With bicycles in short supply, a Montreal woman is helping kids get their rides
Published Sunday, May 16, 2021 5:00AM EDT
MONTREAL -- Stephanie Segal has made it a hobby to find used bikes and donate them to underprivileged children across Montreal.
After receiving overwhelming demand when she posted her son’s old bike to a Facebook page called “Montrealers helping Montrealers,” Segal realized there was a demand for children’s bikes.
“Six families contacted me when I listed it on Facebook and I gave it to the first person that asked,” said Segal. “I didn’t want to let down the kids in other families, so I reached out to my friends for bikes in the same way that I gave and the community around me stepped up.”
Since March she has given away over 250 bikes to children and families in need.
“She helped me a lot,” said one mother who received larger bikes for her growing kids. “It’s at least $500 or more that I wouldn’t be able to spend on my own because being single mom is very hard.”
The bikes are all donated, and some are exchanged with the families she helps as their children outgrow their old bikes.
Segal was laid off from her serving job when COVID-19 restrictions went into effect last year. Now, while her husband continues to work, she uses her free time to help those in need driving around Montreal from her home in the West Island in search of used bikes.
“My husband works so we are solid, but a lot of people aren’t that lucky and those are who we want the bikes to go to,” she said. “People call me a bike fairy or a bike angel but really it’s the people with me or behind me. It’s been really emotional and fantastic grassroots community disorganization.”
The community has been quick to pitch in. Rory Turner, who runs a similar campaign for children’s toys, found Segal on Facebook and supplied her with donated bikes.
“We both share that common goal of helping and inspiring children from a young age and we both see eye to eye on it,” said Turner. “It's a great thing she’s doing and I’m really happy to help out.”
Segal has a simple goal; to give children the opportunity to enjoy summer.
“The idea is to get bikes to kids that otherwise would have had no chance of having a bike this summer.”