Thanks to a joint effort by HUB Cycling, Fraser Health, Red Fox Healthy Living Society, Maple Ridge Climate Hub, local volunteers and cycling enthusiasts in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, a group of indigenous youth received their own bikes, learned how to maintain them and ride safely around their community.
Taking advantage of a grant from Fraser Health as part of the Vision Zero Program – a program promoting healthy physical activity to enhance public health – HUB Cycling and our Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadow Local Committee worked and pulled all the pieces together to make the program a reality.
With the goal of getting the kids from the Katzie First Nation more physically active and becoming more independently mobile around their community, the Vision Zero Program collaborated with a specialized urban cycling program developed by HUB Cycling, allowing the youth to explore around and connect with their community using the bicycle.
In addition to the Fraser Health grant, a donation was made by the Rotary Club of Haney for $1500, which paid for a bike repair station.
A significant amount of effort was made by our Local HUB Committee to collect and clean used bikes for the program.
Thanks to the generous response from the community, quite a few bikes were collected. Steve Nicklen, who spends much of his spare time year-round collecting and refurbishing bikes for the seasonal immigrant farm workers, donated several great bikes and helped transport the bikes. We also received some bikes from Rocky Blondin, a bike shop owner in Mission.
After a thorough cleaning to restore some of their former shine, the bikes were repaired and refurbished. Due to a fire in the Mission warehouse where some of the bicycles were stored, some extra efforts of ‘de-smoking’ were added to the process. The finished products were delivered to the Katzie in Pitt Meadows.
A total of 13 children participated in the program with 6 youth leaders working with the HUB Cycling instructors to teach the younger children how to cycle safely and then leading them on a series of rides around their community. The younger students identified locations in their community where they wanted to ride and the senior leaders helped map out the routes.
“The community response has been positive, and we have filled all our spaces through word-of-mouth,” says Megan Florence, Youth Coordinator, Katzie First Nation. “All participants are excited, especially since they get to keep the bikes. They will remember this program forever.”
The program concluded with each participant taking home the bike with which they trained. The extra bikes were donated to other community children who were not part of the bike safety program.