The bicycle: A mobility aid for all

handcycle trike

A simple design that’s remained largely unchanged for 100 years, the humble bicycle enjoys near-universal appeal. Ridden and relied upon by both young and old, rich and poor and across all four corners of the earth, cycling delivers the freedom so often falsely promised in car ads.

Less well known is cycling’s role as a mobility aid for those who might otherwise find themselves isolated.

The e-bike as a mobility aid

For older folk, e-bikes boost cardio vascular health, stimulate the mind and can be a sociable activity – all with the comfort of knowing the electric motor can offer help when needed. And for those with balance issues, there are electric-assist tricycles.

Tricycles and double-rider bikes

Social enterprise Bike Works has launched a cycle taxi with a difference. The Side-by-Side is a free service that allows up to three passengers to enjoy gentle exercise and fresh air while carrying out journeys in their neighbourhood in a social group- all factors proven to be beneficial for physical and mental health.

Designed for people with health conditions, restricted mobility or those with visual impairments, the taxi is easy to get on and off and can carry shopping and walking aids.  Passengers can choose whether not to pedal as the electric motor can take up the strain when needed.

Cycling without age…

Like many good cycling ideas, Cycling Without Age started in Copenhagen. Ole Kassow wanted to help older folk enjoy the freedoms of cycling so he started using rickshaws to offer free rides to the residents of his local nursing home. The municipality of Copenhagen recognised the strength of the idea and helped buy 5 rickshaws, which helped the project spread to all corners of Scandinavia and beyond.

Looking to insure your tricycle, transport bike, wheelchair bike, tandem or double-rider bike?

Cycling without Age projects are now springing up from Argentina to Singapore – Britain already boasts a handful – and the organisers are looking for more volunteers.

The Cycling without Age website describes the project’s ethos as follows:

We are all heading on the same path that our grandparents were on. It is an inevitable journey of life. Cycling Without Age reminds us of that relationship with our elders and on our five guiding principles that we abide by.

It starts with the simple act of generosity. Give our time to them when they gave us their care and time. There are a lot of stories to be shared through storytelling from our elders, but also from us. They want to listen to us too and through this bridge we form relationships. We take our time, and the act of cycling slowly helps us take in the experience and appreciate it. Without age is the principle of how life does not end at a given age, but instead we can embrace what each generation has to offer through something as simple as cycling.

Wheelchair bikes

For those who are wheelchair-dependent, Van Raam makes a range of tricycles, transport bikes, scooterbikes, wheelchair bikes, tandem bikes, double rider bikes, and low step-through models including the OPair wheel-chair bike and the VeloPlus wheelchair transport bike.

wheel chair trike

OPair wheelchair bike can be ordered at

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.



  1. Edmund White


    First rate idea, we could do with some thing like this in the UK

  2. Otto


    As age increases and the reality if I live long enough that I will have to give up driving a car has caused me to look at the alternatives. A Class 3 mobility scooter requires registration, insurance and an eye sight requirement yet can only proceed at a miserly 8mph on a road. An electric tricycle (is there a four wheeled version) has no such restrictions and can easily travel at 15½ mph and more downhill. As long as I can turn my legs, I know what I will be looking for!

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