ERI Photo Contest Winner: Nate Burger

“Among the Trilliums” taken by Nate Burger, Lead Field Technician at SoBi Hamilton.

This picture was taken in the Louth Conservation Area in Lincoln, about 52 kilometers west of Hamilton. Nate and his roommate Anthony Saracino set out together on Saturday May 2nd for a bike ride. They were equipped with camping gear, the promise of a familiar route, and a desire to explore. Nate and Anthony have been friends since grade school, and have biked from Hamilton to Welland to visit family many times before. And so, the start of their route was planned: Ridge Rd into Beamsville, onto Vineland towards Balls Falls Conservation Area. Nate and Anthony zigzagged through Beamsville and stumbled upon Staff Road, they decided it looked interesting and ventured downwards. Louth Conservation Area had not been on their list of possible destinations when they set out, so it was a new and unexpected discovery for the cyclists. Once in the Louth Conservation Area they found themselves in a valley and had to carry their bikes for a while. While the valley might not have been the best area for biking in hindsight, Nate and Anthony decided it was beautiful nonetheless, and were glad they ventured off course and found it.

The picture Nate took is a few kilometers into the Louth Conservation Area, where the two cyclists stopped for rest and a snack. Pictured here is Anthony and the bikes among the trilliums, the scene inspiring the photo’s title. With daylight still remaining, they biked into Welland and onwards to Merritt Island, where Nate described how “the New Canal, the Old Canal, and the River [Welland River] meet.”

Nate describes the trip from Hamilton to the Louth Conservation Area as taking 3-4 hours by bike. He states that, “if you are averaging 20 km/hour, it should take you 3 hrs.” Nate also describes this route as, “not for the faint of heart, but a great challenging ride for beginners thinking of trying longer rides [not too many hills].” The route Nate and Anthony took, described above, is predominately on rural roads with low vehicle traffic.

I asked Nate how COVID-19 has affected his cycling: “I have only been cycling with my roommate [Anthony], instead of with other friends from different households. It has forced me to explore more - I have found different routes and back roads. And I have found a lot of beauty and new routes that are not too far away, and in my own backyard. It has also made me really appreciate Niagara. Biking along and seeing the blossoming cherry trees, orchards and the rolling vineyards - you might as well be in France”.

Here are some other forest ride suggestions from Nate:
  1. “The Rail Trail is open and a classic forest trail. Pick up a bike from the Wentworth stairs, and there you have a beauty ride.”
  2. “The Red Hill Valley is another great forest ride. Take the rail trail to Albion Falls, and you can enter the valley at the Red Hill Trail south parking lot”.


The Everyone Rides team would like to thank Nate for submitting his photo, and remind you that we are still accepting cycling photos to feature in our newsletter and on social media.

Share

Sunset Memory Rides, and a Contest for Spring

All photos taken by Theron Pierce unless otherwise noted

This past Sunday night at sunset, when the soaring temperatures in Hamilton had retreated and no longer threatened to overwhelm my winter-adjusted body, I went for a long bike ride. The route I chose reminded me of languid summer nights in 2019: cycling on a SoBi bike behind 200 Hamilton GlowRiders as electronica music pumped through the air around us, and rollerbladers with fairy wings and bubble sticks expertly wove between us like a royal escort to the waterfront.

  

Images: Hamilton GlowRiders gather in September 2019 for the last ride of the season Credit: Ramucy Photography.

Shortly before the September 2019 GlowRide, I had carefully decorated the SoBi I was riding with lights- little unicorns from the dollar store-- and placed an ice cream battery lamp in the bike’s basket. My efforts were well intended, but paled in comparison to the neon visions around me; many whose SoBi bikes (and bodies) were lit with shifting LED wires attached to their limbs,and rotating disco balls that shed light fragments around them.

 

Credits: Left, Ramucy Photography. Right: Elvir K. Photography

Returning to the present day, May 2020: As I descended Aberdeen Street hill towards Princess Point, it was jarring to see the road ahead of me empty. There were no bikes adorned with luminescent glowsticks and fairy lights, no children looking around in wonder at the mobile disco around them as they rode beside their parents. The GlowRides, usually beginning each year in May throughout the summer months, are on hold. And yet, I still felt a thrill while riding alone towards the water.

The air grew thick and heavy with humidity and the scent of lilacs as I reached Princess Point and went over the Waterfront Trail bridge, just as the sun was sinking in the west. The view took my breath away, and as I was taking photos I almost missed the cyclist to my right looking pensively over the water; a scene I had to capture the best I could before the sun retired for the evening. 

