Bicycling education for all ages and abilities is core to MassBike's mission. This year, thanks to an AARP Community Challenge Grant, we were able to bring an intergenerational bicycling program to Worcester. The concept was to create bicycling workshops and community riders to bring older adults and youth together to foster intergenerational connections. From August through December, over 40 participants took part in our intergenerational events. These events included a variety of Worcester partners including Worcester Earn-A-Bike, 508 BikeLife, the Major Taylor Association, Seven Hills Wheelman, and our Worcester E-Bike Program participants.
We kicked the program off virtually with a Getting (Back) On the Bike workshop to prepare our older adult participants for the series and our first in-person event was our Safe and Legal cycling workshop at Worcester Earn-A-Bike.
Safe and Legal Cycling Workshop
We kicked off our group rides with our Bike to the Ballpark event. During the event, participants enjoyed a casual-paced ride from Worcester City Hall to WooSox Stadium. MassBike staff set up a bike valet outside the stadium and all participants received a free ticket to enjoy the WooSox game.
Bike to the Ballpark Event, photo by Neal Mcnamara
In September, we met again at Worcester Earn-A-Bike for a Bicycling Destinations and Routes workshop followed by our Community Ride from the Blackstone River Valley Heritage Center in Worcester. Over 30 riders, a mix of youth, older adults, and Worcester E-Bike Program participants, showed up for an enjoyable time riding along the Blackstone River Bikeway and some adjacent low-stress roadways. Representatives from AARP Massachusetts, the Blackstone River Valley Heritage Center, and Worcester Earn-a-Bike all showed up to support.
In October, we hosted two group rides, a Community Ride led by Worcester Earn-A-Bike and a Halloween Ride led by 508BikeLife youth and Worcester Earn-A-Bike. Over 50 riders, made up of about two dozen AARP program participants and Worcester E-Bike Program riders, joined for a wheelie fun event that featured great costumes and perfect autumn weather. One of our Worcester E-Bike Program participants, Obdulio, brought a cooler full of drinks for attendees and Greg from Landry's Bicycles provided some interstellar ride support, quickly fixing a flat tire for one of the riders.
During our Community Ride with Worcester Earn-A-Bike, we enjoyed the autumn foliage and learned about local Worcester history thanks to Steven Foskett. Over the course of 10- miles, the ride stopped by the former home of Major Taylor, and continued through historic Hope Cemetery and beautiful Hadwen Park.
In November, we concluded our group rides with our Worcester Community Ride led in partnership with the Seven Hills Wheelman. On this no-drop, social-paced ride, nearly 20 riders joined for a cold 11 miles on road, which was selected to help participants build confidence with road riding. The route was mostly flat and included some gorgeous views near the Holden Reservoirs. It was an excellent way to close out our group rides for the year.
Our Intergenerational Bicycling Series concluded with our Worcester Cycling History Workshop featuring Lynne Tolman of the Major Taylor Association. Almost 20 program participants joined for a fun night of learning about Major Taylor and Worcester's cycling history. A special thank you to Lynne Tolman of the Major Taylor Association for sharing her abundance of knowledge and to the Major Taylor Museum for hosting us.
We're grateful for AARP's support of an important community-building program. The MassBike team and our partners enjoyed facilitating these events and the connections created through bicycling today. One of our participants summed up the program best in their post-event survey: "This was my very first group ride. It was so nice to see people from all different age groups coming together to be passionate about something we all share in common. The love of adventure, meeting new people but mostly, the love of riding. I had a great time and can’t wait for the next ride".
While our AARP Intergenerational Program is over, MassBike looks forward to future events in Worcester as we will be continuing to host rides in conjunction with our Worcester E-Bike Program in 2023.
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