Original Published 09:46 Apr 21, 2022
By KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
While the name has changed, the Cycle Guild of Medicine Hat’s mission of providing bicycles to those in need locally remains the same.
Founded in 2019, the Cycle Guild was originally known as Medicine Hat Cycle Co-Op, however following designation as a non-profit organization, the organization had to rebrand.
The organization is compiled of cycle enthusiasts, as well as individuals gifted in mechanics and design. Members collect used bicycles and refurbish them or use parts from scrap bicycles to build a new one. All bikes are then donated to local groups and distributed to individuals in need.
“Basically, what we do is we accept donations of bicycles in more or less any state of repair,” Baz Clarke, president and chair of the Cycle Guild, told the News. “We save them from going into the landfill, so there’s green credentials there. And then, we repair the bicycles … We go to organizations such as the Root Cellar, the Youth Hub (and) McMan. We actually take orders for bikes; sometimes they’ll tell us, ‘We need three bikes for 12-year-olds and we’ll do those bicycles up. Once they’re ready, we deliver them.
“Likewise, if individuals get in touch with us via our Facebook page … and say they’d like a bicycle, we will try to fix one up for them.”
Bike refurbishment can take anywhere from one to four hours, Clarke explained. Since its inception, the Cycle Guild has donated more than 200 bicycles. This year, members hope to donate at least 100.
While children are the primary recipients of Cycle Guild bicycles, Clarke and his team of four are willing to help individuals of all ages.
“We will give bicycles to adults as well,” Clarke said. “We don’t (discriminate). If somebody comes and asks us for a bicycle, they say they need one, we’ll provide them with one.”
Clarke believes the bikes have numerous benefits for recipients.
“We think it’s a very healthy pastime for people to get into, especially children,” Clarke said. “We hope it makes them happy … For kids, it’s also a mode of transport to get from A to B as well as a play thing, so I hope it gives them enjoyment … Hopefully the children get into a lifetime of riding bicycles (as) sort of a healthy pastime.”
The Cycle Guild team, which is currently comprised of five members, operates out of Safety City.
Clarke is grateful to Safety City for the use of the property, as well as the City of Medicine Hat, which recently awarded the organization with a Community Vibrancy Grant.
Clarke hopes with the recent rebrand the Cycle Guild of Medicine Hat will continue to grow and provide bicycles to those in need. He encourages anyone interested in donating a used bicycle, bike parts, time or finances to connect with the Cycle Guild team via their Facebook page.
This item reprinted with permission from Medicine Hat News, Medicine Hat, Alberta