Funds partly purchase a specially designed electric-assist pedicab – Volunteers give free rides around Tempe Town Lake and other nearby attractions
Tempe Community Action Agency and Apache ASL Trail are matching seniors to unique program
TEMPE, Ariz. (Sept. 16, 2021) – For some, it may look like a simple bicycle ride outside. But for older adults with mobility issues and hearing loss, the chance to breathe fresh air, feel the wind in their hair, and see the vibrant town life around them is priceless.
Now, with the help of a $5,000 Gives Back Sponsorship from the Arizona Lottery, the nonprofit Cycling Without Age Tempe is providing free electric-assist pedicab rides for elderly and hearing-impaired residents around Tempe Town Lake and other nearby attractions. Volunteer pilots, or “ambassadors,” are giving the free rides on a specially designed three-wheeled electric vehicle, which was purchased in part with the Lottery’s Gives Back Sponsorship funds.
Cycling Without Age Tempe is a chapter of the global Cycling Without Age non-profit network founded in 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark by Ole Kassow. Today, there are chapters in 47 countries serving more than 1 million people.
“We’re very grateful to the Arizona Lottery for helping us counteract loneliness and social isolation among seniors,” said Laura Kajfez, a Tempe-based Cycling Without Age volunteer with experience serving older adults. “We believe these free pedicab rides will help seniors create new relationships and become more connected to their community, all while creating new memories and improving their quality of life.”
Throughout the year, the Arizona Lottery invests in programs that support higher education, economic development, environmental conservation, and the health and wellbeing of Arizonans.
“Mobility is one of the biggest challenges Arizona's seniors face, and that is even more true during this COVID-19 pandemic, as they are especially vulnerable to this all-too-often deadly disease,” said Gregg Edgar, Executive Director of the Arizona Lottery. “Our Gives Back Sponsorship to Cycling Without Age will bring some of that mobility and joy back to these seniors. Volunteers also feel a sense of pride for helping to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Cycling Without Age has partnered with the Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) senior independence program and Apache ASL Trails senior living community for deaf adults to help identify residents who qualify for the program. Activities will accommodate any physical limitations that participants may have, making community engagement seamless and accessible for all.
Megan Wilson, TCAA director of programs, said the ongoing pandemic has been very challenging for older adults, many of whom reported increased feelings of anxiety and depression over the last year.
"In this past year, older adults have felt more socially isolated than ever, which is a major risk factor for poor physical and mental health. Tempe Community Action Agency is thrilled to partner with Cycling Without Age to build connections for individual and community wellbeing,” she said.
In addition to the Arizona Lottery, other community sponsors supporting Cycling Without Age Tempe include Microsoft's ChangeX Sustainable Community Challenge, Culdesac Tempe — the first car-free neighborhood built from scratch in the U.S., and local community members who donated in a GoFundMe community fundraising effort.
A kick-off activity with the Arizona Lottery, Cycling Without Age, and Tempe Mayor Corey Woods took place on September 16 at the Escalante Community Garden.
“We’re excited to have a chapter of Cycling Without Age starting up in Tempe,” Mayor Woods said. “A program that helps reduce isolation for seniors and connects generations is a ‘win-win.’”
For more details about Cycling Without Age Tempe, contact [email protected].
About Cycling Without Age Tempe:
Cycling Without Age is based on generosity and kindness. It starts with the obvious generous act of taking one or two elderly or less-abled people out on a bike ride. It’s a simple act that everyone can do. CWA Tempe’s motto is, "the right to wind in your hair.” Their principles are Storytelling, Generosity, Slowness, Without Age and Relationships.