Bikes and Belonging

Even in the depths of winter, CultureLink’s innovative cycling programs connect bicycles and newcomers. In the last week of January 2017, Toronto City Hall hosted a unique display of photography created by newcomers to Canada who participated in Bike Host, our program which loans bicycles to immigrants and refugees and matches them with volunteer mentors who ride regularly. Through their photography, they explored how a bicycle could help them adjust to life in Canada. Some of their work was featured in the 2016 Bike Host publication.

By the end of the program, participants were making 31% of their daily trips by bicycle – a powerful outcome. 81% said that the program had both improved their knowledge of Toronto and their health and well-being. As a bonus, 75% agreed they saved money on transit fares! A report based on analysis of entry and exit surveys, prepared by Trudy Ledsham and Emma Heffernan of the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank, is available here.

The Bikes and Belonging exhibition was paired with research and programming highlights from the Scarborough Cycles project. As part of Scarborough Cycles, two community bike hubs were opened in Scarborough in 2016, and offered cycling-supportive programming, including Bike Host. Researchers also investigated the barriers faced by suburban cyclists and uncovered some surprising opportunities for cycling in Scarborough.

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