20 year-old medical student Fraser Johnston is bringing joy to a care home by taking elderly residents for rickshaw rides in the countryside.
A Falkirk project taking elderly people on cycle rides hopes to expand after a BBC video went viral
Cycling Without Age Falkirk was the subject of a BBC3 Amazing Humans film which has been viewed more than 20 million times since its release last Saturday. It showed volunteer Fraser Johnston, 20, taking care home resident Mary Duncan for a trip on a trishaw (tricycle-rickshaw).
The voluntary community group is part of the global Cycling Without Age; started in Denmark in 2012
Mr. Johnston, a medical student, said: "A lot of people who are stuck in care homes or stuck in their own homes, the only time they ever get taken out is with their family or through activities at the home."
But it’s normally from the home to a car to a bus to the next location."
"For some of them it’s such a strange thing when you say, come out on the bike because they think they’re going to do the pedalling. But when they find out it’s a young or old volunteer taking them out, they jump at the chance to get on the bike."
The Falkirk team got its first trishaw in February and has about 30 volunteers. Mr Johnston said the BBC video has resulted in messages from places including New Zealand, Africa and South America.
He said: "It’s really captured the imaginations of the whole world."
Care home residents’ families say the scheme has already had a profound impact. Linda Muirhead said: "It gives my dad freedom – I can take him out, but it’s always with family."
"It’s a sense of independence, because it’s out and it’s freedom and it’s fresh air….and it’s on a bike – at 93, he’s on a bike."
Source & Main Image: BBC
Everyone has some time in their lives that they could give back to the elder generation
Avid cyclist Fraser and the other 30-odd volunteers of Cycling Without Age have taken out around 150 residents since February. Now he wants to see the scheme extended across Scotland. After raising £2,250 through crowdfunding sites in April, the group is hoping to get £10,000 this time.
That would allow them to buy two of the Danish ‘trishaw’ bikes (essentially reverse pedicabs) costing around £5000 each.
They are also keen to hear from businesses who could help them expand quicker. The ‘trishaw’ bikes are power-assisted to help navigate steeper Scottish hills. The Falkirk Junior Bike Club co-ordinator said: “Everyone has some time in their lives that they could give back to the elder generation and offer them opportunities like this that they wouldn’t get otherwise, and really share their stories and celebrate how they’ve lived their lives"
He continued: “I think projects like this can make society better.“
"It’s such a feel good project that people can give their time to.”
Cycling Without Age said: “Fraser is an amazing young man and we’re very proud to count him as part of Cycling Without Age, a non-profit organisation on a mission to give elderly people the right to wind in their hair.“
"It’s the most wonderful way to create smiles, build community and enhance people’s quality of life.“
One social media user wrote on Facebook: “Just seen a BBC Scotland video about you mate… well done! Very impressive, huge respect to you! The older generation have so much to offer, keep up the good work!"
Cycling Without Age Crowdfunding: New stretch target
Ultimately the more money that we raise, the more Trishaws that we can purchase. If our stretch target is realised, we would be able to purchase additional Trishaw bikes which would bring this project to new Care Homes giving up to 800 new Care Home residents the right to wind in their hair. Please consider contributing to our project, you will really have a profound impact on the lives of others.