Many of us remember the thrill of riding a bike as a child— the exhilaration and newfound independence we felt tooling around our neighborhood. That sense of freedom—along with the very practical benefits of cycling as a mode of transportation—inspires many adults to continue to cycle.
Yvonne, a tenant at the Blossom Park Townhomes in Woodstock for over 10 years, has enjoyed cycling since she was a child.
“My dad is Dutch, so he always gave us bikes,” she says. As a young adult, Yvonne was a member of the Christian International Cycling Club in BC.
“I wanted to be where it was flat, so I came back to Ontario,” she jokes. She uses her bike for shopping trips, as well as for pleasure. “It’s fun to go with a friend, enjoy the scenery, stop for a drink,” she says. “You feel so strong after a ride, just happy!”
Kerry, a tenant at Woodfield Gate in London since 2019, is also an avid cyclist. Last year, he made five day-long trips of over 200 kilometres to different towns across Southwestern Ontario . He hopes to make a multi-day trip to Montreal this summer.
“You’re in your own world when you’re out there on the highway and taking in the scenery,” he says. “I’m pro-green. I’m not really one for cars.”
Very few Indwell tenants own cars, so alternate modes of transportation are essential. Indwell supports cycling by providing safe places to store bicycles, and sometimes lending bike locks to tenants. Many staff bike to work, and some will occasionally take a ride with a tenant as a way of connecting. Recently, a generous friend of Indwell gave funds to build a secure bike storage space at Blossom Park, and both tenants and staff are looking forward to having a safe place to store their bikes.
At Woodfield Gate, a bike share program is launching this spring, thanks to a grant from the London Environmental Network (a similar program has been instituted at Hamilton’s Wentworth program through SoBi Hamilton). Two bicycles will be available for tenants to borrow, making it even easier to cycle for fun, errands, or both.
Next year, when Embassy Commons opens in London, one of the commercial tenants will be the Squeaky Wheel Bicycle Co-op. Luis Patricio is the Board Chair for the London Cycle Link, the nonprofit organization that runs the co-op as a social enterprise.
Luis sees the alignment of mission between Indwell and the London Cycle Link as a key reason for their move to Embassy Commons.
“We both want to create a city where everyone can be their best,” he says. “Mobility and housing are fundamental human needs.”
Luis is also a dedicated cyclist, who uses his cargo bike to traverse the city and transport his young children to daycare and elsewhere.
“My window into cycling started when I moved to
a new city,” he says. “With a bike, I could learn my city slowly. But then I also realized that I was saving money, getting healthier, and living more sustainably. To me, cycling is the main tool to transform our cities into better, more inclusive, resilient places.”