New Brunswick

Saint John bike share program sees increased demand

A Saint John community group is looking for used bicycles and volunteers to keep up with the growing demand for its bike share program.

A bike share program that began in Crescent Valley now donates used bicycles to families across the city

Ron Wilson, a volunteer with the Saint John bike share program, adjusts bikes for siblings Christopher, Tyson and Bella Kinney-Brown. (Photo submitted by Crescent Valley Resource Centre)

A Saint John community group is looking for used bicycles and volunteers to keep pace with the growing demand for its bike share program.

Later this month the Crescent Valley Resource Centre will be presenting a fresh batch of refurbished bikes to people in the low-income neighbourhood, most of whom are new arrivals from Syria.

About 30 Syrian families have moved into the north-end community, and it will be some time before they're able to buy their own vehicles and receive a full licence.

"They have to pass the whole licensing procedure to get a licence to drive, so in addition to the issues of cost of ownership of the car, they have that barrier," program co-chair Craig Campbell said Wednesday in an interview on Information Morning Saint John.

I foresee there will be a continued demand.- Craig Campbell, Saint John Bike Share Program

"We understand many of the newcomers are not totally fluent in English yet, although people are working with them on that. So I foresee there will be a continued demand."

The bike share program handed out 70 bikes last year to children and adults in Saint John's priority neighbourhoods.

This year it hopes to make over 100 available.

About 40 requests for bikes

"We need more, for particular sizes, and we need more volunteers to help with repairs," Campbell said.

"That's really a critical link in the whole system, is finding enough volunteers that have a little bit of expertise in bike repair to help fix them up."

Campbell said the biggest need is for kids' bikes with a 50 centimetre (20 inch) wheel. Approximately 40 people have already put in requests for recycled bikes.

Gently used bicycles and new helmets can be dropped off at the Crescent Valley Resource Centre on 130 McLaren Blvd. 

Campbell also encourages volunteers to stop by the group's Tuesday tune-up workshops to repair some of the donated bikes.

Teenagers can participate in the Earn a Bike program that rewards them with a bike once they help fix it up.

"There's a lot of opportunity to make riding a part of their active lifestyles," said Campbell. "We'd like to to further the whole bicycle culture of Saint John."

With files from Information Morning

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