I kept riding over gravel and pavement, stopping frequently to look behind me at the setting sun. As I passed the corner that marked my progress from Princess Point towards Bayfront Park, I looked over the water a few feet away and caught my breath, not entirely sure what I was seeing. A swan’s head rose from the shallows, glancing in my direction briefly before the bird slowly set out across the water, seeking out its nest to retire within for the night. 

I entered Bayfront Park’s boat launch area just as the sky shifted to pastel shades of pink and blue. There was a dock facing westward, and somehow, no one had claimed it for a viewpoint. Rolling the SoBi to the end of the pier, I stood and watched as the sky changed to dusk; thinking of how the next time I’d be here, the trees and lilies would be in full foliage, whispering around me on the wind rolling over the water. 

When I find beautiful places, I tend to return to them again and again- and in that moment at the pier, I mourned that I could not be several hundred places at once as Hamilton ushered springtime in. We do live in an age of technology, however, that might let myself and others who chase out familiar spots see more of the beautiful city around us. 

On that note, the ERI is proposing a photo contest: Send us a photo of springtime cycling in Hamilton. We will choose a photo and feature it in our next newsletter, and on our social media. If your photo is selected as the winner, you’ll receive 5 free ride credits. 

Be sure to stop safely when taking your photos, and we look forward to seeing what springtime in Hamilton looks like through your lens.

Take care, and as SoBi bike baskets always say: Please be safe.

Theron

Share

ERI Rider Spotlight: BILL PUGH

Bill Pugh’s voice is as vibrant over the phone as it is in real life. 

“How ya doing?”, he asks me. “I’m thinking of coming by the office to check on my account and chat. Are you in?”

I can hear the wind behind Bill whistling loudly as he makes his way to his next destination. I inform him with regret, thinking of our mutually enjoyable talks at the office, that we are working from home nowadays. He sucks in his breath.  

“Of course! Can’t believe I forgot. Next time, then. In the meantime, could you check on my account? Want to make sure I’m good to ride- got a lot to do today.”

Image credit: Jessie Golem, 2019.

Bill has never been one to sit still for long; and walking, for him, feels like a poor use of the limited hours in a day. Biking makes him feel efficient, and curbs his restlessness. Bill has been an ERI Rider since the beginning of the program, and has ridden over 6500 kilometres: thousands of kilometres each year, one 20 minute errand ride at a time. He has successfully graduated through all 3 levels of the ERI’s subsidized passes since he began the program- Tandem, Pedal Pass, and 5 & Roll- and enjoys earning credits on his account as he returns out-of-hub bikes to SoBi stations. 

 

 

Bill speaks often of the peace he felt when he moved to his own private apartment: a move that was almost entirely completed by hanging bags of his belongings on SoBi handlebars, over dozens of rides. He went without permanent housing some years ago for 37 consecutive months, and reflects on the pleasure of having his own space.

“I remember living at the Sally Ann for 6 months, forcing myself to move away from the TV. The guys there, they’ll watch that the whole day, and I don't blame them. It’s so hypnotic; so simple to just to sit there and not get outside- but I biked instead.”  

There’s satisfaction in his voice as he describes the home he gained after waiting on a housing list for over 3 years. 

“I cook, but it’s what I want. I pick up groceries by bike, and bring home books. When I’m in need of something, I know all I have to do is bike and get it. Later at night, I sit quietly and listen to the city outside, and there’s a certain peace in that, you know? It took a long time, but this is a home base for me. I go and come back, and when I’m not out, it’s my refuge”. 

Bike share is Bill’s primary mode of transportation, and after riding around Hamilton’s lower city for many years, he knows all the streets and alleys. He continues many of the daily routines he had before he got his apartment, including accessing many of Hamilton’s service resources. He lists off an average day, briskly: breakfast at home or at the Presbytarian church: "best pancake breakfast in the city right now”. A bagged lunch to-go at St Patrick’s parish“you can grab an orange for later- gotta have fruit for energy, when you’re active!”. He volunteers for a few hours, and checks in on people he cares about around the city.

Then Bill's personal errands begin- using bike share to make visits to service providers, go grocery shopping, and read books and articles online at the library. He is an avid reader, and enjoys keeping up with the world's current events.

One habit that persisted long before Bill became an ERI rider is a strong sense of responsibility to his community. As an Ontarian who has lived all over Canada, Bill volunteers with Keeping Six, putting together kits to reduce harm for vulnerable people with drug dependencies. He has a critical analysis of the current opioid overdose crisis in Hamilton.

