This Calgary Charity Uses Bikes to Empower Local Youth

In addition to its mentorship and development programs, Two Wheel View runs a Calgary bike shop where you can donate bikes or buy refurbished ones.

The workshop at Two Wheel View, a charity that repairs and refurbishes bikes and advocates for equity in cycling. Photo by Jared Sych.

In the heart of Inglewood, surrounded by bike paths and the Bow River, is the new home of Two Wheel View (TWV), a registered charity that knows the power of “the bicycle as a vehicle for change.”

In the front-facing bike shop, Calgarians can pop in to donate bikes or buy refurbished ones. Beyond the storefront is TWV’s workshop where 500 bikes live at any given time, along with piles of tools, helmets and spare parts.

“It kind of takes people’s breath away,” says TWV executive director Laura Istead.

Originally established in Minnesota in 2001 by founders Rick and Tanya McFerrin, TWV made the move to Calgary in 2006. For more than 20 years, the organization has been providing mentorship and youth development opportunities while forming lasting relationships along the way. TWV’s programming includes a bike program for Indigenous youth, an employability program for young adults, the Earn-a-Bike after-school program and volunteer opportunities to promote gender equity in cycling.

TWV moved into its new almost 10,000-square-foot location in 2022, and Istead says the expanded space has allowed the organization to have a deeper impact on the community by opening the doors for growth in all areas. TWV’s growing momentum is already evident: Istead says when she joined TWV in 2010, the organization had 12 students graduate from its Earn-a-Bike program, compared to 350 graduates in June 2023.

Ultimately, TWV aims to empower Calgary youth and impact the generations to come.

“If our young people are healthier, that means there are healthier adults, and there are healthier younger children that follow, and we just continue to be part of that sort of cycle of change,” says Istead.

“We’re just getting started in terms of our impact and the things we’ll be able to do in the community through this space.”

Learn more about the people and organizations moving Calgary forward with Avenue's Innovation Newsletter.

This article appears in the March 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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