FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Cycling Without Age and the CMP program

 

The trishaws bikes

Where is the trishaw made?

The trishaw has components from different companies and different countries, but they are built in Denmark and are made in accordance with EU Standard EN 15194. The trishaws are designed specifically for the purpose of carrying passengers, and CWA has worked with the manufacturers to further adapt them for passengers who have mobility issues.

How does the electric assist work?

The trishaw has an electric option that the pilot is trained to use. The system is “Pedal Assist Sensor” that applies power only as you pedal (assuming the pilot chooses to use the pedal assist mode). The power assist level can be varied from no assist to a level 5 assist through a controller on the handlebars. Power assist is cut when you stop pedalling or when your speed reaches 15 miles per hour.

How far can I ride the trishaw?

In terms of battery life, there are a number of factors (speed, weight, incline, the assist level) that will dictate how long the battery will last, but it’s not unusual for the battery to be helpful for approximately 20 miles. Keep in mind that all of the trishaws can still be pedaled without the help of the battery, just like a non-powered bike, through muscle power alone. Many of our pilots only use the battery for starting and for hills. A fully-charged battery can be used in many cases for hours, so always keep in mind that some passengers may tire more quickly than others. Make sure to ask them frequently how they are doing.

How is a trishaw different from a two wheeled bike?

Confident cyclists will quite quickly get used to riding the trishaw. After training you can safely ride it with passengers and after lots of rides you will build more confidence and if you continue, become an expert. To begin with try shorter rides, until you feel more secure. Always check with your passengers to see if they are comfortable and wish to continue. The biggest differences compared to a regular bicycle are the battery and the steering, which we will cover in the training.

How much weight can the trishaw carry?

Two passengers together or one alone can weigh up to about 330 lbs.; this is excluding the pilot.

What model should we choose?

Of course that’s up to you, but here is some information about the Trio and the Nihola models:

The Trio is has a large, rounded, couch-like passenger box, made from laminated marine wood. The footrest includes an insert that is easily removed when passengers are getting into and out of their seats, which is very useful when passengers have mobility issues. The trishaw has an electric motor with variable assist levels, and is available in two sizes: 250 watt and 500 watt. Generally, if your area is hilly you may want to consider the 500 watt, which provides more assistance when dealing with slopes and a heavy passenger load.

The Nihola is a front-loading trishaw, like the Trio. The main operating difference is that when you turn the Nihola, the front wheels turn but the passenger box stays in place; with the Trio, the entire box turns along with the front wheels. The front passenger box of the Nihola is also two inches narrower than the Trio’s. The design is a bit different in a few other ways, and as a result the Nihola is somewhat less expensive than the Trio. It is available in a 250 watt model only.

Are the trishaws difficult to maintain?

We find that most everyday maintenance — checking tire pressure, making sure the brakes and shifters are working, that sort of thing — is very easy to do. We’ll help you find a local bike mechanic who can do the rest. Many good bike shops are eager to become affiliated with CWA, especially because the trishaws are so visible in the community. A public “thank you” every now and then to your local bike shop is good for their business — and for your trishaw!

Are the trishaws safe?

Yes, when properly operated! One of our guiding principles is “Slowness” – this is not only for safety reasons, but also because it enhances the experience for passengers, pilots, and the community. With hundreds of affiliates in more than 40 countries, we have a ton of experience giving our passengers the right to feel the wind in their hair — safely!

Will there be a chance to try out a trishaw before we buy one?

We will be planning some ‘road shows’ during the next few months where you can get some training and have a chance to take a trishaw for a spin. These events will also be good opportunities to introduce potential donors to the program. Once you’ve experienced a ride in a trishaw it’s very easy to see how an active Cycling Without Age program can improve the quality of life for your residents. Please contact Pernille: bussone@cyclingwithoutage.org, if you would like to participate in one; we will let you know as soon as we finalize our first round.

What types of trishaws are available and how much do they cost?

Currently two models are approved: The trioBike and the Nihola, both produced in Denmark and assembled in Madison, Wisconsin. They’re excellent bikes built be two companies with many years of successfully building and delivering high quality cargo bikes. Find the up-to-date prices on Copenhagen Cycles.

 

The pilot

Who can pilot the trishaw?

While any responsible, reasonably fit person who has been trained can pilot the trishaw, we often find that with our chapters in the US insurance requirements dictate the minimum pilot age, which tends to be either 18 or 21 depending on the insurer.

