Blog Take Over: Chris Ritsma

Being a part of the Everyone Rides Initiative (ERI) was an amazing experience for me, and continues to be so when I join the Initiative on group rides. My goal in volunteering my time for the Initiative was to interact with Hamilton’s Bicycle Share system, and to learn how Riders in the ERI program connect with that system. I was able to share the ERI’s great programming and Hamilton’s amazing bike share system with people in the community who I believe can benefit most from such a program. I think bike share and the Everyone RIdes Initiative centers mobility equity in their work, and ERI is clearly trying to bridge the wide gap of mobility equity for those who need it. The great thing with the ERI is that people who need subsidized bike share passes can self identify as in financial need of them, and I appreciate that the ERI is so open with their criteria for getting a pass. The ERI program tries to be judgement-free, and to allow those who feel they need the program to use it without question. The graduated levels of ERI subsidized bike share passes also allow for people in different socioeconomic circumstances to find which level works best for them, and the subsidized bike share passes’ features like ride credits also assist people in eventually graduating into monthly and annual bike share passes. 

While I was working as an ERI Connector, I attended group bicycle rides, and events like Hamilton Play Day. Both types of events went really well, with the Group Rides allowing people new to cycling in the ERI program or in general to learn how to cycle confidently, share their new love of cycling, and meet other people of all skill levels who love cycling. Group Rides also give people who are new to the ERI the ERI program or cycling in general in the city an opportunity to learn about good cycling trails, and which streets and bicycle lanes they can cycle in more comfortably in, instead of busy roads. The Play Day event I volunteered at allowed children and their parents to learn about the ERI, and gave adults the chance to try out SoBi bikes. Play Day was a great way to connect both with the Sherman hub community, and people who might not ride, but could pass on the details of the program to people who might find the ERI program very useful.

As a moderately experienced cyclist, it was great to share the skills I have learned over time with newer cyclists, such as people who received ERI bike share passes this summer. My volunteering also allowed me to connect with other programs and organizations working on the same solutions for equity in mobility that the ERI is also working to improve. 


Keep on Riding,

Chris Ritsma