Supporting seniors’ access to fresh air and exercise

Education, Graduate Studies

- Holly Heuver

Carson Sage, MA in Kinesiology graduate.

There’s nothing quite like looking across the ocean and feeling the fresh salty air filling your lungs as you ride your bike along Dallas Road. And Carson Sage, who graduates with an MA in Kinesiology this month, has been offering senior citizens in Victoria and beyond the opportunity to reconnect with nature through free bike rides, via the Cycling Without Age program.

“We’re trying to reduce social isolation and loneliness for older adults,” says Sage. “We have an aging population and we need to address this to improve the quality of life for the community and those living in the care homes. Access to nature is extremely important for people’s health. We allow people to age adventurously and to be a part of the community, even if they are in a nursing home.”

Sage, along with Kristi Owens and Marleen Butchart, began their own chapter of Cycling Without Age in Victoria, the sixth chapter in Canada and BC’s first. In May 2017, the first trishaw arrived, a custom-made three-wheeled bike with two seats in the front for passengers and a backseat for the pedaller.

Instead of a traditional thesis, Sage developed a manual for Cycling Without Age for his master’s project. “It is a manual on how to start your own chapter within the Canadian context from my experience in Victoria and the recreation background I have gained from my degree. There are about ten groups scattered around BC who are in the beginning process or starting out. Some of them don’t have the skills I have gained through my schooling and the manual will allow me to pass that on.”

Sage’s idea for his thesis began after stumbling across a TED Talk by Cycling Without Age’s founder, Ole Kassow. As an undergraduate, Sage had been cycling to work for a co-op position at Beckley Farm Lodge, and saw an instant connection. “I see the benefits I get from biking every day. Why can’t we allow those benefits to happen to seniors who can no longer bike on their own?” 

Sage’s love for cycling began long before Cycling Without Age. While doing his undergraduate degree, he began volunteering with SPOKES, a UVic bicycle repair and loan program. “It was a great opportunity for me to help other students experience the benefits of recreation and transportation. It was the place where I fell in love with bikes and I saw a social change where I could influence the lives of many people by fixing up old and beat-up bikes, so they could get fresh air and exercise—and experience Victoria.”

With a third bike on its way and over 80 interested volunteers, Sage hopes to one day have a bike at every senior's facility in Victoria. For Sage, this is just the beginning of his connection with Cycling Without Age. “I do see myself going back for my PhD to measure the benefits of Cycling Without Age for the passengers and the volunteers. It would aid in bringing credibility to the program and getting more support for the program. There is a need for that. UVic could potentially be the hub for research for Cycling Without Age internationally.”


In this story

Keywords: convocation, student life, alumni, aging, kinesiology, co-op, exercise science

People: Carson Sage

Publication: The Ring

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