Cycling Without Age is back with new locations for free three-wheeled rides

New locations include Cary and Petersen Park in McHenry

Cycling Without Age McHenry County provides free rides to those age 55 and older. Rides are conducted on three-wheeled cycles called trishaws, and are piloted by trained volunteers. 
Provided by Cycling Without Age McHenry County

Cycling Without Age McHenry County returns for its fifth season with new public ride locations in Cary and Petersen Park in McHenry.

The volunteer-run organization provides free bike rides to people ages 55 and older and who ride on their own. The group’s mission is to “reduce loneliness and social isolation of older adults in McHenry County,” according to its website.

“The more people we can help, the better,” said the organization’s president, Greg Glover. “It’s an amazing program because it’s sort of this simple but powerful thing.”

All public rides will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday mornings throughout the summer. Each ride is about 15 minutes and two people can ride on a trishaw.

“We also encourage family members to come along and bring their own bicycles. The more the merrier,” Glover said.

The international nonprofit organization has over 3,000 chapters in 39 countries. Trained volunteers drive trishaws, which are three-wheeled bicycles with an electric assist that can fit up to two passengers. Glover launched the McHenry County chapter in 2019 when he retired and was looking for something to do, he said. The team was able to give about 25 rides with one trishaw the first year. Now they have grown to 60 trained volunteers with four trishaws. Last year, the group did almost 1,150 rides, Glover said.

CWAMC also provides its services to senior care facilities. They currently give rides every other week at 13 facilities and they are hoping to expand that number to 16 this year, Glover said.

Volunteer Carl Edstrom is a “Big Wheel,” which is a volunteer who manages and rides at a specific facility or location. Edstrom has been a volunteer for four years and did about 175 rides last year. Seeing the reactions of the riders is his favorite part, he said.

“I remember talking to people who said they haven’t been out of the building in a year,” Edstrom said. “We were their opportunity to get out. People talk about it being about freedom and getting the wind in their hair.”

Eric Parker has been volunteering for one year when he started riding at his mother’s memory care facility.

“She really, really enjoyed it,” he said. “The smiles and the look in her eyes and the holding my hand and squeezing it when birds would fly by and I thought, ‘Wow, there’s really a lot that this is giving.’ ”

Though his mother died in November, he still plans on volunteering at the same care facility as he’s gotten to know many of the frequent riders.

“It’s the winter of their years,” he said. “It brings a little bit of joy to a time in their life that isn’t the most joyful.”

The nonprofit always accepts monetary donations and more volunteers, Glover said. It’s in need of more volunteers to transport the trishaws on small trailers and to help with logistics.

“It’s amazing the amount of logistics it takes to schedule and make it all work,” he said.

To register for the public rides, visit the website of one of the host organizations listed below. Some locations will also take registrations over the phone or at their locations, Glover said. More details are posted on the CWAMC website at Here is this year’s schedule of public rides:

  • Lippold Park, Crystal Lake Park District: May 4, June 1, July 6, Aug. 3 and Sept. 7
  • Main Beach, Crystal Lake Park District: May 18, June 15, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 21
  • Cary Trails, Cary Public Library: May 25, June 22, July 27, Aug. 24 and Sept. 28
  • Hebron Trail, McHenry County Conservation District: May 4, June 1, July 6 and Aug. 3
  • Hillside Trail, Crystal Lake, McHenry County Conservation District: May 11
  • Petersen Park, McHenry, McHenry County Conservation District: June 8, July 13 and Aug. 10
  • Prairie Path, Glacial Park, Ringwood, McHenry County Conservation District: May 18, June 15, July 20 and Aug. 17
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