A CYCLING initiative at an Edinburgh care home aiming to get elderly residents out in the fresh air and interacting with the community has got off to a speedy start.
With restrictions easing, Cramond Residence was delighted to resume its partnership with Joy Rides – a customised electric tri-shaw bike that carries two passengers and a “driver”.
Residents at the care home to the north of the city enjoyed venturing out every other week before the pandemic on bespoke trails with Joy Rides founder and cycling enthusiast Lissa McIntyre.
Joy Rides was created in 2019 and is a one woman show helping passengers combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, whilst improving health and well-being all while having fun on the front of a tri-shaw bike.
Lissa McIntyre, said: “From a very young age I’ve had a passion for cycling – there is nothing better than feeling the wind in your hair and forgetting your worries for a little while.
“No other form of transport gives you the same sense of freedom as a bicycle does, so I wanted to ensure people who couldn’t cycle were able experience this feeling – albeit minus the strenuous pedalling!
“When doing my initial market research, I noticed there was a lack of outdoor activities available for older people within the city so I wanted to close this gap and offer them the same experience and enjoyment.
“Riding on the tri-shaw gives you the freedom that comes with being on a bike outdoors with the security that a reliable, safe person is in charge behind the wheel.”
The Joy Rides project is to resume in June, and aims to allow residents and other customers to filter back into their local communities without stress or unease following months of lockdown.
Lissa, said: “There are a host of positive mental, physical and social benefits that come from getting elderly people out in the fresh air, especially as many have not left the home for a long period of time.
“During the trip residents are encouraged to socialise with others from different parts of the home and are often keen to have a chat with locals.”
Residents often request the cycle to go along Cramond promenade to view parts of the city they don’t often see, such as the view to the Forth Bridges in Queensferry and across the water to Fife.
Between every session the tri-shaw bike is thoroughly cleaned, on top of this both the driver and passengers are required to wear a mask during the trip with health and safety being paramount.