Loneliness is something that affects many and is caused by many things. Like national lockdowns, financial constraints or the loss of family. Cycling Without Age aims to alleviate social isolation by offering community members free trike rides in Portsmouth. Often this leads to meeting new people and making new friends!
We spoke with a regular rider, Pessi, about what led to her to using Cycling Without Age.
When my son passed away, I was home – completely bed ridden more or less for five years. Not eating, not sleeping. Then, when my husband died two years ago during COVID, I wasn’t able to have a proper funeral for him, or see family. It was very distressing.
Tragedies like this can impact us in many ways, and can lead to loneliness. Pessi started attending Spark Community Space, a local charity in Portsmouth that helps put the spark back into people’s lives, to get out and meet people. It was at one of the regular community coffee days that Pessi learnt about Cycling Without Age.
Pilot volunteers take people out for rides around Portsmouth, and on that day were at Sherlock’s in Southsea. Two people can sit in the electrically assisted trikes which are piloted by trained cyclists. It let’s people, often with mobility issues, to get out and about.
It gets you out in the fresh year and the volunteers are great. We have some great chats and they take me to the cemetery to visit my husband and son, fetching and carrying the water and plants and bits I need. It’s helped a lot.
A lack of human interaction can lead to loneliness, which is why our cyclists are more than happy to chat! It’s also a wonderful way to meet new people. Pessi met Rose through Cycling Without Age, and they now regularly go out on rides!
I have made friends, and sometimes we go out on the bikes together. I think social prescribing can help people a lot. Especially people like me or don’t have good mobility and are living on their own.