Older people cycling training scheme in Munich

Green City initiated the project with the support of the City of Munich in the summer of 2006. The major goal of the training courses is to make older people enjoy everyday cycling once again. Moreover, they should be trained for critical situations in traffic and overcome inhibitions towards alternative bikes.

During the summer months, several training courses with special concepts developed for older people are still being carried out. They last for about 4 hours with a small theoretical introduction and then a practical training. They are conducted in different districts of Munich. Older People Service Centres are involved as venue for the training courses.

Background & Objectives

Mobility – especially active mobilization – is an important factor in older peoples' lifes. It stands for independence, autonomy and quality of life. Being mobile makes participation in social life easy and helps to keep in touch with relatives and friends.

Furthermore, regular and age-adapted exercise is important for being healthy and supports mental ability. Riding a bicycle combines these two aspects.

However, there are several reasons why senior citizens refrain from cycling when they grow older: fear of road traffic, of being involved in an accident or of falling off the bike. Some of the elderly do not cycle anymore because of health reasons or because they do not want to be out on their own.

However, for the participation in the training course, a minimum healthy constitution is necessary. Participants are mostly around 60 years old.

Implementation

To implement the measure, three points are crucial:

  • experts who can talk about road safety and the health aspect of cycling,
  • a fleet of bicycles adapted to older people
  • a place where you can find older people and where there is enough space to build up a bicycle obstacle course.

Most of all it is important to ensure that the training is designed in a way that fits the requirements of older people. Therefore meetings with relevant stakeholders like the police and people who work with older people like Older People Service Centers were held. These organisations are also partners in the project now.

The training is promoted by a leaflet, distributed at relevant places like fairs and via the programme of Older People Service Centers and press releases.

The project is funded by the Department of Health and Environment of the City of Munich.

The course starts with a short theoretical introduction about cycling and health, techniques and road safety. After that, cycling is trained on a special parcours built up on a yard and supervised by a professional therapist. The training can be taken on one's own bike or with one of the several alternative bikes provided free of charge by the project partners.

Conclusions

As shown by a feedback questionnaire, the training is widely accepted by the participants. To belong to the group of cyclists once again is an important issue for older people. They are grateful that they can find a gradual re-entrance into cycling under competent guidance.

The training scheme is still running.

Contact Person
Mr. Andreas SCHUSTER
Firm: Green City e.V.
Address: Goethestr. 34 RGB, 80336 - München, Germany
Phone: +49-89 06-68 33

The AENEAS project is supported by:
Inteligent Energy
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