C.-based cyclists who were also interested. The trio spent several months fundraising the $10,000 needed to purchase one of the fully assembled, custom-made rickshaw bicycles designed for the organization.

Cycling without Age works simply: Volunteers sign up to take elderly residents for leisurely bike rides so they can enjoy getting outdoors and interacting with the community. There are now more than 225 chapters around the world.

“It is amazing, the reactions people have,” Monk says. “They are either immediately enthusiastic or a little apprehensive, but once you get someone comfortable with the idea, they are surprised at how much fun it is."

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