Cycling Without Age

Rickshaw rides for senior citizens in Bonn

Probefahrt mit der Rikscha: Neugierige Blicke werfen Passanten auf das Gespann mit Passagier Alfons Tump und Fahrerin Rilana.

Pilot Rilana takes Alfons Tump on a test drive in a rickshaw.

Bonn. The Cycling Without Age movement has arrived in Bonn. The project aims to get senior citizens back on bikes, but organisers say it is not intended as an alternative to taxis.

Two rickshaws stand on Brüdergasse. People stop and are curious. “What is this?” asks a young woman, who would like to get in. Nadine Dick explains. Dick is one of the young women from “Cycling Without Age Bonn” formed in February. “We are convinced that everyone of every age has the right to the wind in their hair,” says Dick. This is the slogan of the relatively new association, whose aim is to offer senior citizens an outing in a rickshaw.

“It has existed in Denmark since 2012,” explains Nadine Kuhl. She and her fellow campaigners want to bring some variety to everyday life in homes and residential groups for the elderly. The Margarete-Grundmann-Haus is their first partner and more are to follow.

“Relatives have also already spoken to us about whether it is possible to book such rides if their parents or grandparents don’t live in the home,” says Kuhl. This should also be possible in the future. The club has two rickshaws specially intended for the elderly. The club members are mainly students and were supported by the Bonner Bürgerstiftung, the Bonn Help the Aged as well as the Volksbank Bonn Rhein-Sieg and Zurich Insurance. Further sponsors should follow, as well as more pilots, as Kuhl calls the rickshaw drivers. “At the moment we have around 20. More should follow so that we can expand the project and spread the volunteering load.” Kuhl is advertising for more supporters who are also prepared to pedal the rickshaws.

It is planned to use an electronically controlled tool to arrange appointments between pilots and the elderly wanting a ride. “However, we are not a replacement for taxis. Our service helps bring old and young together and helps with the communication and leisure needs of the elderly,” explains the young business psychology student.

The elderly are delighted. Elisabeth Goebel and Brigitte Fischer, who have come to the project’s inauguration, have a test ride. “I will definitely also use it regularly,” says Goebel, who finds the rickshaw really comfortable. “The good thing about it is,” confirms Alfons Tump, “that you sit up front and can enjoy a clear view of the surroundings.” Tump has come especially from the Sauerland. His granddaughter Rilana is a member of the association.  “I’m really proud that she is championing older people,” says Tump.

(Original text: Susanne Wächter. Translated by Kate Carey)