Bike-Go-Round is setting out to spread the self-propelled mantra, not in Rockridge or Claremont, but in East and West Oakland, favorite targets of the fast food industry, where obesity and cars meet at large intersections lacking bike lanes and bike-friendly establishments.
Funded in part by a $150,000 grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Bike-Go-Round, a Cycles of Change project, will give away 400 bikes and training to low-income Oaklanders through December.
"Our dream is to set up neighborhood bike centers where residents can get affordable bikes, learn how to repair them, and access bike resources," said Grey Kolevzon, Bike-Go-Round co-founder.
To carry out that vision, Bike-Go-Round is working with local bike shop affiliates and community hubs to create a city-wide system supporting bike transport.
Some of the affiliates include Bikes 4 Life, The Bikery, APC, Street Level Health Project, St. Vincent de Paul, Oakland Housing Authority and MORH1 Apartments.
Low-income residents who are accepted into the program and commit to a five-hour training, which covers rules of the road, safe routes, and bike maintenance; a one-hour introductory bike ride; and a six-month follow-up; receive a restored bike, free bike repairs and new bike accessories: lights, patches, a lock, an East Bay Bicycle Coalition bike map and a helmet.
“I drive all the time. Like most people in California I depend on my car for most necessities,” said Vanessa Ford, 55, a retiree who takes care of her elderly mother. “I’m most excited about riding to the Pak N Save. I may get tired because I'm no longer 20 years old, but I'll be saving money [by not buying gas], and I'll be getting exercise, which I need as a breast cancer survivor.”
Like Vanessa, most participants at Bike-Go-Round’s first event, held earlier this month, had not ridden a bike since childhood. But all finished the introductory bike ride and one participant left the training on bike for an appointment in Berkeley. All this just in time for Oaklavia on June 27.
Trainings and bike dispersals will take place every two weeks at different locations in the area.
To donate a new or used bike, contact: