We had to reimagine and pivot our program offering in 2020.
Programs on pause
The TWV team shifted from delivering programs in nine communities all over Calgary and filling our shop with laughter and logistics, to having programs cancelled and working from home, essentially overnight.
We didn’t get the opportunity to work with as many young people this year as in past years with programs and our whole Bike Trip and Full Cycle season cancelled, but we did our very best to serve those we could.
Throughout the year we learned that our new programs and pivots still offered value for what they’re able to provide right now. It’s unfair to compare what is now being created to accommodate all the restrictions with what was developed before when those restrictions didn’t exist. With a few tweaks, we were still able to offer a couple of our programs online. We know that our in-person approach is what leads to great impact, but we also knew that we could still provide value in a remote setting. The change that has occurred is too significant and universal and we must adapt to continue providing values to the communities we serve.
Find out what programs we adapted so we could continue changing lives from the seat of a bike.
of Bike Club Participants feel they got to know their Bike Club leaders.
of Bike Club participants report feeling more confident fixing things on their own
of Bike Club participants reported feeling better about themselves.
of Bike Club participants say they feel more active.
Bike Club Graduation
Bike Club graduations are more than the presentation of bikes to their new owners. Each graduation is a time for celebration and reflection.
Youth come in as complete strangers, often unsure and keeping to themselves. At the graduation, we see one big, shared community where the youth celebrate each other’s achievements and have created strong identities and bonds that last far beyond graduation.
Being able to look at yourself, understand your emotions, seek out new answers, empathize with others, and build resilience are no easy feats. Program after program, we are so thrilled to see such strong team members and leaders emerge. The bike they’ve earned is a symbol of the hard physical, emotional, and social work the youth have undertaken, and the growth that they’ve achieved through this program.
In the midst of the pandemic, this year’s graduations looked a little different. Unable to gather and celebrate together as we have in the past, we facilitated safe pick-ups and deliveries to ensure that each participant received their bike.
“My mood has been improved. I don't get as quickly irritated with people but mostly importantly I'm a bit more happy and excited each and every week.”
- Bike Club participant
”I have learned that in Bike Club you can be yourself and that I like to talk about how I feel.”
- Bike Club participant
GAP Employability Program
The team worked really hard to ensure we were able to run our GAP Program this year. They found creative ways to continue programming and also identified opportunities to enhance the overall program. GAP is a holistic program that provides participants the bicycle mechanic, retail and customer service skills to work in a shop. The team spent just as much time building community relationships as they did training and empowering each participant.
Smaller Class Sizes
Because of physical distancing requirements, we hosted two cohorts with six participants each. Similar to Bike Club, our educators noticed they developed deeper relationships with each participant and the participants developed deeper relationships with each other. The facilitators noticed more camaraderie between participants showing up as help, a laugh, an ear. They were a team that worked together and became friends along the way.
Another result of the pandemic was renting out space in the Sunalta Community Centre to host the program and give everyone more room. One of the community initiatives we supported was EthniCity Catering at the Centre for Newcomers. Instead of preparing a snack ourselves, we ordered from them instead.
Employability skills include more than just being able to fix and build bikes. To prepare participants to find work, we train them to work in our retail shop, build interview skills and host a hiring fair welcoming bike shops across the city. This year we had five shops represented, one of which wasn’t able to hire a participant, but still wanted to be part of our network for future opportunities. If hired, Two Wheel View subsidizes the first 100 hours of work similar to Canada Summer Job grants. To ensure participants have a positive work experience, Two Wheel View provides a list of guidelines that need to be met.
Our GAP program celebration looked different this year. In the summer we hosted a day ride, but we were concerned we wouldn’t be able to host a celebration for our fall session. In a follow up with our 2019 GAP alumni we discovered that one graduate is working and coaching full time at his GAP practicum placement, B-Line Bike Park. The idea seemed too good to be true. We connected with the team at B-Line who were overjoyed to facilitate a private coaching session for us and our Fall cohort - with the GAP graduate as our personal coach. For us as facilitators, having one of our own alumni teach, mentor and entertain the group was priceless. For our cohort, it opened up a world of opportunity where they themselves could imagine stepping into a positive work environment of their own.
For our spring cohort graduation, one of our partners hosted us for a game of guerilla disc golf along the Bow river. One of our facilitators had made a disc golf net out of used bike parts they positioned in pre-identified locations making up an unofficial 9-hole course. We are grateful to our bike community for getting creative with us and providing fun, unique experiences for our participants.
“This experience can be described as a full circle. I went from Earn-a-Bike to GAP. And hopefully, one day, I’ll get to be a facilitator of the program for make it a fuller circle.”
- GAP Participant
of Participants are feeling more hopeful about the future.
of participants feel confident in their ability to look for a job.
of participants feel that because of TWV, they feel less nervous about my first day at a new job.
of participants feel that because of TWV, they learned about community resources.
Planning for 2021
We spent a lot of time reimaging what TWV would look like if our programs could no longer be in person. While we didn’t get to run as many programs as we wanted to, we learned a lot from the ones that we did run. Going forward, we’ll explore implementing these key findings in future programming.
Our Bike Club (Earn-a-Bike) programs looked a lot different in 2020 with the move to virtual programming. We learned a lot in this process that we can incorporate when we return to in-person activities.
We would like to offer a build-a-bike program again and hope we’ll be able to soon. In the meantime, we’re intending to continue offering the bicycle 101 program to build interest in cycling through building confidence.
At this stage we’re still being cautious about planning multi-day bicycle trips. With unknowns about pandemic restrictions lifting and funding for next year, we’re brainstorming other ways we can continue these fulfilling group rides.
In 2021 we’re exploring summer day camps and day rides. Whether that looks like learning how to ride a bike confidently and perform minor maintenance, an inner-city group ride, or a day trip exploring a new destination, we want to continue the impactful experience of our bike trips.
In the Classroom
We’ve learned from the GAP program how much richer the experience will be with a smaller cohort. We’ve also learned how important it is to have ongoing touch points with participants outside of the classroom.
With pandemic related restrictions continuing to impact programming in 2021, we’ll keep adapting our delivery to ensure the safety of our community. We’re grateful for the opportunity to test new approaches to incorporate what we’re learning in future programming.