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.
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.