By Cliff Summerhill, Special for wranglernews.com
Everyone deserves to feel wind in their hair, backers of Tempe’s newest bike program say.
Cycling Without Age provides those who are otherwise unable to enjoy bicycle riding a jaunt to their favorite Tempe spots via new electric‐assisted pedicab rides.
The program is aimed toward older adults as well as those with poor physical and/or mental health and anyone else who may be unable to enjoy a typical bike ride without assistance.
“Cycling Without Age is based on generosity and kindness,” Erin Boyd, co‐founder of Cycling Without Age, said. “It starts with the obvious generous act of taking elderly or less‐abled people out on a bike ride. In this past year, older adults have felt more socially isolated than ever, which is a major risk factor for poor physical and mental health. The goal of the program is to build intergenerational relationships and connections for individual and community wellbeing.”
Cycling Without Age is partnered with the Tempe Community Action Agency and Escalante Community Center, working in conjunction with their already established senior programs.
“Tempe has a great community‐minded biking community as well as a growing number of older adults that are living alone and vulnerable to isolation,” Laura Kajfez, co‐founder of Cycling Without Age, said. “Putting the two together seemed like a no‐brainer.”
Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Arizona Lottery Gives Back Program, Cycling Without Age launched in Tempe last September with a goal of expanding Tempe’s mission of an inclusive community for all ages and mobility. The program is also sponsored by Microsoft’s ChangeX Sustainable Community Challenge program and other community members.
“There are many innovative initiatives in Tempe ‐ from Arizona State University’s Mirabella senior living center in the heart of the university campus to Culdesac Tempe, a car‐free neighborhood for people of all ages,” Boyd said. “A more walkable and bikeable urban core has many positive impacts of creating an environment that supports health longevity and more opportunities for positive interactions.”
Cycling Without Age originated in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2012. Since then, the program has expanded to 47 countries, with services to more than a million people.
This program is among many in Tempe as the city looks to become Arizona’s most bike‐friendly city. With its new Scottsdale Road Bike Lane Project, programs like Cycling Without Age will be given better infrastructure to fulfil their mission, both in safety and practicality.
Tempe’s bike‐lane project is funded through the $1.5 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Grant. Construction on the Scottsdale Bike Lane Project is slated to start the first part of 2023. But in Boyd’s opinion, Scottsdale Road should just be the start.
“I believe the City of Tempe can become a leading example for bicycle infrastructure,” Boyd said. “Just imagine it: Tempe can become the Copenhagen of the United States. In Copenhagen, over 62 percent of the population commutes by bike because it’s safe and joyful to do so.”
Tempe already hosts 217 miles of bikeways in its ever‐evolving multimodal transportation system, but this new project promises to make biking safer for those along Scottsdale/Rural Roads, and make the connection between Tempe and Scottsdale easier for those using alternative means of transportation.
Tempe’s ‘20-minute’ future
The Scottsdale Road Bike Lane Project is part of Tempe’s Transportation Master Plan, which hopes to turn Tempe into a “20‐minutes city” for all commutes, regardless of the mode of transportation.
“Let’s start with Scottsdale Road, but there’s much more we can do,” Boyd said. “People of all ages, income, race, gender and ability will ride more if they feel confident and connected to work, school, running errands, or just for fun by a network of safe, protected bike lanes.”
Boyd believes Tempe’s transition toward a more‐inclusive multimodal infrastructure will decrease congestion, drive economic development, increase tourism, create new jobs and support the city’s small businesses.
More information about Cycling Without Age: cyclingwithoutage.org.
More information about Scottsdale Road Bike Lane Project: tempe.gov/ScottsdaleRdBikeLanes.