Trish Cusson of Bikes For Kids, left, brings bicycles for Candice Roberts from Cycle Alberni and Sonja Whitehead, a teacher from Wood School, for the Wood School bike program. The bikes replace some that were stolen from a storage shed earlier in 2021. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Trish Cusson of Bikes For Kids, left, brings bicycles for Candice Roberts from Cycle Alberni and Sonja Whitehead, a teacher from Wood School, for the Wood School bike program. The bikes replace some that were stolen from a storage shed earlier in 2021. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Nanaimo’s Bikes for Kids helps replace bikes stolen from Port Alberni school

A kids’ cycling program in Nanaimo has donated bicycles to Wood School in Port Alberni, replacing some that were stolen earlier this spring.

Wood School purchased a set of bicycles in 2017 for students to learn cycling skills and road sense. The bikes were stored at the city-owned Echo Fieldhouse, but sometime in April $8,000 worth of uninsured and unmarked bikes and equipment were stolen. Cycle Alberni is trying to raise funds to replace the bicycles.

Port Alberni community policing manager Dave Cusson credits his wife Trish with organizing the donation.

“When I was working as the community policing coordinator in Nanaimo I worked closely with Bikes for Kids,” Dave Cusson explained.

The unclaimed bikes that came into the police were donated to the Bikes for Kids program as a charity, so bikes could be donated to kids in schools.

“My wife just happens to work for the Nowik Mortgage Team (a Bikes for Kids sponsor).”

When Trish Cusson heard about the theft from Wood School she reached out to the Nanaimo team to arrange for replacement bicycles. Dave Cusson drove to Nanaimo to pick up the bikes and help present them to Wood School teacher Sonja Whitehead and Cycle Alberni’s Candice Roberts.

Cusson will arrange with Roberts to have all the bicycles registered with the Project 529 bike registry. The bikes will all receive anti-theft shields indicating they are registered, which should help deter theft.

“That way if they are stolen or lost the police will be able to identify them and get them back to the (school),” Dave Cusson said.

He encourages anyone who owns a bicycle to download the free Garage 529 app and register. For more information go online to www.project529.com.

CyclingPolicePort AlberniRCMP