Greening Vancouver, Greening Settlement

August 8, 2013

MOSAIC has partnered with BikeHUB, Metro Vancouver’s most recognized cycling organization, to deliver three sessions of free cycling programs to newcomers in Burnaby and Vancouver. The lessons provided basic cycling skills for beginners, road practice for advanced riders and important information on road safety. In addition, 13 Vancouver newcomers with a demonstrated need for bikes which would make a significant positive impact on their lives received bikes to take home, thanks to the generous support of the Vancouver Foundation and PEDAL.The sessions continue MOSAIC’s “green settlement” initiatives that emphasize including newcomers in making the Lower Mainland a sustainable community. Participants were quick to point out the environmental advantages of cycling, but they also reminded us how cycling has always existed as an essential mode of transport and is a feasible alternative to driving, and even Transit. One of the participants noted, through language support from a Settlement Worker, “I’ve only been in Canada for a couple of months, can’t drive and don’t know enough people who own a car and can give me a ride. I really rely on the Skytrain but not the bus because I can’t understand the stop announcements. So for places where there is no bus, like the community centre, where I like to visit every week, it’s a long walk”.Most of the participants were active cyclists in their home country, often using their bikes as a day-to-day mode of transport, but found themselves drifting away from this practice after coming to Canada. As experienced riders, they knew how important it is to understand traffic regulations and customs in order to share the road with drivers in a safe manner. But with cultural and linguistic barriers, these newcomers simply did not know how to begin to get back on a bike. MOSAIC’s partnership with the BikeHUB Program gave these newcomers a much-needed hand in this respect as BikeHUB Facilitators, with language support from Settlement Workers, were able to provide practical, hands-on information that catered to the newcomers’ cycling skills.