What is Bikes for Newcomers?
A working bicycle can be life-changing. It can mean freedom to get to school or visit friends, or can mean getting a job that is further than walking distance. The Bikes for Newcomers project provides refurbished bikes to newcomers to Canada, to increase mobility and welcome newcomers into the London cycling community.
The project started as a tangible response to the Syrian refugee crisis and has continued to meet the needs of many individuals and families who are restarting their lives in London and need help to get around. London Cycle Link is partnering with the Cross Cultural Learner Centre and LUSO Community Services to help distribute the bicycles to families in need. In 2018 we received a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to offer locks, lights, and bells, making the refurbished bikes even more useful. The grant also supports our welcoming efforts by offering free Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op memberships and workshops to newcomers.
24-hour Repair Marathon
On Groundhog Day 2019, we held a 24-hour bike fixing marathon to refurbish as many bikes as we could to distribute to newcomers. Twenty-eight bikes were fixed in total and a lot of fun was had by all - a big thanks to all the volunteers who came out to fix bikes in the wee hours of the morning!
If you want to support this project you can donate your:
time - Volunteer build nights are Tuesdays from 6:30-9:00pm at the Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op (809 Dundas Street, London)
money - We accept donations in person at the Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op during open hours and are working to offer this online
bicycle - Drop off your bicycle during open hours or contact London Cycle Link at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a pick-up. Please note, it is helpful if bikes are in good condition (ie. don't require a huge effort to get working). Donated bikes will be refurbished and either paired with newcomers or offered as affordable used bikes to the wider community.
We want to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who have contributed to this project past and present. A special mention to Paul Seale for launching this project, and to Talbot Street Church and Dave Cook at the London Food Incubator for storing bikes for us.