u-bikes
(@ubicycle_canada/Instagram)

In an effort to make active transportation available for those in need, U-bicycle North America is launching a new program in which decommissioned bikes are donated to a local non-profit.

According to U-bicycle North America, a handful of its U-bikes have been either stolen or vandalized since the company’s operations in Victoria began. But while some have taken damage to their locking mechanisms, they’re perfectly functional otherwise.

Rather than recycle the lockless bikes for scraps, U-bicycle is opting for a less wasteful alternative by donating them to Anawim House in what its calling the ‘My-bicycle’ program.

Located at 973 Caledonia Ave., Anawim House’s mission is to support people experiencing poverty by empowering them to make healthy decisions.

The house has recently built a new bike repair facility, making it a perfect fit for U-bicycle’s new program.

The company has committed to donating 25 bicycles to Anawim House this summer, along with lights, helmets, and combination locks—free of charge, thanks to a partnership with Fort Street Cycle.

“What we’re ultimately trying to do in Victoria is provide affordable and sustainable active transportation for the people who live here,” U-bicycle operations manager Raviv Litman,  explains. “And we want to be sensitive to those who cannot afford a smartphone or to use our service.

“Everyone deserves access to ride a bicycle, should they choose. It’s a matter of the right to transportation and the right to happiness.”

The new My-bicycle program will launch on Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. at Anawim House.

U-bicycle North America will measure the success of the program by checking in with bike recipients over the following year. If the response is positive, more bikes may be donated as they become available.

“With giving our guests these bicycles we are able to help them with a sense of security and self reliance,” Anawim House director Terry Edison-Brown says. “Many of our people are in need of basic transportation and this will open up many more options for them.”

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