Building community through bicycle rides

By Kelly Salance

Published May 6, 2016
Last modified May 6, 2016

When Zendesk moved to the Mid-Market neighborhood of San Francisco almost five years ago, we quickly became friends with our neighbors at the Curry Senior Center. From helping at Bingo to assisting with their meal service program to supporting their LGBTQ parties, we have a developed a strong and lasting relationship with their staff and feisty residents.

Today, we embark on a new adventure with Curry Senior Center, one we are very excited about—bike riding! We partnered with the Copenhagen-based non-profit, Cycling Without Age, to gift Curry Senior Center with two new hybrid trishaw bikes. These bikes allow volunteers to take local seniors out for rides in their community.

Cycling Without Age is built on the concept that we can create a greater sense of community through the shared experience of a bike ride. During a ride, seniors and their “pilots” can share stories and build relationships. This is especially important for seniors in the Tenderloin, where breaking social isolation is necessary. Through this program, something as small as a bike ride can remind isolated seniors of their youth and build connections with their neighbors. It’s especially impactful for those that are isolated because of their limited mobility.

To celebrate this launch, Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane and Curry Senior Center Executive Director, David Knego, took four seniors out for an inaugural trishaw ride. Although it was raining, the seniors stayed warm and dry with the help of the trishaw’s built-in cover and waterproof blanket. With Zendesk employees riding along, the group made its way from Curry Senior Center to Zendesk, where they enjoyed a picnic.

Cycling Without Age launch at the Curry Senior Center

While Zendesk’s business stems from building relationships between businesses and their customers, we understand the importance of all the relationships in our lives and strive to foster that with our neighbors. Going forward, Zendesk employees will have weekly opportunities to take Curry seniors out for a ride. We’re excited to be able to volunteer in such a unique and meaningful way, and to get to know our neighbors even better.

To learn more about Cycling Without Age, check out our interview on Relate with the non-profit's creator, Ole Kassow