Older people in Gala get a birl on the trishaw

There was a fantastic buzz of excitement around Wilkie Gardens, Eildon’s extra care housing development on Wednesday, May 11, when Cycling Without Age Scotland launched its first Trishaw ‘Galavanter’ for Galashiels, in partnership with Energise Galashiels Trust, with a ribbon cutting ceremony conducted by the town’s Braw Lass, Abbie Hood.

Braw Lass Abbie Hood with two ladies from Glenfield Court, Christine Bell, Judith Cleghorn and the CWA pilots.
Braw Lass Abbie Hood with two ladies from Glenfield Court, Christine Bell, Judith Cleghorn and the CWA pilots.

Cycling without Age is a global initiative that began in Denmark in 2012 and has now spread to 40 countries.

Hawick and Selkirk have been successfully running trishaws for some time, but now it’s available for the people of Galashiels.

The idea is for trained volunteers to take people on cycle rides in their local area, giving them “the right to wind in their hair, the right to experience towns, cities and nature close-up and giving people the opportunity to tell their story in the environment where they lived their lives".

Mandy Johnstone, extra care housing manager at Wilkie Gardens, said: “This was our first public social event at Wilkie Gardens since the official opening last November.

"We invited guests from neighbouring Glenfield Court, Oakwood Park, Abbotsford Court and Cornmill Court. and lots of tenants and guests were delighted to ride in the brand-new trishaw as this great service is open to everyone in the community.”

Guest speaker, Christine Bell, chief executive of Cycling Without Age Scotland, said she was delighted to be able to launch the Galashiels ‘Chapter’ which was only made possible thanks to the tireless fundraising of the project team, Jim and Sheila Johnston.

Judith Cleghorn, chair of Galashiels Community Council, thanked all the individuals and organisations involved in the project, including Christine Bell of Cycling Without Age Scotland, the Energise Trust, Jim and Sheila Johnstone, Braw Lass Abbie Hood, Scottish Borders Council, the Focus Centre and the Diamond Cycle Centre, which has agreed to maintain the trishaw and pilot bike, all the volunteer pilots, and Eildon Housing for hosting the event.

June Pringle and Violet Donaldson, both tenants of Wilkie Gardens, fully enjoyed their ‘birl’ on the trishaw.

June said: “It was absolutely brilliant, and we would definitely want to go on it again.”

Violet added, “I loved it. It was a change from anything else and it was so great to be out in the fresh air.”