On Saturday, October 5, DUKE Heights Business Improvement Area (BIA) and local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza co-hosted a community bike race known as Tour de DUKE Heights. The purpose of the event was to provide bikes to children in need and to help them learn proper bike maintenance and safety techniques.
CultureLink Bike Hub started the event off in the morning with a preliminary Cycling Education and Safety Training session that prepared the children for a non-competitive bike race in the afternoon. The kids were offered a complimentary lunch prior to the race, which was contributed by nearby food vendors.
The race route consisted of a 1.8 KM loop from Keele Street back onto Canarctic Drive via Wildcat Road. Close to 80 students from local schools participated, and the ages of the contestants ranged from early years to late teens.
Representatives from Councillor Perruzza’s office, DUKE Heights BIA and key stakeholders including City of Toronto Transportation Services, Traffic Management and Toronto Police Services attended. Mayor John Tory also joined to congratulate the kids on the race and meet their parents.
The event was free to attend thanks to sponsorships from local businesses and organizations. Councillor Perruzza and Executive Director of DUKE Heights BIA, Lia Martelluzzi, have indicated that they hope to expand the event in the years to come to ensure that more kids have access to bikes and the supports that they need to maintain their wheels for the long-term.
CultureLink Bike Hub will continue to provide drop-in workshops and assistance to children in the community. The Hub is conveniently located in Councillor Perruzza’s Ward 7, at 15 Tobermory Drive. The shared goal is to provide more opportunities to promote cycling in suburban neighbourhoods because it’s a healthy activity for young people to grow into.