Newcomers and Cycling
Guelph Bikes for Community Connection is a bike mentorship program for newcomers being piloted in Guelph. It is a collaboration between the Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partnership (GWLIP), the Guelph Coalition for Active Transport (GCAT), Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington, Bike Friendly Guelph and The Guelph Lab.
Research suggests newcomers are more likely to use active transport but their rates of civic engagement are lower so their voices may not be being heard in local cycling policy. Bikes for Community Connection aims to increase rates of cycling and build belonging amongst newcomers and is the first local program to engage newcomers in cycling.
The Lab facilitates design meetings and provided research on best practices from similar bike programs. The GWLIP was able to provide $2K to support this research.
A pilot of the bike program was planned for late summer 2020 but has been delayed because of COVID-19 restrictions. In summer 2021, 20 bikes with lights, locks and helmets, were given away to newcomers. Read the news article here.
Bike Mentorship Programs
Bike mentorship programs are free cycling programs that match newcomers with volunteer mentors who are regular cyclists. In small groups, newcomers and mentors participate in weekly bike rides together. Programs also include orientation sessions and access to skill-building workshops (on topics such as bike maintenance), large group bike rides for all participants in the program, and community-wide cycling events.