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Giving moms a little freedom, one pedal at a time

Giving moms a little freedom, one pedal at a time

Claire Kiruhira, left, and Christine Uwamwezi, far right, pose with their Vanier Vélo instructor Denise Inglis. It’s never too late to learn a new skill,…

Sunday, Aug 07

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Claire Kiruhira, left, and Christine Uwamwezi, far right, pose with their Vanier Vélo instructor Denise Inglis. It’s never too late to learn a new skill, says Inglis. (Giacomo Panico/CBC) Before this summer Claire Kiruhira had never been on a bicycle.

Now, after three lessons, she’s comfortable making 20-minute trips on two wheels.

Kiruhira, who is from Uganda and immigrated to Ottawa in February, says in addition to the physical exercise and fun, knowing how to ride a bike is a practical skill that makes shopping easier for her.

"It’s very interesting at my age, sitting on a bike," the 37-year-old mom of three said. "I love it and I’m very grateful … And I encourage other people to come, other ladies to come and learn."

She credits her progress to cycling instructor Denise Inglis.

Inglis is the co-ordinator of the not-for-profit Vélo Vanier, which lends bikes to residents for free and has started to offer lessons catered to moms.

"The previous co-ordinator found that families would come in to loan bikes and often the moms didn’t take a bike. And when she started asking them, she found out a lot of them didn’t know how to ride. They had never had the opportunity to learn," Inglis explained.The women start on bikes that don’t have pedals, they push off with their feet and just steer with the handlebars."I have my methods. They work," Inglis said. "We’re learning how to balance first. And then once you can balance, then the pedaling part is easy." Moms looking forward […]

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