Yasmina Kattou 09:46 am, March 22, 2023

Every day, Europe 1 looks at an idea or a problem in your daily life. To break the isolation, an association proposes to make bike rides for the elderly, thanks to a scooter. A project that appeals to the residents of Ephad, but also their children.

Offer a free three-wheeled bike ride to nursing home residents, and individuals over 60 years old in La Rochelle: this is what the association "À vélo sans âge" allows, in partnership with the communal center for social action of the prefecture of Charente-Maritime. Since February, three times a week, about thirty volunteers have taken turns to offer residents of five public nursing homes in the city, a breath of fresh air of about forty minutes along the coast of La Rochelle.

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"You can ride, the carriage is there" presents Béatrice, co-responsible for this initiative of the tricycle rides project. Béatrice now retired is a volunteer for the association "À vélo sans âge". "We're going to go see the beach" says the one who is now pilot and guide for Arlette, resident of a nursing home in La Rochelle. "Let's go!" said Arlette, plaid on her knees to be warm during the forty-minute walk by the sea.

Breaking isolation

"Ah, it's beautiful the coast... There, a few small boats like that, the lighthouse at the end of the world." And with that: "We have the marine smell, we have a little iodine," explains the journalist of Europe 1. "Yes, the sound of the sea stirring a little bit. Every time, it's the same... I have tears in my eyes" marvels Arlette in front of the Atlantic Ocean, and where we see in the distance the Ile de Ré.

Thanks to the tricycle rides, La Rochelaise was able to break the isolation and meet new people. She is delighted: "I once had a brave elderly gentleman for example, who looked delighted. Then I had others, it depends on the days" enthuses the one who enjoys the sea air by bike for the fourth time already. An initiative that puts balm in his heart: "What did you feel before?" "Loneliness alone, a little bit".

Sad moments quickly forgotten when she raves when she discovers along the way to the lighthouse at the end of the world a green alley, synonymous with the arrival of spring: "You see the little daisies that are also starting to make a beautiful little carpet there".

As the blue landscape of the beach passes, the minutes also pass, it is already time to return to the EHPAD says Beatrice: "before the meal!". "Already!" sighs Arlette who, not even getting off the scooter, thinks about her next trip. "Yes, I know there will be others. I'll be very wise to be entitled to it," she says with a smile. Excursion planned for next week.

Intergenerational project

The goal of this project "is to create intergenerational links," explains Francis Bru, who initiated this initiative with Béatrice. "The goal is, for example, to get a person to walk with their daughter or granddaughter. Let one of the family members follow them on a bicycle."

But the association "A vélo sans âge" calls for donations, because a scooter costs more than 10,000 euros. The first was financed by a generous donor from La Rochelle, who wished to remain anonymous. The next scooter will be financed by AG2R la mondiale, which will allow with the arrival of sunny days, to offer even more rides.