Rob Crooks shares his passion for cycling

We’ve asked our Cyclists in Residence to share what they’ve learned after three months working in schools from Youth en Route. First up, Rob Crooks shared his thoughts with us.

Gaining skills in real time

After reflecting on a very rewarding three months as a CIR with Youth en Route, a number of things stand out for me.

Rob Crooks during a physical education class

First was the wide range of student abilities and the pure joy riding a bike can bring, especially to those with no or limited cycling experience. Next, I valued the opportunity to partner with highly committed teachers in a creating a unique learning experience students, including hands-on activities such as riding a skills course, learning how to read and create route maps or taking apart and re-assembling a bike. 

It was great to see the many instances when I saw a student helping another learn how to balance and ride, really makes an impression.


And finally, seeing first-hand how by addressing the numerous barriers to choosing active transportation Youth en Route is on the right track to empower youth. Supporting students, giving them access to a functioning bike, providing secure bike locking facilities, increasing confidence through skill development and route-finding ability is a powerful approach.

Rob Crook teaching a class about bicycle parts

English as a Second Language class was amazing!

One experience that I especially appreciated included working with a quiet student in a Literacy, English and Academic Development (LEAD) class, who had not had the opportunity to learn to ride a bike. After two days of steady practice, I was able to let go of the bike and let her glide down a gentle hill and stop without falling. Wow, was she determined! 

More recently, a group of Grade 7 girls at Queen Elizabeth HS,  including some hearing impaired students,  worked together to disassemble and put a bike back together. They willingly worked as a team, with one student using the tools, another helping choose the correct tool and the others supporting the bike. The shouts of joy when they test rode the bike in the hallway made my day. 

Queen Elizabeth & Graders learning how to fix a bicycle

Power in the team approach

I am also grateful for the opportunity to work with Laura & my fellow Cyclists in Residence, Stuart and John.  Each of us have different backgrounds and bring a range of knowledge and skills to this work. This truly makes us a stronger team. 

Rob Crook during a physical education class

We knew starting out this fall would require a whole lot of flexibility in planning and program delivery and everyone made shifts to ensure classes were covered. The numerous partnerships Youth en Route have established, from the volunteer efforts of the Forest Lawn Seniors Centre, to the support of local bike shops, the YER Board and even Laura’s family members are unique and make our work as Cyclists in Residence much more effective.

Lastly and on a personal note, one of the gifts our family celebrated when my Dad passed away last fall was his compassion and gifts of caring. I set out to honor this unique ability in Dad this year and I can’t think of a better way to express this than my work with YER.


Rob Crooks, Cyclist in Residence, December 2023

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