Todd Walter, founder and owner of the Crosaires Community Residence, has become one of 10,000 trained “pilots” for Cycling Without Age (CWA) across the world.
Walter has been committed to giving the elderly lives filled with passion and enthusiasm for over 20 years and has seen a Trishaw bike improve the lives of those he cares for with the help of CWA. The Trishaw bike is similar to a rickshaw or a large adult stroller in the sense that the passengers sit up front so that they are able to have an unobstructed view. The trike has made its way to 33 other countries including the U.S.
The Trishaw bike is one of many outlets he uses to provide elders with individualized care within the Williamston and Meridian areas in Michigan. Walter has the only CWA chapter in the entire state.
Crosaires is a Gaelic word meaning “crossroads” and Walter upholds the beliefs that elders are still growing, thriving and experiencing the crossroads of life.
Walter said that the ideals and foundations that the CWA chapters are built upon allow residents and older adults make connections that they otherwise would not have had. Walter is without a doubt that the Trishaw bikes provide an improvement of life.
CWA is a movement started in 2012 by Ole Kassow and Dorthe Pedersen in Copenhagen, Denmark. With Copenhagen renowned for its extremely bike friendly culture, the Trishaw bike was born. The Trishaw bike is similar to a rickshaw or a large adult stroller in the sense that the passengers sit up front so that they are able to have an unobstructed view. The trike has made its way to 33 other countries including the U.S.
Pedersen said, “The movement has spread like wildfire over the past five years since we first launched in Copenhagen.”
Pedersen added, “This is helped by individuals, organizations, communities, municipalities and some governments recognizing this as the way to grow old. Staying connected to people in your community and having access to the outdoors, nature, city and all the placed one would have loved throughout their lives.”
Maren Warming and Pernille Bussone, both Global Community Captains, express the need to connect the dots between past and present generations. By building intergenerational relationships they are not only able to bridge the gap between young and old, but also involve the surrounding communities and provide a positive healing impact for any citizen, young or old.
Bussone said, “We give rides in a rickshaw to elderly people to let them feel the wind in their hair. That’s the tool we use to tackle problems such as loneliness, social isolation, to strengthen local communities and promote a healthier and more active lifestyle. We want to focus on the small interactions of everyday life, like back when we used to know the people around us and our neighbors much better.”
Warming said: “We have already seen the effects that CWA has to elderly and their mental health. What we do in CWA very fundamental for human beings living in this optimizing and sometimes isolation world. We are just creating a strong local communities like the ones we knew 100 years ago.”
Bonnie Behnke, vice president of development for Miravida Living, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and CWA Ambassador, was the first center in the U.S to launch CWA in early 2015.
Behnke said: “Our elders thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to be outside, riding in rickshaws and touring downtown, the waterfront and their old neighborhoods while sharing stories with the volunteer pilots. Sometimes, the routes take them to a local bakery, ice cream parlor, etc”
Behnke has been instrumental in supporting the launch of 55 chapters both nationally and internationally, including ones such as the Crosaires Community Residence.