What about pilot training?

The Cyclist Federation of Wisconsin will be providing new chapters with pilot raining at no additional cost throughout 2018 thanks to a generous grant from the Wisconsin State Department of Transportation.

 

Legal and insurance

Will our insurance cover a CWA program?

In some cases it will; other times you may need to add a rider to your existing policy or secure a separate policy. We can work with your insurance administrator to help make sure you’re covered.

 

Fundraising

Who’s paying for this?

Cycling Without Age is not for profit organisation that generates its revenue through a royalty from sales of trishaws through Copenhagen Cycles.

I own a business and I would like to help out, what do you need?

We are very open to any kind of partnerships that benefit the elderly community. One way is to sponsor a trishaw and have your logo on it. It is a great way to show your care to the community. Second is that you can also let your employees be trained as pilots and let them ride during working hours. Besides this, for example, if you own a café you could invite our pilots and passengers for a free coffee when they are on their rides.

It still seems like a lot of money – how can we raise the funds?

There are a number of strategies that have worked for our existing affiliates. Very often local community groups such as the Rotary Club or neighborhood businesses will provide much of the funding. (You can put the name of the donors on your trishaw as a way of saying ‘thank you’!) Sometimes families of residents will contribute as a way of honoring their loved ones. Contact us and tell us a bit about your nursing home and your community and we can help you come up with some great fundraising ideas.

What does a trishaw cost including freight from Denmark?

For federally-funded nursing homes in Wisconsin:

TrioBike 250W: $4,225

TrioBike 500W: $4,475

Nihola 250W: $3,885

 

For private nursing homes in the US:

TrioBike 250W: $8,450

TrioBike 500W: $8,950

Nihola 250W: $7,700

 

CMP program

Where can I get more information?

After you sign up, you will be invited to an online platform called Workplace. This is where we will share information about the dates we’ll be visiting and news about the shipment of trishaws. Workplace is also where you will be able to reach out to the Cycling Without Age Wisconsin community.

In addition, this TEDx talk by Ole Kassow, the founder of Cycling Without Age is a great way to inspire others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Ti4qUa-OU . We also have this large database of photos from CWA affiliates all over the world: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyklingudenalder

And of course you can always email Pernille at bussone@cyclingwithoutage.org

What’s next?

Gathering the support of the residents and family members of your nursing home and looking into ways of raising funds.

How do I sign up?

Sign up here: http://cyclingwithoutage.com/cmp/ and we’ll get right back to you.

How does the CMP Program work for CWA?

CWA has secured funding for half the cost of each trishaw you purchase, including shipping, if you’re a federally funded nursing home in Wisconsin. Once you secure commitments for your half of the cost of the trishaw you want, place the order and CWA will take it from there.

 

The rides

People are staring at me when I ride the trishaw, what is going on?

Sometimes our faces hurt from smiling so much and we often stop to chat with curious people who want to know more. This is one of the best parts of Cycling Without Age, the pilot and passenger get to interact with members of their community. This kind of spontaneous interaction happens all the time and can become addictive!

How far can I ride the trishaw?

In terms of battery life, there are a number of factors (speed, weight, incline, the assist level) that will dictate how long the battery will last, but it’s not unusual for the battery to be helpful for approximately 20 miles. Keep in mind that all of the trishaws can still be pedaled without the help of the battery, just like a non-powered bike, through muscle power alone. Many of our pilots only use the battery for starting and for hills. A fully-charged battery can be used in many cases for hours, so always keep in mind that some passengers may tire more quickly than others. Make sure to ask them frequently how they are doing.

What if it rains?

The trishaw has a portable rain cover as well as an optional waterproof blanket for the passengers. Rain showers are great opportunities to sit covered, have a nice chat, and stimulate the senses. Some nursing home residents haven’t been caught in the rain in a long time, and actually enjoy the experience!

What is a typical ride like?

One of the wonderful things about CWA is that there is no typical ride. Each one is different, depending on the passengers, the pilots, the route, the weather, and the community. But you can expect to see your passengers enjoying themselves, telling stories about their lives and their community, and being the center of attention as people along the way smile, wave, and call you over to stop for a chat. Sitting up front in one of our CWA trishaws puts the passengers first, which for many of them is something they haven’t experienced in quite some time.