Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Elderly set to feel the wind in their hair (+ video)

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Residents of a Rotorua retirement home will be able to venture out and feel the wind in their hair after the delivery of a "trishaw".

The bike allows elderly people to get out into nature for a bike ride and out of their care centre, even if mobility is an issue.

Residents from Glenbrae Arvida Retirement and Care took their new trishaw for a spin around the centre today.

Two passengers can sit up front, side-by-side in a unique rickshaw style design, with the cyclist behind them. An added motor helps the cyclists with steeper terrain.

Resident Lois Ayson said she had a good time getting a ride in the bike and it was "very classy".

She said they all rode bikes growing up and she was looking forward to getting back on the trishaw.

Village manager Maria Jay said the initiative gave people the chance to get back on a bike and enjoy it, no matter what stage of life they were at.

She said they received the bike four weeks ago, and had been teaching current volunteers and learning how to put it together.

"Cycling Without Age is a great way to connect our aged residents with members of the community for an experience that's enriching and contributes to good social and mental health."

Mrs Jay said it was a worldwide phenomenon in 26 countries and Arvida was the first in New Zealand to bring Cycling Without Age to its retirement villages.

"Many of our residents will have loved cycling in the past, and still want to feel the wind in their hair, and we believe they should."

She said it had been an amazing experience so far and it "really does cross all barriers".

Arvida first launched two bikes in Christchurch in November last year and bikes are now being delivered to seven Arvida villages throughout New Zealand.

The Cycling Without Age concept started in Denmark in 2012.

It connects community, through volunteer cyclists, with Arvida residents who otherwise would not have the chance to be outdoors.

A founder of Cycling Without Age, Dorthe Pedersen, is helping deliver the bikes.

She said an important part of the concept was being able to create new and share old stories.

"All that wisdom, knowledge and identity - the bicycling can be a key opening to that and letting that still be a part of someone's life."

Melvyn Bowen, who is training other "pilots", said the Mokoia Community Association would also be getting one next month.

Those wanting to sign up to be a Cycling Without Age volunteer and trishaw pilot should email tristan.saunders@arvida.co.nz.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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