Pleins Rayons in Motion

Most cyclists set out on a trip with a plan but the creators of Pleins rayons/ Freewheeling— a bike building enterprise located in Cowansville, for autistic, intellectually challenged, and at-risk school students and young adults — have been riding into the unknown for the last year and a bit.

Michael Herman, a local philanthropist well known in school circles, had the means to make a difference with the closing of a local bicycle factory.

Stephane Marcoux, a pro-cyclist, bike shop owner, and recreational therapist, had the opportunity to make a difference when he teamed up with Michael and his board of directors.

Together, this team along with Myriam de Coussergues, the assistant director, of Pleins Rayons, have been on a wild adventure since the programs’ incorporation in December 2015.

Pleins Rayons started out with twenty or so participants a year ago, and now boasts a clientele pushing ninety persons. Individuals on the autism spectrum, living with an intellectual disability, or at-risk of school dropout, rebuild bicycles and give them free of charge to the community through schools or other benevolent organizations.

This recycling of goodwill, positive energy and bicycles earned Pleins Rayons the distinction of being the best non-profit for handicapped individuals in the entire province of Quebec in ten short months. This prize is awarded by the Office des personnes handicappées every two years and was accompanied with a $10,000 cheque.

Riding the wave of community support, in terms of large donations of bicycles, wood, tools, and financial contributions, Pleins Rayons is determined to see this project through to success.

While it is an innovative and much needed initiative in Brome-Missisquoi, it remains extremely costly to operate. Last year’s operating budget was $145,000 and it left Pleins Rayons with a short fall of $20,000 and an interest-free loan of $50,000 according to the treasurer’s report given at their first AGM on March 16.

These needs have pushed Pleins Rayons to open several social economy projects: a bike shop, a birdhouse building project (thanks to the Pacte Rurale), a metal sorting project, a floor sorting project, a canteen, and job training at the Orpailleur vineyard.

As president Michael Herman commented, “We are using every avenue open to us to clear a path for an underserved segment of society one bike at a time.”

Pleins Rayons is seeking government funding as well as charitable status so that it can benefit from potentially large donations. Currently, the initiative receives donations through Townshippers’ Foundation.

Follow the action on facebook and those wishing to donate should send money earmarked for Pleins Rayons to Townshippers Foundation, 100-257 Queen St., Sherbrooke, QC J1M 1K7. Secure donations may also be made online at

For more information on Townshippers’ Association and our activities, keep reading this weekly Keeping in Touch column in The Record and visit us on Twitter @Townshippers, and our website Connect with Townshippers’ offices in Sherbrooke at 100 – 257 Queen, 819-566-5717, toll free: 1-866-566-5717, or Lac-Brome at 3-584 Knowlton Rd, 450-242-4421, toll free: 1-877-242-4421.

Published: About Townshippers column, Brome County News, Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Photo Credit: Stephan Marcoux.

Photo Caption: Through the Pleins rayons/ Freewheeling initiative, participants like Marcus, are making a big difference in the community by recycling and rebuilding bicycles and giving them out to those in need in the community, free of charge, while gaining new skills.  

Need to reach us?

 mainTownshippers’ Association

[email protected]

Head office

100 – 257 Queen Sherbrooke, QC J1M 1K7 819-566-5717 toll free: 1-866-566-5717

Branch office

3-584 Knowlton Lac-Brome, QC J0E 1V0 450-242-4421 toll free: 1-877-242-4421

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday
9 am - 12 pm | 1 pm - 4:30 pm
excluding statutory holidays

Community & Culture Events

all day Exhibition: HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT! @ Musée Beaulne
Exhibition: HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT! @ Musée Beaulne
Mar 19 2017 – Jan 28 2018 all day
Exhibition: HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT! @ Musée Beaulne  | Coaticook | Québec | Canada
HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT! Museum’s collection March 19th 2017 to January 28th 2018 A costume accessory worn since Antiquity, the word “hat” comes from the old French “chapel” which emanates from the Latin “caput”[...]
7:00 pm CHOROMONDO WORLD MUSIC WOMEN’S C... @ Haskell Library
Sep 14 2017 @ 7:00 pm – Jun 7 2018 @ 9:00 pm
CHOROMONDO WORLD MUSIC WOMEN'S CHOIR @ Haskell Library | Stanstead | Québec | Canada
CHOROMONDO, founded in 1999 by director, Allyna Harris, is an international world music women’s choir in residence at the Haskell Library and Opera House on the Canada/USA border of Quebec and Vermont. Rehearsals are weekly[...]
all day Exhibition: Henry Wanton Jones. ... @ Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke
Exhibition: Henry Wanton Jones. ... @ Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke
Oct 28 2017 – Feb 18 2018 all day
Exhibition: Henry Wanton Jones. Démasqué! @ Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke  | Sherbrooke | Québec | Canada
Henry Wanton Jones. Démasqué! October 28, 2017 – February 18, 2018 Born in 1925 in the small Eastern Townships municipality of Waterloo, Henry Wanton Jones was one of the group of “rebels” who, in 1950,[...]
all day Walk in my Shoes: HUGS for the H... @ Mental Health Estrie
Walk in my Shoes: HUGS for the H... @ Mental Health Estrie
Nov 9 2017 – Mar 31 2018 all day
Walk in my Shoes: HUGS for the Homeless @ Mental Health Estrie | Sherbrooke | Québec | Canada
Research shows that small acts of kindness boost our own health and wellness. Mental Health Estrie invites you to help keep a homeless person warm this winter. From November to March, the HUGS campaign accepts[...]
all day exhibit Acéphale @ Musée Beaulne
exhibit Acéphale @ Musée Beaulne
Nov 12 2017 – Jan 28 2018 all day
exhibit  Acéphale @ Musée Beaulne  | Coaticook | Québec | Canada
ACÉPHALE Chantal Bonneville November 12th 2017 to January 28th 2018 In the exhibit  Acéphale, Chantal Bonneville presents photographic creations as well as poetic paintings where peace, soul and nature are the main subjects. The subject and[...]

Related Posts

Videos in posts powered by Youtube channel embed plugin