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Mouki is always ready for the next trip.

Benoît Wittock, a former pilot, has decided to spend the summer months of 2021 with his 85-year-old mother. Mouki, as she is called, has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for over 10 years. As a road-cyclist, Benoît wanted to share his passion with her. He therefore bought a Load 75 to take Mouki for wonderful trips around the countryside of the Maritime-Alps on a customised passenger seat.

Mouki and Benoît. Massif de l'Esterel, on the way from Cannes to Frejus.

When Mouki started to become sick, she asked her children never to put her into a care home. Being of Italian origin, she was used to the elder members of the family still living under the same roof as the younger generation, and she was not prepared to accept being put into a care home. Mouki has five children: the oldest, a girl, Tizzi, and four boys.

Before the pandemic, Mouki had been living on a sailing boat with Tizzi for six months of the year, floating just off the Madagascar shore. She spent the other half of the year in France, Belgium and England with each of the four brothers.

During 2019 and 2020, Mouki was not allowed to leave Belgium because of the Covid pandemic situation, but as soon as she was allowed to travel again, Benoît, one of her sons, decided to look after her during the summer months. His employment as a pilot had been terminated in December 2020, and so he had the opportunity to take care of his mother for a longer period of time than he was usually able to do.

“I am a fervent road cyclist,” Benoît admits, “and I was trying to figure out how I could share my passion with Mouki during the three months that we would spend together.”

Nice, Place Massena.

His cousin, Olivier Vander-Elst, owns GreenAer, an electric bike shop cluster in Ireland. “I decided to contact him to ask for his advice about buying a bike that I could use to carry Mouki around in my hilly home region.”

They finally agreed on a Load 75 vario being the best solution. It would come with a second battery for longer trips and, on top of that, would be fitted with the three children’s seat option with low sidewall transformed into a unique seat to carry Mouki around comfortably.

“Mouki really enjoyed the long rides that we did together,” Benoît recalls. “She was smiling at the people we passed. Of course, she could not remember what we did, but when I show her the pictures, she always smiles.” Benoît has received a lot of support and positive feedback, with people telling him how wonderful the idea and the sight of him riding around with his elderly mother was.

“It makes you think about our society,” Benoît reflects. “We tend to hide away the older generations in care homes for the elderly. The fact that I am unemployed gave me an opportunity to spend time with my mother and care for her, like sons and daughters used to do in the past.”

One day, Benoît and his wife Ilse were relaxing at home and were unable to find Mouki for a worrying amount of time. Finally, they found her sitting there, in the Load, smiling. She had gone there on her own, just waiting for the next trip to start.

Beach at Golfe de Juan, near Cannes. | On the Col de Vence, near Nice (995 metres high). | Gorges du Loup, near Nice.