Wheels in motion for trishaw lift-off in Dodder Valley Park
Clara Clark from Cycling Without Age piloting a trishaw with Alan O’Flaherty from Dodder Valley Cycling in Dun Laoghaire last summer

Wheels in motion for trishaw lift-off in Dodder Valley Park

THE wheels are in motion for a new scheme in Dodder Valley Park that will see older people and those with reduced mobility exploring the park’s environs in a trishaw – and the group behind the project is seeking the public’s help with naming the accessible bike.

The first trishaw was brought to Ireland five years ago by Clara Clark from the Cycling Without Age group, which has recently opened a new chapter in Tallaght.

Cycling Without Age and Dodder Valley Cycling have worked together for the project, and the trishaw is expected to be delivered and in use by early next year.

In the meantime, the people behind the project want the community to name the trishaw, which will be a welcome feature of the park in the months and years to come.

As an extra incentive, those who suggest names on the Dodder Valley Cycling website, doddervalleycycling.com, will be entered into a draw to win a €100 voucher from the Rathfarnham Bookshop for a local school of their choosing.

Alan O’Flaherty from Dodder Valley Cycling told The Echo: “I’d say [naming the trishaw is] a great opportunity to become part of local history.

“How often does anyone get to officially name something and be credited with it?

“Imagine being out for a walk in the park, seeing the trishaw in operation and being able to say, ‘I named that!’

“Also, it’s nice to be able to nominate a school to get the voucher where it can be used to buy supplies or add some extra books to the school library.

“It’s a win for everyone involved.”

Funding for the bike itself has been provided by South Dublin County Council through the Active Cities Dublin Initiative.

Once in operation, passengers on the free trishaw trips will be piloted by a group of 30 volunteers, who all live in the vicinity of the park.

Explaining the rationale for bringing a trishaw to Dodder Valley Park, Alan said: “From the very first time seeing a video of the trishaw in operation, I just knew it was something I wanted to get up and running based on the smiling faces of the passengers alone!

“Then, on a personal level, I’ve seen the impact of a broken hip on a family member who isn’t able to enjoy the same level of activity as before, and they’ve always been on my mind walking through the park and visualising a trishaw in operation with them on it.

“Outdoor activity is so important for mental health and wellbeing, and there’s no better way than a bike ride – even being piloted – to elevate the mood, at least in my opinion.

“Indeed, a study in Scotland has shown the tangible benefits for older adults in care homes and supported living environments.”

Bookings for free trips on the trishaw are expected to be available from next January, following the expected delivery of the trishaw in late December.

Alan added that he hopes the trishaw will “bring a sense of freedom and happiness” to the passengers, and also to the volunteer pilots who will share the experience with them.

“I think intergenerational activities are so important, as we have much to learn from our elders, their life experience and the stories they can tell us,” he said.

The group is currently looking for a sponsor for a shed to house the bike in a location close to the park.

They can be contacted via their website or Dodder Valley Cycling on Facebook.

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