Stories of Bike Host 2017
Bike Host ended with a blast at the Access Point on Danforth on October 28. Newcomers and Mentors who had completed 10 or more activities received the certificates. Newcomers also got to receive a used bike as incentive to continue their cycling journeys in their new homeland!
Nadia is one of those participants. She can be seen here with her awarded bike. She wrote a special thank you note: “I am writing to say thank you very much for nice summer program, for opportunity to meet new friends, and find interesting places, and know better Toronto! On Thursday I have received the bike! Thank you Rubeen, thank you CultureLink!”
Nadia’s story follows. You can also check out our Bike Host 2017 video on YouTube.
By Nadia Kolosova
Green, red or white? Which colour do you like more? Jim asked me. There were several bicycles on the green grass. This was a difficult question for a woman. I was looking at the red and white bicycles, and they looked more modern and nice… but, of course, I had understood, that my choice will be the green one. All my life I have chosen green colour. If, for example, I need a new dress, or jacket, or any other thing, what would necessary be perfect for me would be in green. And guess what? The quality, style and any other attributes of that green item would also suit my taste. Green has always been a happy colour for me.
“Green!” was my answer. Jim approved my choice and told me about the technical specifications of this model of bike. It turned out that the bike was a famous model and of good quality. Jim is really a professional! All summer I did not have any technical problems with my bike! Jim checked the wheels, and adjusted the height of the steering column and the seat so that I can ride my bicycle safely and comfortably. He also explained how to service it, after which he asked me to ride it. My new bike was comfortable, stable, and sturdy. Maybe it looked too large, but it was my favorite colour! At home, I called it affectionately “ласково, my green alligator” because, at my apartment, the bike looked too large and heavy. I was sure that it was my choice.
Only later when I passed my riding exam I noticed that the number of my bicycle was thirteen, which was written in small digits on the frame.
This riding test was conducted by Mik, whom I met at school during one of my classmate’s presentation, a week before the summer vacation. As everybody was worried and serious about their presentations since it is a responsible job, Mik brought kind of fresh air and a new wave of positive thinking into the classroom. He told us exciting stories about Bike Host, about the rules for bicyclists, and it was impossible not to participate in the company.
And now, after two and a half months, I see the results of my participation in this enterprise : I have met new friends, I have also ridden 140 kilometres, which is my personal record! I have never ridden so much! My first goal was to improve my English and to speak with people, but later, I have understood how many advantages I have gained having the bike: I have visited a lot of places by bike; it has saved me money; I have discovered wonderful parks; made new friends; and participated in events as a volunteer. For me to be a volunteer was not easy because of the level of my English, but Rubeen is absolutely a talented person, who explained everything and everybody felt her kindness and heartiness. My volunteer experience gave me the opportunity to meet with interesting people: Lea, for example, a PhD student from the University of Toronto who is conducting research on the Bike Host program. Lea is an intelligent, enthusiastic and beautiful girl. To conclude, I hope my bike experience has been helpful for her project. Also, Louise, my mentor, helped me a lot with the map, and how to ride properly in unknown places, which was crucial for me this summer, as I was riding a lot where I had never been before.
Now, I know that number thirteen is as lucky as the green colour!
All in all, the Bike Host gave me a plenty of opportunity for riding and meeting new friends.
Thank you very much for it!
Bike Host is affiliated with CultureLink’s Community Connections Mentorship Program, funded by Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees Canada. In 2017, it is offered in collaboration with the South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) and Scarborough Cycles, a project funded by the Metcalf Foundation and led by the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, a project of Clean Air Partnership, with partners Cycle Toronto, the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank, and CultureLink.