A trishaw bike initiative that takes elderly and disabled people out for a ride in the great outdoors has started up in Weymouth. Joanna Davis is invited for a spin.

EVERYONE should be able to enjoy the life-affirming feeling of the wind in their hair.

But for some people - those who are confined to their four walls with little human contact because of limited mobility - it's only a sensation they can dream of.

It's people like these who Des Lochrie had in mind when he decided to set up a local affiliation of a charity that gives people 'the right to have the wind in your hair'.

Cycling Without Age Weymouth will take senior and disabled people out on a trishaw - a three-wheel cycle with a passenger cab up front - enabling them to get outside and meet new people.

Weymouth Golf Club's resident professional Des and his wife Susan have just taken delivery of the group's first £6,000 trishaw, which was financed by Weymouth Golf Club's Charity Week.

Des and Susan decided to start Cycling Without Age in Weymouth after visiting Denmark, where the scheme originated, and seeing it in full swing there.

Des said: "We want to give the older community and children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to feel like they are cycling through Weymouth in these specially adapted bikes and we hope to encourage social interaction and bring generations closer together."

The electric-powered bikes from Denmark hold two passengers and boast a bell, a rain protector and a lowering platform to make it easy for people to get on and off. They are ridden by 'pilots', who receive special training.

Now the first bike is 'on the road', Des wants to hear from care homes and individuals who would like to have trips out on the trishaw.

He is also appealing for sponsorship from businesses to help buy more bikes and for volunteers to help with the charity and ride the bikes.

Des and Susan, who have fostered many children over the years, said youngsters with disabilities will also benefit from the scheme.

Susan said: "They really enjoy it. We took a four-year-old out who has cerebral palsy and she really enjoyed it."

The trishaw has also been taken to Primrose Lodge care home on Dorchester Road, Weymouth, and it is hoped the bike will eventually be kept at a care home.

Des said: "The bikes are about getting people back into the community. We took out a lady in her 80s and she was very excited to go on the bike."

Keith Johnson, a PE teacher at Thomas Hardye's school in Dorchester, became involved in the scheme after seeing the Cycling Without Age website and emailing expressing his interest.

Keith said the bike riding scheme also gives people in wheelchairs and their spouses who would normally push them the chance to sit side by side and talk to each other.

He explains: "We took out a lady whose husband was in a wheelchair and they were able to sit side by side. It's difficult for them to have a conversation when she's behind him pushing him in a wheelchair. You can be sat there and see things that stimulate conversation, it can bring back memories.

"It can trigger so many things and if you're stuck in your home or a care home it's so nice to get out."

Trips out can be tailored to the length of time of people's preference and can include a stop for coffee. Some of the scenic locations to be used for the bikes include Weymouth seafront and the Rodwell Trail.

And already it looks like the first trishaw for Cycling Without Age Weymouth is going to be racking up the miles.

On Tuesday (15) it will be taken to learning disability centre the Ridgeway Centre in Weymouth, to take clients out for rides.

Des said the next step will be to start growing Cycling Without Age, Weymouth, by recruiting volunteers and training them up.

He added: " We're really lucky with the generosity of Weymouth Golf Club because a lot of the chapters of Cycling Without Age are still fundraising for their first bike and we've already got ours.

"When people see us out and about in Weymouth we want them to wave and say hello and we'd love word of mouth about what we're doing to spread so more people will get involved."

*Fore more information on Cycling Without Age Weymouth, go to cyclingwithoutage.org.uk/weymouth/ or donate at gofundme.com/cyclingwithoutage-weymouth, call 0786 7937700 or email des@cyclingwithoutage.org.uk

Cycling Without Age Weymouth can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


The Dorset Echo took a spin on a Cycling Without Age trishaw at its official launch at Weymouth Golf Club, which generously funded the first trishaw. Work placement student Mamie Colfox describes the ride....

"It was such a smooth ride and a great speed for looking at your surroundings. We cycled through a puddle and didn’t even get a splash of water on us. Keith who did the cycling explained it was electric and I could tell when he used the motor because there were no bumps! We did a lap of the car park and managed to pick up speed going up the hill. It is the perfect way of getting elderly people out of the house and I would definitely pop out for another ride in a heartbeat."