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Volunteers make bike giveaway big success

The Leaside Morning Glory Cycling Club organized its first bike give-away in 2011, intending to do it every other year. But the 2013 event was so successful it was organized for this year too.

So the call went out again for bike donations for Thorncliffe Park, aiming to have 150 bikes, for the training-wheel set up to teenagers. Instead there were 165 youth presented with tuned-up bicycles, bike helmets and bike locks, and there are an additional 100 bikes being worked on by Kevin Wallace and his team at GEARS Toronto on Vanderhoof. They will be refurbished over the winter, ready for next year. Bikes not able to be refurbished will be used as parts for other bikes.

The drive was so successful because of the number of volunteers.

Michael MacEachern, a Morning Glory member and resident of Kenrae Rd., was the organizer. He had club members speak to friends and neighbours, put up posters and send out emails with requests for bikes to be delivered to GEARS before the give-away day of Oct. 5.

A chiropractor in Leaside, a Morning Glory member, mentioned the bike drive to a client. She passed on the word to her son, Matthew Shade Silver, a grade 10 student. MacEachern says he might be responsible for about 100 of the bicycles donated.

There were about a dozen kids from Thorncliffe Park recruited by Masood Alam, chair of the Thorncliffe Safety Committee working with Toronto Police’s 53 Division.

Other assistance came from Evergreen Brick Works, who did bike sizing, from Pedalheads who gave a short course on bike safety and helmet fitting, and financial assistance from a Morning Glory member who bought helmets and bicycle locks to be distributed. Toronto Police from 53 Division made sure each bike was registered with them.

Apex Public Relations, wanting to celebrate their 16th year as a company, donated 16 new bikes and helmets. To hand out 12 of them, people in the line-up at Thorncliffe chose from a deck of cards. The ones with face cards got the bicycles.

About 500 people in the Leaside area are members of Morning Glory. On any given morning there might be 90 riders gathering at the valu-mart parking lot on Bayview at 5:40 a.m. and heading out on one of their two routes, arriving back at valu-mart by 7:20 a.m.

What’s the connection between GEARS and Morning Glory? Morning Glory members pay fees to belong to the club, which partners with GEARS, which gives the members a discount.

GEARS started in Mississauga several years ago and expanded to Leaside and Oakville in 2011. Anyone who still has a bike they would like to donate for next year’s drive can drop it off anytime at any of the GEARS stores.

And for more information about Morning Glory itself, check MGRideToronto.com.