Bike Labyrinth is celebrating its tenth anniversary. My name is Ella, and as co-founder of Bike Labyrinth, I've written a three-part piece about the past ten years and today. In part one, you can find out how it all started, and in part two, you can read about what happened next. That brings us to part three of our (partial) summary of Bike Labyrinth's first decade.
The world we live in today, in 2021, has a rapidly aging population, with Japan leading the way. In that country, people 65 and older make up a quarter of the population. And the projection is that a third of the nation’s inhabitants will be over 65 by 2050.
Japan is what we call a super-aged society. I traveled there with Hugo de Jonge, our Minister of Health Welfare and Sport, and others, to find out how Japan is dealing with the challenges of aging and an aging society.
We’re about 15 years behind Japan here in the Netherlands, but we are also aging. 19.8% of Dutch residents are over 65, compared to only 12.4% in 1990. The picture across the rest of Europe isn't much different; over 22% of the population in Germany, Finland, and Italy are over 65.
And aging comes with challenges. Statistics Netherlands writes: In 2021, old-age dependency was 34 percent, i.e., for every person over 65, there are three working-age people (20 to 65). In the years to come, that number will rise to nearly 50 percent before slightly declining, according to population projections.
How will we tackle the difficulties of an aging population? How will we care for a growing elderly demographic with increasingly fewer people? How do we ensure that the knowledge, experience, and skills of our elderly aren’t lost in the process?
Japan has solutions and ideas that we could learn from. But, there too, as the elderly population continues to grow, so do its challenges. These are big issues that call for comprehensive, well-thought-out solutions. We don't have those yet, but we can make a difference with Bike Labyrinth to help get us closer to them. Because let's face it – we want to grow old, but we also want that process to be healthy, to involve a high quality of life.
At Bike Labyrinth, we’re ambitious. We aim to encourage as many people in care institutions as possible to start biking, regardless of age, disability, or weather conditions. We aim to give users the opportunity to explore the world without borders and recall past experiences. It’s a simple way to keep moving with virtual, interactive bike tours. From back roads to big cities – we cycle the world!
Believing that we can make the world just that little bit better drives our ambition. We aim to get people to exercise because people who exercise are happier. Happier people are easier to care for, making their caregivers happier. And happy caregivers? They experience less stress. That’s how Bike Labyrinth helps make good care a little more of a reality and life a whole lot more fun.
We make Bike Labyrinth! We are a pioneer, market leader, and the front-runner in our field. Bike Labyrinth has over 600 high-quality routes. It’s a user-friendly product (click a button and it's up and running!) that’s made lots of people happy.
An in-house team of 25 based in The Hague gets it all (or nearly all) done, from start to finish. We invent, create, produce, market, sell, and offer service on behalf of our customers in Europe, Japan, and the rest of the world.
Yes. We were featured in The New York Times in a groundbreaking article on how to deal with people with dementia without relying on too much medication. We were also interviewed by the BBC, and continue to attract attention from local papers. You can’t walk into an assisted living facility that doesn’t have or want a Bike Labyrinth.
Our corporate goal aligns with Bike Labyrinth's – we want to stay healthy. We’re growing, and we’re a long way away from our peak. Plenty of people still need to start exercising, and we’re brimming with plans for a more enticing Bike Labyrinth. More enticing for care facility residents, but also for ordinary folks at home in the future. After all, the faster the population ages, the fewer people you’ll find living in care facilities, proportionally. And the older our population gets, the more resources we'll need. You haven’t seen the last of us yet. We’re going to keep working hard to raise the quality of life, especially for those in their twilight years. And like our users, we hope to live to be at least eighty.
P.S. Obviously, we didn’t go to Japan without shooting a few amazing routes. Are you curious? Take a spin through Tokyo, Osaka, or beneath a canopy of cherry blossoms.