CultureLink’s Bike Host program at the Markham Cycles Hub wrapped a successful summer full of building, fixing and riding bikes in the 905!Samuel Perry, CultureLink’s Health and Recreation News
CultureLink’s Bike Host had the opportunity this year to partner with York Region’s first community bicycle hub: Markham Cycles. This hub aims to build cycling culture in Markham and the Bike Host’s model complements and promotes that mission.
In July, we recruited and trained six mentors, who love to cycle in Markham* (and beyond). Then we matched them with 7 newcomers to Canada, all of whom borrowed a bike, a helmet and a lock from us. Together, they set out to gain confidence on a bicycle and build friendships and community: “Cycling is a wonderful way to build a sense of belonging to and interest in a new community” (Sonya De Vellis, mentor).
Through this partnership with Markham Cycles, we were able to deliver a wide range of programming, from Learn to Ride for kids and adults, to a Student Ambassador program with students from Milliken Mills High School, as well as a number of community rides, including a group ride and picnic to Toogood Pond with over 50 participants! Through these programs, the bicycle became a vehicle for belonging: “Along with the convenience-exercise-pleasure of biking, another very important outcome [of Bike Host Markham] was to come in touch with so many awesome people” (Azfar Adib, mentee).
Two Bike Host mentees learned to ride a bicycle this summer, and have unlocked the freedom that it brings them. In addition to the joy of cycling, participants gained a broadened perspective of sharing the road, and other valuable knowledge, like how to bring a bike on the bus. Bike Host enriches the lives of both mentors and mentees, opening every one to a different point of view, beyond their mode of transportation. We look forward to seeing the community continue to grow and flourish.
*Download Markham’s Cycling Map