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Article: Markham Cycles and Bike Host

Afghan women ride bikes at Markham Cycles

An article about Markham Cycles was featured recently on York Region’s website. Markham Cycles is home to CultureLink’s Bike Host program, which matches newcomers with cycling mentors to keep them cycling in Canada. To get involved with Bike Host, email Grace McNee at

Bicycle hub rolls into Milliken Mills area of Markham

Markham Cycles to host community rides, bike repair workshops, mentorship, loan program, e-bike tryouts

Jul 04, 2019, by Simone Joseph, Markham Economist & Sun

The women in Najia Zewari‘s health and wellness group all had the same dream — they wanted to ride bicycles.

“Many Afghan women want to bike, but they are scared if someone sees. They dream to bike, it’s like they dream to fly,” Zewari said.

She spoke at the launch of the new bicycle hub called Markham Cycles on July 3 at Milliken Mills Community Centre and Library. A bicycle hub is defined as a welcoming space that includes cycling programs and other assistance to help spark cycling adoption (more people bicycle riding).

The women in Zewari’s health and wellness group for Afghan women (and some Iranian women, too) had asked her (their leader) to help them gain bicycle riding experience. They approached Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works about a cycling program there and they also got help from Toronto’s Gateway Bike Hub where they learned about repairs.

“They learned — all the newcomers. They felt empowered. They felt they could relate to the community,” Zewari said. These women had experienced war and bomb blasts, Zewari said. Bicycle riding relaxes them. “You need a peaceful mind.”

Zewari learned first-hand that bicycle riding also has other benefits. “Biking impacts health, depression, stress, isolation.”

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