Newmarket’s new and old cycling enthusiasts alike will soon have a new hub to enjoy the activity.
The Toronto-based Center for Active Transportation has announced that it will be launching Newmarket Cycles next month. The registered charity promotes cycling throughout the GTA and plans to offer group rides, DIY bicycle repair and more from a shipping container at NewMakeIt on 621 Timothy St.
Project manager Jennie Geleff said they hope to use their free programming to spur interest in cycling.
“We want to create a fun and welcoming space where anyone can explore biking for free. We work to build bike culture and remove barriers to biking,” she said. “You don’t have to have any knowledge or experiencing in biking to participate in our programs.”
The organization has existed since 2006 to promote cycling in Toronto, before recently expanded outwards, starting another hub in Markham. The charity plans to launch Newmarket Cycles as its next hub, with its inaugural group ride event running June 29.
Geleff said they hope to encourage more attention to cycling in the suburbs and push back against the perceived necessity of cars and the idea that the trips taken are long.
“Many of the trips people are taking in the suburbs are actually under five kilometres and could be walked or cycled,” she said, adding that many of these communities are car-centric. “We wanted to tackle this problem and really focus on the suburbs where there are these huge communities of people who could be deeply benefited by cycling and walking more often.
Bike lanes have been contentious in Newmarket in recent years as the town has paused some projects to review its active transportation plan. Geleff said they are still learning about the community but will look to partner with Cycle Newmarket and support those advocates if possible.
The free programming will also include free bike rentals using library cards, which Geleff said they are partnering with the Newmarket Public Library to do.
The hubs will run throughout the summer, with drop-in hours going from May to approximately September or October. But Geleff said the organization is looking to do some workshops and events in the winter as well.
“We want people to be riding all year round, and we want people to understand that even in the Canadian landscape with somewhat challenging weather, biking is a form of transportation that we can engage with all year round.”
You can find more information about the programs and events of the organization at newmarketcycles.ca.