With so many of us spending time at home, activities like bicycling are even more important to break up the routine and stretch our legs. ICA’s Youth and Family Services Team feel that access to bikes and bike skills are an integral part of their clients’ overall health and wellbeing. However, in the wake of COVID-19, like toilet paper before it, bikes and bike accessories quickly disappeared from stores.
In a triumph of generosity, through donations from both the Optimists Society and Tim Storm, a local Victoria resident, the Youth and Family Services team connected over 50 youth and parents to bicycles that fit their needs and sizes. Many of them had ridden extensively in their home countries but hadn’t been able to track one down since arriving in Canada.
Over the course of a few August afternoons, the ICA team and our generous bike donors were able to find the perfect fit, for cyclists aged 4 years old to 40.
While families now had the tools, we wanted to make sure everyone felt empowered to explore their neighbourhoods safely and securely. Having had a successful summer of youth programs on Zoom, ICA delivered a course on bike safety and maintenance, informing participants about the rules of the road and how to keep their bikes in tip top shape.
For the youth and families who benefited from this program, the chance to get around town meant more than just a good time – it was a chance to become a part of a growing community of cyclists in their city. For high school student Ali, cycling has become a new hobby for him and a means to get to school. “The bike is very good,” he says. “It’s very good exercise for the body and also I like biking.”
For the parents of young children, having a new bike means a new project for them to learn during times of great change. As ICA client Faiza explains, “My son loves his new bike. It helps him a lot to learn how to ride it. I really appreciate the help”. For parents themselves, having the chance to ride with their children on a bike of their own means they’re able to keep fit and find new alternatives to vehicles when commuting.
ICA’s Youth and Family Services Team is so grateful to community partners for helping connect and empower youth and family clients to get outdoors on bikes. In a time when staying connected to our neighbours is more important than ever, even at a distance, the bike giveaway program has been a wheelie great success!
If you have a bike you’d like to donate, please contact Robin McGeough at email@example.com