Marvin Macaraig, Health Promoter and Scarborough Cycles Coordinator spoke to Michael Polanyi from the Toronto Environmental Alliance about the role community hubs and their response during the pandemic, and the role these spaces can play in creating equitable neighbourhoods.
“Walking, cycling, and other forms of low-carbon, active transportation have become even more critical during COVID-19. When most community bike repair hubs closed and more people became reliant on cycling, the Scarborough Cycles Bike Hub at AccessPoint on Danforth was able to keep its doors open. This locally-centred program works with diverse residents to remove barriers to help them start cycling safely and equips them with the tools and skills to keep cycling.
The community bike hub provided a vital resource to help local residents ensure they had the tools they needed to get around for work, essential shopping and more, while safely physically distancing. Scarborough Cycles also provided emergency bike repair kits, with instructions that enabled residents to complete simple repairs by themselves.
“We found that many of our previous clients who had been using our bike hub had acquired many of the skills and tools they needed for maintaining their bikes. During the first few weeks, about 80% of the people coming to the hub were new. We also had people coming to the hub from as far as Cabbagetown by foot because we were the only bicycle repair space open.”