Helping people reconnect with the community | Vicky Meets
Vicky meets... Richard Turnbull, Cycling Without Age, Chichester.
• What is Cycling Without Age?
An international movement, it started about ten years ago in Denmark. We take people out on the bike who don’t, or can’t, normally get out to enjoy fresh air and to get around town. It allows them to reconnect with community and with nature.
• The bike looks incredible! Will you tell me more about it?
Made in Denmark, it’s a Trishaw and is the Rolls-Royce of bikes. It’s a three-wheeler with a seat on the front. It is electric assist and very stable, with seatbelts and also a canopy for bad weather, so we can operate all year. The only down side is that it is quite wide and there are more bollards than I could ever have believed in Chichester!
• Do you have routes all over town?
Centurion Way, Oaklands Park, Graylingwell – we take in all the sights. We also spot changes and new things, like the Covid bench outside M&S. I recently took a couple almost all the way to West Dean because it’s such a great route. Being on the bike gives you a different perspective from, say, a car or mini bus. You can listen to the birds and get up close to nature. It’s wonderful.
• How did you get involved?
I was inspired by the Brighton Chapter when I lived there. I work in International Education and I took to home schooling our kids when I was furloughed, which gave me time to pursue the idea. I thought this would be a great way to support the community. The bikes cost around £7,000. I raised about £400 through fundraising and then did a presentation to Chichester City Council. They kindly gave me the rest, plus the first year’s insurance, from their New Homes Bonus Scheme. The bike delivery was delayed because of Brexit and Covid, and then I had to sort the paperwork and risk assessment. But now I’m taking passengers.
• Does it make a real difference to people?
Yes. It’s a simple thing, but we take going out for granted (although we have come to appreciate getting outside so much more in the last year). We are so blessed here; it’s such a great place, but many people are stuck behind closed doors and isolated from the community. This helps them reconnect. You do get a lot of attention from passers-by too.
• What does it cost for a ride?
We are a Community Interest Company (CIC) and believe that everyone should be able to have a ride if they want one. We suggest a guide price of £5, but if you can’t pay, no problem. We are looking for sponsorship and the bike could easily be logoed. It’s such an eye-catching thing and it aligns with many businesses values. We are also looking for volunteer riders, so get in touch if you fancy piloting the bike.
Find out more or book a ride at www.brightride.org.uk or contact Richard at [email protected] or on 07821 810552.