By Kristen Manieri

Cycling Without Age

Season 2 has officially begun and my first guest is Pernille Bussone, the Global Community Captain for Cycling Without Age.

I recently made a personal pledge to stop reading the news because I just don’t feel good when I’m feeding my brain a constant supply of negativity. It’s been nearly two months and I can already sense how much more uplifted, hopeful and positive I feel. My only source of news now is the Good News Network, which I access through an app on my iPhone. The stories that Good News Network reports on are amazing, and they remind me that there is so much good in the world. Which is exactly why I wanted to share with you the story of Cycling Without Age.  

It’s a movement that started in 2012 by Ole Kassow, a resident of  Copenhagen, Denmark and an avid cyclist. Ole would cycle past an elderly gentleman nearly every day and he started to wonder if this man would like to be back on a bike. So, he rented a rickshaw and he started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents. 

Cycling Without Age has now spread to all corners of Denmark, and since 2015, to another 41 countries around the world.

In my interview with Pernille Bussone, a spokesperson for Cycling Without Age (and a wildly passionate volunteer), I was so inspired by how one person had an idea to help just one person. It spread and spread as the weeks and years passed, but it really just started with one simple gesture. Here were my takeaways from this interview: 

1. If you have an idea to help someone or make a difference, just do it. Don’t overthink it or talk yourself out of it. Sometimes we need to just be possibilitarians and instead of seeing all the ways something won’t work, see all the ways it can. 

2. Look to see who you can get on your team, who could help you, just the way Ole did with the City of Copenhagen, who ended up sponsoring his first fleet of bikes. There could be someone just waiting for the right idea and the right person to steer it. Reach out, make some connections and see where you might be able to get some support. 

3. We can all start with just one person; it doesn’t have to be a huge movement or an official nonprofit. We could literally just go sit and talk to someone in a nursing home a few times a month and never expand it beyond that and this would be perfect.

4. You get just as much as the giver, perhaps even more, than the receiver of whatever good act you initiate. When you watch Ole’s TedTalk you’ll see that he’s overjoyed with what he’s created. There is so much juicy happiness available to us when we positively impact another person. 

5. Deep connections happen by design, not by default. If we want to connect with people in our lives in a meaningful way, we have to make the time and create the presence.

6. We all have a basic human need to tell our stories and some of our stories will disappear with each passing generation. Go find someone today and ask them to tell you about their life. It doesn’t have to be a stranger and it doesn’t have to be someone who’s 80. You could sit with your nine-year-old and have them share something about themselves. We’re wired to be known and understood. People feel amazing when they are seen. 

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It’s so great to be back with this podcast after a three month summer hiatus. If you’d like to read about our summer adventure, you’ll find the story about our 101-day summer road trip here

A big thanks to Pernille Bussone for being my guest and for kicking off Season Two with me. 

 

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