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Cycling without Age (CWA) is making its Winnipeg debut, and aims to give those with limited ableness back their mobility.

cycle without age 2(Wendy Erlander)Michael and Wendy Erlanger, a couple from the Crescentwood area, are opening a local chapter of CWA.

The movement originated in Denmark, founded by Ole Kassow and Dorthe Pedersen, and has expanded into an international sensation. Its purpose is to provide those with limited mobility the opportunity to experience the freedom of cycling once again.

"We've brought trioBikes, similar to rickshaws into the city," explained Wendy Erlanger, "and they are for the sole purpose of giving residents, patients, clients, etc. bicycle rides outside so they can get fresh air and access to nature."

Riverview Health Centre and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) have both partnered with the Erlangers and CWA to bring the program to Winnipeg.

The couple discovered CWA while in Denmark last summer. During their time in Copenhagen, they discovered CWA and met with Ole Kassow. "My husband has a huge cycling background, and I'm a huge community service, social action person, and I do a lot in the community. We both looked to each other and thought, okay, this has to come to Winnipeg."

cycle without age 3(Wendy Erlander)The movement also emphasizes connecting the older generation to the younger, with those piloting the trioBikes also communicating with their passengers and listening to their stories. Any individual can volunteer to pilot for CWA, so long as they are willing to have a conversation and listen.

"I think this is important for any city," Erlanger commented. "Their motto is 'the right to wind in your hair', and it's important because people who can't get outside anymore, and there are so many stories of people who are like that who are now institutionalized, or just cooped up, and don't have family around, and we all know how great nature is for us."

Ole Kassow will be attending the program launch on Tuesday, May 2 at the Riverview Health Centre at 10:30 a.m.

"It's allowing people to have access and making their day just a little bit brighter. It's such a simple idea."

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