What is Bike Host?
Bike Host is a cycling mentorship program created by our partner CultureLink Settlement and Community Services, an agency serving newcomers to Canada. Bike Host matches up newcomers who are open to cycling with mentors who ride regularly. In large and small group activities, Bike Host participants socialize and practice their communication skills and learn about civic engagement, all while exploring Toronto by bike.
The 2016 program matched 55 newcomers with 22 mentors, with the support of our partners, South Riverdale Community Health Centre and the Scarborough Cycles bike hubs at AccessPoint on Danforth and Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre. Scarborough Cycles is a project led by the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, a project of Clean Air Partnership, with partners Cycle Toronto, the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank, and CultureLink. View our annual newsletter for first-hand stories and vibrant photo by participants in this year's successful program.
Who Can Be a Mentor?
Mentors are interesting and outgoing Toronto residents from all walks of life. They have strong communication skills and a genuine desire to create a more welcoming community. They must ride regularly and be reasonably confident on city streets. Mentors are required to be at least 18 years of age. At this time, we are seeking mentors to be matched with participants in East York, Thorncliffe Park, and Scarborough ONLY.
Expected volunteer commitment is approximately 30 hours between June and October. Responsibilities include regular communication with newcomer participants and CultureLink staff, planning activities with 2-4 newcomer participants at mutually agreeable times, participating in monthly large group activities, and supporting development of cycling skills and confidence.
The 2016 program is closed and recruitment for mentors will resume in spring 2017. Please review this information about CultureLink’s mentorship programs, and click on the “Become a Mentor” button to sign up.
Who are the Newcomer Participants?
Bike Host "mentees" are from around the world, who have typically lived in Canada anywhere from a few months to 3 years. They know how to ride a bicycle, and they are able to borrow a Bike Host bike for the summer if they don't have a bicycle of their own. Newcomers who would like to participate – please review this information about CultureLink’s mentorship programs and click on “Newcomers Sign Up Here!” to register. The program will resume in 2017.
How to Lend Your Support
We gratefully accept donations of children's bikes so that families can participate together, or adult bikes to give away to active participants at the conclusion of the program. In 2016, we thank Mike Layton's office and Bikes without Borders for your contributions. In 2016, Bike Host was funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Metcalf Foundation and the Lawson Foundation.
Our Stories in the Media
March 25, 2015, Metro News: Bike Host program helps newcomers get in gear in Toronto
March 19, 2015, Spacing blog: Bikes, Community and New Lives
March 12, 2015, Spacing blog: Green settlement: living sustainable lives in Canada
June 3, 2014, Canadian Immigrant: A Toronto program uses two wheels to connect newcomers to the city
October 23, 2013, Spacing Magazine: Cycling Think & Do Tank: Bikes and Barriers — Is it only the physical ones that matter to New Canadians?
Spring 2012, Rogers TV on Introducing Toronto
April 23, 2012, Toronto Star and Metro: Newcomers to Toronto connect to the city on two wheels
April 20, 2012, CBC’s “Here and Now”: Discovering the city – with a little help from some friends
April 17, 2012, Sing Tao (biggest Chinese newspaper in Canada): Click here