Bikes on the way to Cambridge Bay

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The Polar Bike Project will distribute 105 donated bicycles in Cambridge Bay this year.

The bikes are going to be given away to children at an event Aug. 18.

Members of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Sir Wilfred Laurier crew pose with bicycles on their way to Cambridge Bay as donations through the Polar Bike Project. A total of 105 bikes will be given away at a community event scheduled for Aug. 18. photo courtesy of the Canadian Coast Guard

Alison Harper, who launched the Polar Bike Project with her husband Tim in 2015, said they work closely with community agencies to identify youngsters who don’t already own a bicycle and cannot afford one.

“We try our hardest to make it as fair as possible with the amount of bikes that we are able to get into the community,” Alison Harper stated. “If there is a family with multiple children that do not have a bike, we will try to give at least one bike for the kids to share.”

The bicycles are contributed by residents in the south, some from individuals and families who no longer need them while others have been recovered after being abandoned. Bicycle shops volunteer to fix the ones in disrepair.

Most of the bikes are delivered by airlines from places like Calgary and Okotoks, Alta., and Invermere, B.C. Another batch originating from Vancouver is en route aboard a Canadian Coast Guard ship.

The Harpers lived in Kugluktuk in 2014 and the first shipment of bikes went there the following year.

“We saw the need for bikes in the community and what they can do for kids and families,” said Alison. “We choose a different community each year. This will be the last community in the Kitikmeot region for us to visit. We are hoping to continue this project next year, but no plans with which community yet.”