Theron: Hi, Dan! When did you first start riding SoBi bikes in Hamilton, and what inspired you to do it?
Dan: I first started riding SoBi bikes in 2018, when my brother introduced me to them! He had been riding SoBis for quite some time, and was drawn to their convenience. I had always ridden my own bike around town, which is wonderful- but when you do that, there is always the extra hassle of finding a place to safely leave your bike, and then come back for it.
For those reasons, I decided to jump on a SoBi and haven't looked back since! In SoBi bikes, I discovered a flexible cycling option that allows me to grab a bike practically anywhere, anytime.
T: I love how your brother encouraged you to give SoBis a try- some folks take a while to discover the bikes on their own! What about the Connector program- how did you hear about it, and why were you inspired to apply?
D: I heard about the Connector program at the Barton Street Festival, from you! I had been searching for a way to volunteer for a cause I was passionate about for a while, before I discovered the Everyone Rides Initiative (ERI). At the Barton Festival, I inquired about potentially volunteering with group rides. I was not expecting to hear about the new Connector program, but when you explained it to me, I knew that I had to apply.
The opportunity to play a direct role in Hamilton's cycling community growth, and being able to advocate for accessible cycling options, is what made applying a no-brainer for me.
T: It sounds like you met us at just the right time. So, what were some of your favourite experiences in the Connector program?
D: One of the simplest but coolest experiences that I had as a Connector was going on ERI group rides. There were many fun ERI events I also attended this summer, but it really meant so much to me to explore different parts of my city, meet new people, and hear about how cycling has changed ERI Riders’ lives!
The way that the ERI makes group rides accessible for everyone is admirable. Don't have a bike? They have one for you to rent for free. New to cycling and a little nervous? A Connector will ride with you to support you. I strongly recommend that any cyclist, regardless of their experience level, attend a group ride- they truly showcase the great cycling community that we have here in Hamilton.
T: I could tell how much you enjoyed riding next to ERI Riders on group rides, and chatting. Last question-what do you think that the best thing is that Riders take away from the program?
D: I believe that the best thing Riders take away from the program is the freedom and convenience that having access to SoBi bicycles on a subsidized pass can give them.
Access to quick and reliable transportation options can often be too expensive, inaccessible, or non existent for some Hamiltonians. I think that new Riders are pleasantly surprised when they realize how conveniently cycling can fit into their daily routine, and that the Everyone Rides Initiative does a fantastic job of introducing cycling as a viable transportation option in peoples' lives
Thanks, Dan! Keep an eye on our ERI Blog for upcoming Connector features.