Marian Thomas, 85, recently took a biking trip to see her deceased husband, Frank's, old farmlands on Post Road.

Thomas, a resident of Dublin Retirement Village, an independent living community operated by Senior Star, got a chance to see Dublin's roadways and fields all without going outdoors.

Thomas, who said she first came to Dublin in 1941, is one of a group of residents to try BikeAround, which lets people ride on a stationary bike in front of a projection video screen to virtually travel to places of their choice via Google Street View. The technology was invented by biochemical engineer Anne Christine-Hertz.

Senior Star locations in Toledo, Chicago and Davenport, Iowa, also now are using the program, which was developed in Sweden, said Ron Keller, Dublin Senior Star executive director.

Keller said he heard about BikeAround from a fellow Central Ohio Alzheimer's Association board member last summer.

The program provides physical and cognitive exercise for seniors, giving them the opportunity to keep their minds active through reminising, Keller said.

The activity also can be a positive bonding opportunity for residents and their family members.

"It's a good thing for them to do together," he said.

Charlie Stenner, of Centerville, Georgia, watched his mother, 89-year-old Patricia Stenner, visit places where she lived in Plain City and Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

"I think it's a fantastic way to bring her down memory lane," Stenner said.

For Kazumi Nishioka, using BikeAround was interesting, but scary in a way.

Nishioka, 91, said she decided to virtually visit Queens, New York, where she had her children.

"I wanted to see what the house looked like," she said.

What she found, she said, was that the house looked completely different, and the maple trees that were once there were gone.

Assisted living residents began using BikeAround in 30-minute sessions at the end of February and the beginning of March, said Andrea Klabbatz, independent living program director. So far, at least 20 people have used the program, she said.

Residents typically choose to virtually visit places where they grew up, or where they had children, she said.

Like Nishioka, they notice many differences between their memories of the locations and how they look now, Klabbatz said.

Klabbatz said she enjoys hearing the residents' stories as they explore.

"It brings up memories and stories along the way," she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah