Cycling Without Age Keeps the Wind In Their Hair

It’s late July and I’m pedaling down Villa Drive in Sister Bay, behind Scandia Village Good Samaritan, alongside a couple of passengers in a trishaw piloted by Don Kravets. We near the end of the dead-end road few people will ever travel down when one of his passengers, Lynn Corriveau, spots a familiar face at the end of the last driveway. 

It’s an old neighbor of hers, Sue Raye, from Lynn’s summers on North Bay Road in Liberty Grove. Within moments the two women are shouting each other’s names through broad smiles. For the next 10 minutes Lynn and Sue gab, trade barbs and laugh on the side of the road, where a couple of other neighbors come out to join them on a warm July afternoon. 

The moment only happens because Lynn is out for a ride courtesy of Cycling Without Age, a nonprofit dedicated to getting people outside for safe, slow rides. Kravets, a retired physical therapist who now lives in Fish Creek, is in his second year as a volunteer pilot, and regularly serves on the Scandia Village route.

As we ride down Hidden Maple Drive, Lynn and her daughter, Mary, point out flowers they haven’t noticed before and admire the gardens in front of some of the homes, or join in conversation with Kravets. Lynn grew up in Wauwatosa, but spent every summer on North Bay Road since she was 9, when her parents bought the cottage there sight-unseen.

“Do you remember the old Spikehorn Campground?” Kravets asks, referring to a campground that once existed near Cana Island Lighthouse. 

“Yes!” Lynn and Mary respond, a blast of nostalgia washing over them. 

“That’s where my family camped for years,” Kravets said. “Then when that closed we went to Aqualand,” he continued, referring to the campground near the corner of County Q and Hwy 57 that was once a zoo of sorts with bears, deer, fish and all manner of local wildlife. 

As I peddle alongside them, Lynn reminisces about her first job as a teenager at Gordon Lodge, then they ask about my young children, and Lynn talks about raising her kids years ago on rural North Bay Road. 

“I was a little worried when I first volunteered to do this that I would struggle to find something to talk about,” Kravets said. “But as you can see, I don’t even have to say a word.”

The seed for the program came when John Ludwigsen, a retired dentist, visited his daughter in 2021 when she was living in Prairie du Sac. John was on a bike ride down a path and saw a trishaw bike. He was so intrigued he turned around to ask what it was. That’s where he learned about the Cycling Without Age program and immediately turned his attention to starting a chapter in Door County. 

“The idea is just to get people outside, breathing fresh air,” Ludwigsen said. “Some of the people we give rides to haven’t been off the property in months.”

At the end of our ride, Lynn sends her son to her apartment to get some ice cream bars from the freezer, sharing one with me, her driver and family. 

“It’s just a great thing,” Lynn’s daughter said. “To get to spend some time with my mom outside, feeling the breeze and seeing her neighbors. It’s wonderful.”

Diane Ludwigsen, who launched the program with her husband John, said that kind of feedback is common from sons and daughters who tell them how much it meant to take their mother or father out on a ride. One of those was Ann Birnschein, who got the chance to take her mother out for one last ride during her mother’s fight with brain cancer. Jeanne Barnard always loved the outdoors, but she was then living in the Horton Skilled Nursing Facility at Door County Medical Center as her cancer advanced.

“She was pretty depressed about being in hospice,” Birnschein recalled. “But she got out on a ride and they sent me a picture of her when she rode with her best friend, and it was one of the few times I saw her smile while she was in hospice. I saw that and said ‘sign me up! I want to be a pilot’.”

A few days later Birnschein was able to take her mom out for what turned out to be one last ride with her sister, Liz Dickson, sitting at her side. 

“The ride took you down to Graham Park by the water, which was always her favorite part of Door County,” Birnschein said. “She couldn’t talk anymore at that point, but you could see in her eyes that she just loved it. It was pretty darn special.”

The ride, Birnschein said, didn’t only impact her mother.

A group takes a ride piloted by John Ludwigsen past Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in Peninsula State Park. Photo by Myles Dannhausen Jr.

“It’s great for the family members who are riding along with their loved one because it’s something that isn’t such a downer that you can do together and you both get a boost from it,” she said.

Since launching the Cycling Without Age chapter in 2022, pilots have given rides to nearly 600 people. They’ve partnered with Scandia Village, Pine Crest Village, and Bayview Senior Care, Door County Medical Center and the Sunshine House, where they now house their third trishaw and give rides down the Ahnapee Trail.

Riding with John on another morning in Peninsula State Park, he explained the long-term goals for the organization. 

“I know there’s just got to be so many more people who can benefit from this,” he said. “It’s great to do the rides anywhere, but I’d love to get more people to take rides in the park. When you get them here – and a lot of these folks have never been in the park or haven’t been here in years – it’s just amazing how they react to it.”

Cycling Without Age offers an open ride day each week on Tuesdays at Peninsula State Park and on the Ahnapee Trail. That’s where the Ludwigsens see a huge opportunity to help more older residents. 

“I have visions of giving a lot of rides beyond the care centers,” Diane said. “There are people living alone, or who have limited mobility and this could be so great for them. I could see a day where you have a group of trishaws going out and making a day of it. One day.”

Until then they hope to keep the wind in riders’ hair, one ride at a time. 

Visit to learn more about the organization or schedule a ride.

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