Cycling with conversation and connection | video
After eighteen months of pandemic-related hiatus, Cycling Without Age Port Fairy are ready to get the wheels rolling again this summer.
Organiser Brendan Donahoo said the community group plans to ‘jump start’ out of the pandemic.
“It’s been a really stop-start time over the last 18 months, but there have been some really important events to celebrate,” Brendan said.
The areas to celebrate include forming a stronger partnership with Moyne Health, establishing a new volunteer training program, presenting at the first gathering of Cycling Without Age Victorian chapters, and helping a new Cycling Without Age group form in Portland. Brendan said supporting another south west Victorian group get started was very rewarding
“Based on the work that we did (to get established) with the support of the SWCF, we were able to hand over a lot of the information to set up a successful program in Port Fairy that was really relevant to the south west region,” he said.
“Information on working with local governments, where to find financial support and funding material, and sharing the stories of what we are all about. We were also able to do some training with their volunteers so they could find out what the program was all about.”
In 2018, SWCF granted Cycling Without Age $5000 to help fund the purchase of their first trishaw (worth around $15,000 each).
“SWCF was an early supporter, and this meant we had a jumpstart of support from a really great foundation which meant others sat up and listened to us. They then thought ‘yeah, that’s worth supporting’,” Brendan said.
“The best way to quantify what this money has meant is by the smiles of people involved.
“We had a day earlier this year between lockdowns where we managed to get a whole lot of people out for a ride. During the ride one of the elders told a story about her first bike ‘Marmaduke’ and how she rode to school. All these vivid recollections and memories were being shared, it’s almost invaluable really.
“It’s often we have passengers break out into instantaneous song. It’s just a really great experience, a positive experience for the passengers and the pilots. The benefits of witnessing the joy of people going out for the simple activity of a spin on the bikes.”
Brendan said people wanting to volunteers don’t need to be regular cyclists.
“Apart from turning the pedals there is not much similarity to a regular bike. It’s just about the experience of rolling around the community together and sharing a conversation,” he said.
Anyone looking to volunteer, or if you want to engage with the training search for the Cycling Without Age Port Fairy Facebook page, or visit cyclingwithoutage.org for a broader overview of the program.
November 14, 2021