NSW Seniors Festival (formerly ‘Senior’s Week’) kicks off this week with many free activities being offered throughout the state to anyone over 60. The 2022 Festival theme is “Reconnect” and it is wonderful that this initiative offers so many opportunities to reconnect with old friends and connect with new ones.
Wendy on a cycling adventure in New Zealand.
Another great initiative run annually since 2013 by the NSW government is a writing competition: Seniors' Stories. This is a way of recognising and valuing the experiences of NSW seniors and building connections between the young and old. The top 100 stories are selected and published in a book sponsored by NSW Seniors Card, then distributed to the authors and libraries across the state.
These stories illustrate the substantial contributions made by older people and emphasise the need to ensure seniors are given opportunities to be active members of our community and share their knowledge and wisdom with younger generations.
Wendy Jannings, a Bicycle NSW Member and Ride Leader, was one of the published authors in Seniors’ Stories Volume 7. Her story titled: “As Long as I have the Ability, I will just carry on” is an inspirational tale about the re-discovery of bike riding and getting older.
Wendy’s story begins in 2008 after a 46 year break, when at the age of 60 she got back on a bike. Now almost 15 years later, Wendy is an avid rider and a member and leader of four Bicycle User Groups (‘BUG’) in Sydney. As with many people after lockdown, her plans are to see more of regional NSW this year, with cycling trips to Cowra, Denman and the Central West already booked.
“It is never too late to ride a bike and now that electric bikes are getting lighter, the amount of effort required to cycle uphill and distances will be minimised. The cycling fraternity is great, you are out in the fresh air, visiting places on a bike that you never got around to before. Riding is a form of easy exercise and bike riding is purported to slow down the ageing process!” encourages Wendy.