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Bike Mentorship Program Empowers Vancouver Newcomers with Cycling

Donate now to HUB Cycling to support communities that face barriers to healthier transportation.

HUB Cycling 30 Nov 2021 | TheTyee.ca

A new city can be overwhelming. But when there’s people to show you around, it’s much easier to get acquainted and feel comfortable.

Local charitable not-for-profit organization HUB Cycling does just that. With their Newcomer Bike Mentorship Program, recent immigrants and refugees are matched with local volunteer mentors for companionship and cultural orientation to Vancouver’s active transportation lifestyle.

In collaboration with the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia, the program helps to enable newcomers to access jobs, amenities, health and recreational opportunities by providing access to cycling education, equipment and support.

In the program’s short history, nearly 100 newcomers and 76 volunteer mentors have participated to share their knowledge, skills and build lifelong friendships.

Today, on Giving Tuesday, we’re encouraging people to support organizations like HUB Cycling and give the gift of biking to people in their community by donating to support the continued success of programs like the Newcomer Bike Mentorship Program.

For a limited time, an anonymous donor will be matching all donations made to HUB Cycling of $200 or more, up to $15,000. Matching donations is an excellent opportunity to double the impact of your contribution.

Companies of all sizes match donations their employees make to not-for-profits. Asking your organization to do the same is a great way for them to support good work in their communities with charities like HUB.

The success and impact of the Newcomer Bike Mentorship Program is evident from Lucy and Ulyana’s experiences as a mentor and mentee during the program this year.

The last time Ulyana rode a bike was over a decade ago, so she’s rather impressed at her cycling accomplishments since joining the Newcomer Bike Mentorship Program in September. Ulyana also joined the program in an effort to create an emotional connection with her brother, who now lives in another country but rides his bike often.

Ulyana and her mentor Lucy meet up once a week and have ridden as far as North Vancouver and Richmond from Vancouver. “I couldn’t believe how far I could ride! I don’t know, maybe next time we will ride to Coquitlam!” remarks Ulyana.

With the help of Lucy, who was also a program mentor back in 2017, Ulyana’s learned how to make shoulder checks and bike hand signals, and how to travel safely and confidently during rainy weather.

Lucy loves seeing people new to Canada develop confidence on a bike, and the program has been a great starting point for locals and newcomers to explore the city together, chat as they go, and learn about each other.

“We’ve talked about a lot of different things, from our families and the foods we like (and don’t like) to the pros and cons of different job offers, and when to use ‘few’ versus ‘a few.’ Somehow, we always come back to food though,” says Lucy with a smile.

During the program, which ran from September to November this year, Ulyana and Lucy also participated in HUB Cycling’s Fall Go by Bike Week event that encourages people to make most of their daily trips by cycling.

During the bike week, Ulyana and Lucy volunteered at one of the event’s Knowledge HUB Stations at Granville Square by Waterfront Station.

“Everyone who stopped by was in a cheery mood,” Ulyana recounts, who was also impressed by the quality and content of the event. “Not only did it educate people about the advantages of bike riding, but HUB Cycling also shared free regional cycling maps and offered free bike maintenance!”

Ulyana and Lucy’s last official ride together was at the group graduation event on Saturday, Nov. 20. But, for Ulyana, there is no “end” to cycling.

She hopes to continue riding her bike and covering new ground. And most of all, she hopes that her brother will visit Canada one day so that she can become his mentor and show him all the wonderful cycling Vancouver has to offer.

You can support the development of programs like the Newcomer Bike Mentorship Program that help communities throughout Metro Vancouver facing social, cultural and/or financial barriers to cycling by donating to HUB Cycling here. For a limited time, donations of $200 or more are being matched by a generous donor! All donations receive a charitable tax receipt.

About HUB Cycling

HUB Cycling is a charitable not-for-profit that has spent over two decades removing barriers to cycling in Metro Vancouver, while cultivating the health, environmental and economic benefits that active transportation can bring. HUB Cycling has educated thousands of people, motivated thousands more, and championed improvements that benefit people currently cycling and those that would like to. HUB Cycling’s mission is to get more people cycling, more often.

For more information, visit bikehub.ca to stay up-to-date on everything bike-related in Metro Vancouver, or subscribe to HUB Cycling’s newsletter.  [Tyee]

Read more: Transportation

This article is part of a Tyee Presents initiative. Tyee Presents is the special sponsored content section within The Tyee where we highlight contests, events and other initiatives that are either put on by us or by our select partners. The Tyee does not and cannot vouch for or endorse products advertised on The Tyee. We choose our partners carefully and consciously, to fit with The Tyee’s reputation as B.C.’s Home for News, Culture and Solutions. Learn more about Tyee Presents here.

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