The annual Region of Queens bike exchange is once again up and rolling for 2021.
Beginning Monday, residents looking for a gently used bike in good working order can choose from one of the many that will be posted on the bike exchange Facebook page.
Throughout the year, the region accepts donations of used bicycles and turns them over to be repaired before being offered to the community.
Region of Queens Active Living Coordinator Norm Amirault says the first bike exchange held in 2019 was modelled after other similar programs that were successful around the South Shore.
With the help of their partners Liverpool Adventure Outfitters, 18 bikes were distributed in person that first year and that number increased to 25 bikes in 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Amidst COVID[-19] increased demand for cycling or bikes, bike parts and bike supplies went way, way up,” said Amirault. “So God love ‘em, they’ve continued to do our repairs and they’ve always done a great job.
Now in its third year, another partner has come on board to sponsor the bike exchange.
The Liverpool Kinsmen club has stepped up to cover the costs of repairing the donated bicycles.
Each bike the region gives away also comes with a helmet, and the Kinsmen are covering the costs of buying those as well.
In honour of that generosity, the region has renamed the event the, “Kinsmen club of Liverpool bike exchange."
The event will be held exclusively online again. Fifteen bikes will be listed to start this year’s bike exchange. Amirault says they have another 15 or so that will be offered up after the initial batch has been distributed.
Amirault said the aim of the bike exchange is to provide people the opportunity to be more physically active but you can’t overlook the positive impacts of a community looking out for one another.
“It’s been really, really gratifying to see a couple of things. People of all ages in our community receiving bikes who might not otherwise have gotten them and it’s been really gratifying to see people, residents who say, yup, I’ll get you a bike and donate it,” said Amirault.
Anyone with a bike they would like to donate to the bike exchange program can drop it off at the Region of Queens municipal office on White Point Road.
Amirault says the bikes will be listed starting at 7 p.m.
To claim a bicycle, simply leave your name in the comments under that bike and Region staff will contact the recipients on a first come, first served basis to arrange delivery.
Reported by Ed Halverson
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