Be the Change: Cycling Without Age

Ginger Franz (top), Kathleen Boland (sitting, left), and Judy Carr (sitting, right) on a Cycling Without Age trishaw. (KEVN)
By  | 

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Volunteers are turning gears to reconnect senior citizens with the community.

A Rapid City woman is getting older folks out of their homes and under the sun.

Kathleen Boland is 97 years old.

She doesn't let her age stop her from enjoying life.

That includes riding bikes with volunteers from Cycling Without Age.

"We had a lot fun with them and with my family there. They rode and just enjoyed it," Kathleen Boland said, a passenger of Cycling Without Age Rapid City.

Cycling Without Age Rapid City takes elderly people, or as Kathleen likes to call her age group, mature folks, on e-bike rides.

"So that they're able to get back in touch with nature, with the community, tell stories of their lives in the community that they lived in. It's really all about joy and connecting people in the community," Ginger Franz said, the president of Cycling Without Age Rapid City.

The organization is guided by four principles: generosity - giving your time, slowness - pedaling no faster than walking pace, storytelling - listening to passengers share their memories, and lastly - relationships.

"I just think with nature and the wind, keeps her young. It's just been a really enjoyable experience for her and for all of us," Judy Carr said, daughter of Kathleen.

Ginger says the trishaw was made in Copenhagen where Cycling Without Age originally began.

"It has a bench seat in front. Seat belts for our riders. I think it's very comfortable. Kathleen, do you think it's very comfortable?" Ginger asked.

"Yes," Kathleen responded.

Ginger and 16 other volunteers, who she calls pilots, give passengers five rides a week at the Clarkson Health Care Facility.

"It really is a feel-good project. Really, when we're out riding, everybody on this bike is smiling. The people that we pass are smiling and waving. It's a wonderful feeling for all of us," Ginger said.

Right now the group only has one trishaw to give rides, but they'd love to acquire another trishaw to get more seniors out.

If you'd like to volunteer or donate, call Cycling Without Age Rapid City at 605-430-3545 or visit their Facebook page.

Do you know someone who's making a difference in the community?

If you do, send an email to katrinal@blackhillsfox.com.