Photo Credit: George Shepperdley
Program mentors and participants of the 2015 PedalWise community bicycle program tell the story of a successful bicycle mentorship program this past summer. 35 participants were guided by 8 mentors towards making cycling part of their daily lives in Brampton.
PedalWise mentor Lorie Miller highlights importance of developing a sense of community among all cyclists while fostering a group bond among the PedalWise participants. “What I didn’t realize is that I would learn to rethink the car a little bit more often myself, and I started to consider riding my bike a little more for commutes, and encouraging my children to ride their bikes as well.”
PedalWise participants agree, and PedalWise participant May Sarjoo enthused that cycling is fun, the exercise is great for her health, and claims that even her doctor was very excited about this program. “I’ve been living in Brampton for over 35 years,” says May, “and I’ve never thought there are so many wonderful trails you can enjoy. You don’t have to be young to [ride a bike]. At my age, I’m still doing it!”
May’s experience supports the survey responses gathered at the beginning and end of the program, indicating that participants gained an extra 77 minutes per week in physical exercise due to cycling, and participants ranked “Fun” and “Health and Exercise” as the top benefit from the PedalWise program.
The average participant also reported a $187 increase in willingness to spend on bicycles and bicycle accessories, demonstrating the added value of cycling in their lives, and over half of participants report using their bicycles to go shopping at least once a week.
“It was rewarding to be part of this group,” says Lorie. “I’m looking forward to seeing where the program can grow from here, because this is the beginning, and PedalWise will get bigger and better.”
The PedalWise program is part of the Region of Peel’s Community Based Social Marketing Pilot Program for Active Transportation. TCAT was retained by the Region of Peel to lead this collaborative initiative with Dr. Beth Savan and her research team at the University of Toronto, Culturelink, Community Environment Alliance, and BikeBrampton.