Svanur Þorsteinsson visits Sunnuhlíð retirement home three times a week to offer residents rides in a special wagon for two which attaches to the front of his bike, Vísir reports. Svanur, who turned 70 yesterday, has cycled over 1000 kilometres (620 miles) cumulatively with Sunnuhlíð residents.
“He makes sure they aren’t cold and dresses them warmly. Packs them in. Then they even come and ask for bike rides with him when it’s raining because it’s just so good to go out and get the wind in your hair and the rain on your cheeks. Having a volunteer like Svanur, I can tell you that’s just priceless,” stated Þórdís Guðnadóttir, occupational therapist at Sunnuhlíð.
Svanur, who has been cycling for decades, got the idea to offer bike rides to seniors after attending a workshop held by the organization “Hjólað óháð aldri” (Cycling Regardless of Age). He is a cyclist at heart, cycling 70 kilometres (43 miles) on his 70th birthday morning before arriving at the home.
“It can be difficult to get people to take the first trip, but if that happens then anything is possible,” stated Svanur.
Icelanders above retirement age, as Svanur is, often face a dilemma: if they choose to work, their pensions can be lowered or altogether cut. “It’s so wonderfully fun to do this. And there’s a big plus: my earnings from this can’t be taxed or taken from me. This is so ideal for seniors. It’s so easy to come here, do a workshop and get a license to cycle with seniors.”
Readers can watch Svanur in action here.