The children of Kugluktuk in Nunavut were enthralled when Alison Harper rolled out a new idea to stay healthy and active.
The former Columbia Valley resident has found joy in cycling around her new home with some of the children from the surrounding neighbourhood.
It all started one day when I didnt ride my bike to work, there was a group of young boys that stopped and asked me where my bike was, said Mrs. Harper. I told a young boy that I would put some air in his tires if he promised to come riding with me the next day.
All six boys promised to ride their bikes with her, and have continued to ask her to go riding with them every day since then. And the popularity of group bike rides has continually grown since then.
I have started biking with the kids in Kugluktuk twice a week and the numbers keep growing each time we meet for a ride, said Mrs. Harper. The kids even stop me in the street and ask me to help fix their bike whenever their chains fall off.
Her husband, Const. Tim Harper, formerly of the Columbia Valley RCMP Detachment before moving to Nunavut last July, began to get bike repair requests at the Kugluktuk detachment when the community realized they were a couple.
It has been a blast riding with the kids and the kids without bikes run (beside) us just to be a part of the group, Mrs. Harper said. It amazes me how well they share their bikes or ride any bike that they can find from the dump (or one thats given to them.)
She is working with Ridleys Cycle in Calgary to help bring donated used bikes to needy children in Kugluktuk and is asking potential donors in the Columbia Valley to get in touch.
For more information about making a donation, contact Tabatha Mercer at 250-409-4079. Ms. Mercer, a friend of Mrs. Harpers, is helping collect bikes with RCMP Staff Sgt. Marko Shehovac at the Invermere detachment. She will deliver the bicycles to Ridleys Cycle who will arrange for the communitys contributions to be shipped to Kugluktuk.
For more information about the project, visit www.gofundme.com/PolarBikeProject.