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Local group raising cash by prepping cyclists to hit the road

Who knew that zip ties could be a life saver for cyclists?

That’s just one of the items in a new preparedness package put together by local cycling advocacy group, Youth en Route (YER).

YER has a number of initiatives to encourage Calgary youth to pick up cycling as a way to get to school.

With their new charitable status, YER wanted to find a way to raise money and provide service to Calgary cyclists. The Shift Happens pack was the ideal way to do it, said executive director and YER founder, Laura Shutiak.

“When we go into schools, we talk a lot about being prepared and how having something as simple as a bike pump, or a tool to tighten your handlebars, can make the difference between getting to school or not getting to school,” she said.  

“When it came time to figure out some kind of fundraising, this was kind of a no brainer. We thought it just really aligns with what we’re trying to do and the messages that we’re trying to get across to youth.”

The Shift Happens pack contains a dozen different items. It includes a mini-pump, a multi-tool, patch kit, zip ties, first aid supplies and more.

“Things like zip ties are one of those things that you just never know when you’re going to need them to put something together, to hold something together, to just get you through,” Shutiak said.

Community participation

B&P Cycle (1717 – 52 Street SE) is one of the providers of the gear, along with Bathtub Bikes (3307 – 17 Avenue SE).

B&P Cycle owner Brent Fasick said this was an ideal opportunity for them to give back to the cycling community.

“Obviously, the big thing is supporting the cycling world, so to speak,” Fasick told LiveWire Calgary.

He said the chance to get youth more involved in cycling with a little bit of preparedness was perfect.

“This one makes sense because it’s right in our backyard. We can help promote this sort of stuff,” he said.

Fasick said cyclists need to be prepared. You just don’t know when you’re going to have a flat or get a bit of a scrape when riding. He said it’s easy to learn how to fix many of these things on the fly. Cyclists will feel more comfortable if something goes wrong.

Shutiak hopes that continued efforts like this one, and their push to have better bike racks installed at Calgary schools, will boost biking numbers.  She said they’re already starting to see results.  Some schools have seen a sharp uptick in the number of student riders already.

“We see it as an exponential. The more kids do it, the more other kids will feel safe doing it,” she said.

Shutiak also said the pack is for anyone, not just student cyclists.

You can pick up the fundraising Shift Happens packs at B&P and Bathtub Bikes, and check out B&P’s online store.