P.E.I.'s bicycle recycling program gives 'new life to previously loved bikes'

·3 min read
Lindsey Minard started the Reach program earlier this year. (CBC - image credit)
Lindsey Minard started the Reach program earlier this year. (CBC - image credit)

The province is donating $25,000 to the P.E.I. Reach Foundation to help it set up a bicycle refurbishing and recycling program.

"[It's] a way to put more bicycles in the hands of Islanders and encourage use of active transportation," said Dean Constable, executive director of the P.E.I. Reach Foundation.

"Bicycling is an excellent way to get that physical activity, and physical activity is so important to ... improving your mental health, so we really wanted to see more people bicycling."

The Reach Foundation is a safe, stigma free-environment for youth aged 18 to 30 transitioning from treatment to recovery and reintegration.

The pilot program will see the bicycles refurbished by youth in the program alongside a youth worker, and then distributed through the Reach Foundation and partner organizations.

CBC
CBC

"So they'll learn how to assess the bike, what needs to be tuned up on it, and it'll be a great way to build those hard skills — which are pretty great — around maintenance, and also the soft skills around working together in a workplace," he said.

"And so this is a chance for them to learn new skills, refurbishing bicycles and get bicycles into the hands of Islanders who otherwise might not be able to get their hands on a bicycle."

Youth in the program already make wooden cutting boards and handmade soap, Constable said, so the pilot program offers the opportunity to hone a new skill set.

"I think there's a lot of excitement within the organization, within the current participants as well, about the program coming online, excitement about of course the opportunity to get a bicycle if that's something they're looking for, as well as learning a pretty practical skill around taking care of their bicycles as well," he said.

"For people who are in need of an effective and low-cost way of transportation ... it means the chance to access parts of the community that they couldn't otherwise access."

'I think it's very awesome'

Lindsey Minard started the Reach program earlier this year after struggling with her mental health during the pandemic.

She said the bike program has a lot of potential.

"I think it's very awesome," she said.

"I have already learned so many different life skills I didn't know before that might be pretty simple to some people, but some people don't get the chance to learn those things. And I think this will just be another skill that will be awesome to have in the background."

CBC
CBC

Minard says the Reach program has been instrumental in helping get her life back.

"Bikes are such a great way for all Islanders, especially youth, to get active and get around cost, and emission-free. I would like to thank MLA Gord McNeilly for bringing this idea [forward]," said Transportation Minister Steven Myers in a news release.

Charlottetown police helped launch the pilot program through a donation of 40 bikes. According to a news release, the bikes would normally go to auction but have been in storage due to the pandemic.

Constable said members of the public will have the opportunity to donate bicycles as the pilot program gets underway.

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