Bikes and safe cycling for kids in Flemingdon Park

Organizers Matt Raponi of Pedalheads and Louis Fliss of Flemingdon Community Health. Photo Holly Reid.
Organizers Matt Raponi of Pedalheads and Louis Fliss of Flemingdon Community Health. Photo Holly Reid.

On a bright, sunny Saturday morning at the end of September, 30 children from the Flemingdon Park community had good reason to smile. Each was outfitted with a bike, helmet and lock, courtesy of Pedalheads, the learn-to-bike camp that operates in Trace Manes Park during the summer.

Every year the company seeks to give back to the local community and this year families in Flemingdon Park were the beneficiaries. Matt Raponi, regional general manager GTA for Pedalheads, connected with Louis Fliss, chiropody lead at Flemingdon Health Centre, and a safe cycling advocate, who along with the Flemingdon Park Ministry and their affiliated food bank identified families in need.

Valerie, age 8, was one of the 30 kids who received a new bike, helmet and lock.
Valerie, age 8, was one of the 30 kids who received a new bike, helmet and lock.

The half-day program included helmet fitting and safety instruction as well as snacks and a pizza lunch. One child, who had never ridden a bike before, was pedaling without training wheels before the event was over. “I was really happy that Pedalheads was able to provide our program in some form to our Flemingdon Park neighbours. Riding a bike is something that all kids should get to experience and I am grateful to work for a company that is able to make that happen,” said Matt Raponi. The timing couldn’t have been better as, after nearly a year of community consultation, new bike lanes are being installed on Thorncliffe Park Drive, Gateway Blvd., Deauville Lane and Grenoble Drive, giving both parents and kids more options for getting around.

Cycle 15 gets the word out about safe cycling in Leaside

Kris Langille (left) talks to a passerby about the need for safe, connected cycling routes. Photo Holly Reid.
Kris Langille (left) talks to a passerby about the need for safe, connected cycling routes. Photo Holly Reid.

Kris Langille (pictured above left) talks to a passerby about the need for safe, connected cycling routes in the community at Applefest on Bayview Ave. Kris is a member of Cycle 15, the ward advocacy group from Cycle Toronto. Created out of a merger of Cycle 25 and Cycle 26, this group represents Ward 15 for Cycle Toronto, and was busy bringing cycling concerns to the attention of councillor candidates. On September 29, group members participated in Applefest, handing out Toronto cycling maps, Toronto cyclist handbooks, as well as promoting the campaign to #BuildTheGrid (www.cycleto.ca/buildthegrid-pledge) to bring safe cycling to every community in the city. Many who stopped by expressed an interest in cycling if only there were more protected bike lanes in place. And more than a dozen people signed up to learn more about cycling advocacy in Ward 15. If you’d like to get involved and missed us at Applefest, email Geoff gkettel@gmail.com to learn more.

Holly Reid is a recreational road rider and cycling commuter who has lived and worked in Leaside for 30 years. An advocate for safe cycling, she writes the Ask a Cyclist column for Cycle Toronto (cycleto.ca).