Guided Cycle Trips – Encouraging Older People to Continue Cycling in Odense

In 2009 the City of Odense and eight volunteer cycle captains planned and carried out 24 cycle trips with the aim to encourage and promote cycling among older people. The trips had different lengths, destinations and starting points in order to reach as many people as possible and to show the variety of cycling possibilities in Odense.

Up to 15 participants besides two cycle captains were participating on each trip. On several trips, the participants met with a person from the municipality who told about the area they were cycling in. In addition, most trips were planned so the participants could have lunch together during the trip.

Each trip took between 2 and 4 hours depending on the length, number of breaks and whether the participants met a person from the municipality.

The cycling trips are continuing in 2010 due to the positive feedback from the participants.

Background & Objectives

Research shows that active older people are healthier than non active. In this way, travel more actively can improve your health. Therefore, the City of Odense wanted to encourage older people to continue cycling by arranging guided cycle trips different places in Odense.

The target group was defined as people who were 60 years old or older. However, the cycle captains were defined as people who were at least 55 years old. Further, they should be experienced cyclists and fit to be responsible for others on the cycle trips.

Implementation

The eight cycle captains were found through adverts in the local newspaper and a magazine distributed to older citizens in Odense. Six men and two women between 58 and 71 years old volunteered as cycle captains.

In the planning phase the cycle captains among other things participated on a first aid course, learned about cycling in larger groups including safety and participated in an information meeting about cycle planning in the City of Odense. Furthermore, all trips were planned together with the captains.

The trips were announced in the local newspaper, magazines and web pages targeted at older people. Further, posters and brochures were distributed to liberates, organisations representing older people, sport clubs etc.

Enrolment was necessary, because the trips had a maximum limit on 15 participants due to safety issues. It was possible to sign up for the trips in two different ways.

   1. by telephone
   2. by the internet

A main focus on the trips was on the social aspect which was another reason to have a maximum limit on 15 participants.

Overall, it takes some effort to plan and implement cycle trips for older people. Especially, the initial planning phase can be time demanding, because it takes time to get to know the cycle captain and for the captains to know each other. However, it becomes less demanding when the initial planning phase is over and after a year it only takes a small effort to continue the trips. Here, trips can be reused, people are familiar with the trips and layout for adverts and brochure can be reused.

The cycle trips were founded by the AENEAS project.

We evaluated the cycle trips by asking the participants to answer a questionnaire. Among other things, the evaluation showed that most of the participants cycle each day or several times per week, while only a few almost never cycle. Further, 40% intent to cycle more in the future while 23% want to drive less as a diver.

Average age was 66 years where the oldest participant was 84 years old. 57% of the participants were women and 43% men.

The participants had heard about the cycle trips through adverts in the local newspaper and through friends.

The trips have been very popular both among the participants and the cycle captains. For instance, the eight cycle captains want to continue in 2010. In addition, the participants have given the trips an average grade on 4.9 on a scale from 1 to 5. It is therefore decided to continue the trips in 2010.

It is relative easy to carry out similar trips in cities with a similar cycle culture. In cities without a cycling tradition it might be more difficult. Here the trips could be combined with a course in safety training and cycling maintenance.

Conclusions

We evaluated the cycle trips by asking the participants to answer a questionnaire. Among other things, the evaluation showed that most of the participants cycle each day or several times per week, while only a few almost never cycle. Further, 40% intent to cycle more in the future while 23% want to drive less as a diver.

Average age was 66 years where the oldest participant was 84 years old. 57% of the participants were women and 43% men.

The participants had heard about the cycle trips through adverts in the local newspaper and through friends.

The trips have been very popular both among the participants and the cycle captains. For instance, the eight cycle captains want to continue in 2010. In addition, the participants have given the trips an average grade on 4.9 on a scale from 1 to 5. It is therefore decided to continue the trips in 2010.

It is relative easy to carry out similar trips in cities with a similar cycle culture. In cities without a cycling tradition it might be more difficult. Here the trips could be combined with a course in safety training and cycling maintenance.

Contact Person
Mrs. Dorthe Gyldenlund Råby
Firm: City of Odense
Address: Nørregade 36-38, 5000 - Odense C, Denmark
Phone: +45 6551 2750

Homepage

www.aeneas-project.eu/?page=odense

The AENEAS project is supported by:
Inteligent Energy
The sole responsibility for the content of this case study lies with the authors.
It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Communities.
The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.