Carson Sage

Carson, with John and Jane in the trishaw
Carson, John and Jane explored local events like Moss St. Market in the Cycling Without Age trishaw

Using education to help people age adventurously

John and Jane Roberts sit in the trishaw, hands on the other’s knees, gazing out to the Olympic mountains. They smile as they feel the cool sea breeze in their hair. John is a resident at Beckley Farm Lodge senior’s residence, and it’s been a long time since the couple experienced Victoria on a bicycle. Pedaling behind them, Carson Sage leans down to point out an eagle high in the sky.

Carson has been passionate about community recreation since his first job as a summer camp leader, aged 15. Receiving the John and Marilyn Bate Scholarship in Recreation and Health Education in his third and fourth year of his undergraduate degree affirmed his passion and offered a sign that he was on a pathway to a career destination not yet known to him.

A legacy to community recreation

John and Marilyn Bate left a lasting legacy in Victoria, where they were involved in the sports and recreation community for 40 years. The scholarship, donated by their family, is awarded to academically outstanding students. In Carson’s case, it also went to a student who echoed their commitment to the recreation community.

The award gifted him additional time to volunteer at UVic’s SPOKES program, fixing old and well-loved bikes for fellow students. “It was the place where I fell in love with bikes and I saw them as a tool for social change where I could positively influence the lives of others,” says Carson.

During his undergraduate degree, Carson completed co-op placements at the Queen Alexandra Centre, which deepened his values of inclusion and adaptive recreation, and later, at Beckley Farm Lodge, where he worked with seniors as an activity assistant.

Finding a cause, and a solution

Carson continued working with seniors after getting his bachelor’s degree. “I would share the delights of my bike ride to work with them—the beauty of the sunrise over the ocean, or the smell of raindrops falling on Douglas Firs—and thought it a shame that they couldn’t experience it for themselves.”

When he heard about the Cycling Without Age initiative through a TED talk, he knew he had found a solution to reduce social isolation and loneliness in Victoria’s elderly population. Based in Copenhagen, Cycling Without Age (CWA) is an international volunteer-run program, that takes seniors for free bicycle rides. Carson and two fellow enthusiasts founded the Victoria chapter of the organization. “Access to nature and fresh air is extremely important for people’s health and wellness,” he explains. “This program allows people to age adventurously.”

Carson and his trishaw

Looking both backward and forward

When Carson began a master’s in kinesiology, his education and passion came together. “I saw how to use my education to benefit others,” says Carson. For his master’s project, he created a manual for new chapters of CWA. He applied his knowledge in adaption and inclusion theory, risk management, program planning and marketing, as well as his experience founding the Victoria chapter, to help people around the world join the movement.

Carson’s goal is for CWA to become an incorporated charity and to expand the program’s reach to seniors across Victoria. While rolling forward, Carson takes time to recognize what has given him momentum on his journey:

When I look back, I see how I have been influenced along the way to turn my passion into a career. It’s exciting to reflect on how my education has positively impacted my future goals.
Read more about Carson in The Ring