LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- With travel restrictions and more people staying close to home as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, interest in cycling is exploding and bikes continue to be some of the hottest items available for purchase.

When you mix in the fact that the weather will be warming up in the coming weeks, you can rest assured that interest in cycling will only continue to grow.

But for Lethbridge's less fortunate youth, getting out for a pedal can seem like nothing more than a pipe dream.

That is, until a group of Lethbridge first-responders banded together to help bridge the gap between the pipe and the pedals themselves.

"To hear that there are kids that can't even afford a bike to be outside, especially given the times, we jumped on board to help," said Public Safety communications officer Tarrah Trotter.

The Public Safety Communications Centre (911 dispatch) was just one of the groups that came together to help gift the city's less fortunate children with a brand new bicycle.

The Lethbridge Police Service (LPS), The Watch and the Lethbridge Fire Fighters Charity Association also pitched in to donate more than 35 brand new bikes, helmets and locks to local group Connecting Our Community Lethbridge which will now be given out to kids throughout the city.

bikes, first, responders, children

"Bikes are one of the greatest gifts that we can give children. Not only does it get them outside, it's also free opportunity and it can be just very impactful," said Connecting Our Community Lethbridge organizer Mallory Kristjanson.


The initiative started with one Facebook post asking the LPS if they would be interested in donating a bike or two, but it snowballed into a much more widespread effort.

"It just blew up. Everyone at that department said 'absolutely we want to jump on board' and then [everyone else] got on board," said Kristjanson.

"Within just 48 hours, we had more than 30 bikes donated."

For the Public Safety Communications Centre, pitching in to help the city's youth stay active was an easy decision.

"We're often behind the scenes and you often hear our voices, but you never see faces and when stuff like this comes up, it's really, really rewarding." Said Trotter.

"To be able to come out from behind our telephones and help the community really means a lot."

The goal is to get more people involved in the coming weeks and months to try to continue the momentum and get as many kids on bikes as possible in time for summer.

For more information or to reach out to donate, check out the Connecting Our Community Lethbridge Facebook page.