Between 2015 and 2019, TCAT in partnership with CultureLink Settlement and Community Services, the Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank (at the University of Toronto), and Cycle Toronto, launched an innovative project called Scarborough Cycles: Building bike culture beyond downtown.
- Create and disseminate new knowledge about cycling in the suburbs
- Build capacity among local agencies and individuals to support cycling
- Address barriers to cycling
- Engage with residents and stakeholders about the benefits of improved cycling infrastructure
Incubating Suburban Cycling
How do we incubate cycling in a part of the city with very few people cycling, even fewer bike lanes, and only one bike shop? In 2016, Scarborough Cycles opened two community bike hubs at AccessPoint on Danforth and Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre. These Bike Hubs offer access to bicycles, tools, repair clinics, and provide civic engagement opportunities for residents. Over three years, the hubs repaired over 2,000 bicycles, led over 1,000 people on rides, and trained over 200 people in cycling skills.
The project was based on a targeted, four-step approach that other suburban communities can replicate. We adapted proven social psychology strategies, such as those used for quitting smoking or reducing energy consumption, to encourage and sustain behaviour change for cycling through a four-step process: 1) find the neighbourhood, 2) identify local barriers, 3) remove barriers and start cycling, and 4) keep cycling.
Read our report, Building Bike Culture Beyond Downtown: A Guide to Suburban Community Bike Hubs, to learn more.