It’s a simple fact of life: Pretty much everyone lucky to live long enough will eventually have to stop driving.
But for seniors living in Davis, that doesn’t have to mean being trapped at home, city officials say.
Between mass transit like Unitrans, paratransit like Davis Community Transit, and even plain old bicycles, there are plenty of options in town for seniors to get around.
But fear of the unknown can be an impediment — if you haven’t ridden a bus before or haven’t been on a bicycle in 30 years or more, those tasks can seem daunting.
That’s why the city of Davis partnered up with the Davis Senior Center, the Senior Citizens Commission and local transportation operators for a training day at the senior center on Saturday. Such trainings will continue to be held every six months, organizers said.
Some 30 Davis seniors turned out for Saturday’s event, splitting into one of three groups according to their interest: the bicycling group, the Unitrans group and the Davis Community transit group.
Each spent time going over details ranging from how to find a bus stop to how to fit a helmet before actually heading outside and trying out that mode of transportation.
The Unitrans group boarded a bus for a trip to Target. The Davis Community Transit group took a ride as well. And in the parking lot adjacent to the senior center, about seven seniors gave various cycling options a try.
On hand to assist them were Dave “DK” Kemp, the city’s bicycling and pedestrian coordinator, and Ken Bradford of Ken’s Bike & Ski.
They had a variety of bikes available, from regular two-wheeled cycles to a bike with an electric motor and three-wheeled bikes as well.
Gilda Ceppos gave a couple of bikes a try.
“I still drive,” she said, “but I know I won’t be able to after a while, so I know I should be thinking about this.”
She hadn’t been on a bike in many years, she said, had never used hand brakes and had never tried out a trike.
On Saturday, she did all three.
Nan Rowan also tried out several of the models, proving the old adage that “it’s just like riding a bike” is true:
“Believe it or not, I think it’s been 40 years since I’ve been on a bike,” she said after riding smoothly around the parking lot on a traditional bicycle.
Doug McColm, meanwhile, gave a tricycle a whirl.
He, too, still drives, and bicycles as well, but was impressed with the three-wheeled model.
“It’s a really smooth ride,” he said, “and has a very comfortable seat. It’s fun to try them out.”
He left the training thinking he might just want to buy one.
Prior to heading out to the parking lot, Kemp and Bradford had discussed the various mechanics of the models, safety features, rules of the road and more. And both raved about the many benefits of cycling as a mode of transportation.
“Bicycling makes for healthier people,” Bradford said.
His mother, he said, rides a trike all over town — even to church “in her church clothes.”
“She still has her freedom,” he noted. “And it’s good to keep your freedom.”
“It’s all about keeping your health and living your life to the fullest,” added Kemp.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8051. Follow her at @ATernusBellamy