Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

On Gunditjmara Country

On the southwest coast of Victoria, the city of Portland and surrounding areas now have access to a fantastic service called Cycling Without Age.

Cycling Without Age (CWA) is a volunteer organisation that involves taking elderly and less-abled citizens out for free bike rides on a specialised bicycle called a trishaw. The project originally started in Denmark and after major success there are now 1600 chapters across the globe, including Portland.

CWA Portland has only been in the community since 2020, but in their short time they have secured funding to purchase bikes and also partnered with the local Rotary Club. Portland’s local Rotary Club has been in the community for 70 years and know the residents well. This partnership was a perfect way to get the project off the ground.

With support from the Rotary Club, CWA Portland applied for a Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) grant to purchase a custom-built trailer that will allow them to transport two bikes to other communities across the Glenelg Shire.

After being awarded a $9,000 grant, supported by the Ian Rollo Currie Estate Foundation, CWA Portland was able to purchase the trailer and has been able to regularly pick up passengers from Harbourside Lodge Aged Care facility. They have plans to engage with the Casterton and Nelson communities.

The interaction that CWA Portland has had with Harbourside completely exceeded their expectations, with the facility embracing weekly rides that see new passengers joining in each time.

This program has been extremely beneficial for passengers. For elderly people and those living with a disability, loneliness and social isolation can be a big issue, particularly in remote, rural or regional communities. The CWA bikes give these people the opportunity to ‘feel the wind in their hair’ and a chance to visit some of their favourite places in their community. CWA provides a safe and enjoyable way for community members to socialise, tell their stories and be a part of the community once again.

For example, regular rider Brian, who suffers from memory loss, enjoys seeing all the local dogs when he’s out with CWA. Brian used to be a part of the local Vintage Car Club, and he sometimes gets to visit their museum. One day he saw an orange Charger in the museum that used to belong to his son, which made him very excited when he was able to remember it.

For more inspiring stories like this, head to our FY 2021/22 Annual Review.