“These services, these on-site safe injection sites, they’re necessary. We had to fight [the city] to advocate for them. People using drugs, they need food, shelter- basic living help- all in one place, like at the Wesley Day Centre.”

Image credit: Jessie Golem, 2019.

Bill is an ERI rider with a deep understanding of some of Hamilton’s most at-risk populations. So I ask Bill how he would recommend the ERI program to others, especially people who have not ridden in a long time. I know he is well qualified to speak to lapsed riders: he himself stopped cycling for years, after having his right arm amputated in adulthood. Bill pauses briefly, before replying with conviction. 

“Aside from how the ERI is a great option for people without a lot of money, or things like phones or bank accounts? I’d say to them, take baby steps. Maybe go to pick up a few groceries, or to the corner store a few blocks- it’s good for your health, it’s good for the environment, and it gets easier over time the more you do it. You can go as slow as you need to, and there are always people- especially long time riders like me- who can help you. We were there where you were once, too.”

In our last few minutes, I ask Bill why he feels it is important to consider cycling over driving in the city, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. I can hear the smile in his voice as he responds.

“The way things are going with the world this past season- bushfires in Australia, massive snowstorms in Newfoundland- riding SoBi bikes seems the responsible thing to do, environmentally speaking. If you want to contribute in some small way, riding a SoBi bike is one less car on the road.” 

I ask Bill what cycling during COVID-19 has been like.

“It’s unreal- I’ve never seen the roads so empty. It’s beautiful, and peaceful- honestly, the best time to feel safer on the streets is now. Depending on where you go, you have the whole street to yourself with no cars, and you don’t have to worry about getting too close to others [and violating physical distance guidelines]. It’s a great time to start riding bikes and using bike share to stay off transit.”

After I reassure Bill that all account renewal fees for his pass are waived during COVID-19, he ends the call to go on his next adventure. I’m left with gratitude at the connections our team is still able to make during this unprecedented time, and looking forward to registering new riders this season who I might be able to see graduate through our subsidized passes in years to come. 

Take care all, and stay safe-

Theron

If you know anyone who could use a subsidized bike share pass to get around Hamilton during COVID-19, please direct them to email theron@hamiltonbikeshare.ca, or call 289-768-2453 ext. 2.

Share

Compassion and empathy: bike share staples during COVID-19

Hello to all our riders! We are thinking of you and your families and friends as we navigate these transformative times together as a community. 

I was thinking recently of how one of the most valuable aspects of my job as the ERI’s Equity Coordinator is creating and nourishing connections. During COVID-19’s physical distancing protocols, the ERI team can no longer meet with new riders face-to-face. Instead, we are working to sign up new riders via phone, email, at the Wesley Day Center, via our online registration form, and of course, using our educational ERI Toolkit.  

However, despite all the ways we have adapted our programming to reach new riders, I am sometimes struck by the ways in which new connections can bloom organically- and unexpectedly- of their own accord.

Last week, I signed up a new rider over the phone- we’ll call him James. Two days after I had educated James and activated his pass, he called me. He had just spoken to a potential rider outside his apartment who had expressed interest in the blue bike locked nearby- would this new rider be able to receive a pass from us? James let the rider use his phone on speaker mode after he told James he had neither a phone number nor internet access.

I listened as James gave a quick summary of Pedal pass rules to the new rider. I knew I would have to go over the rules again in a few minutes, but I was touched by the care with which James reassured his companion about cycling on the road. After I went over the Toolkit with the rider, I realized I had forgotten to tell him that he would have to go to a location by our closed office to pick up a blue bike card used to sign out bikes. “Oh, that’s no problem”, James assured me after overhearing our conversation, “I picked up two cards when I signed up the other day. One for me, and another for anyone I thought could use it.”

When I think of all the uncertainties and rituals we’ve had to adjust to during COVID-19, I can never do so without noticing the kindness and compassion I’ve seen rise here in Hamilton, such as James helping someone he had just met receive a subsidized bike share pass to get around the city.

I also think of Krista Rao, Welcome Inn’s Community Coordinator and an Everyone Rides longtime champion, who let me know she’d be happy to distribute ERI program information to all Food Bank clients so that they could access subsidized passes in order to ride for pleasure and to do essential errands.

I think of the ERI riders I have bumped into in public and enjoyed chatting with from a minimum 2 metre distance, them sitting on SoBi bikes and me waiting in line for groceries. I’ve smiled and assured a longtime rider I ran into that yes, his baby grandson was in fact the cutest thing I’ve seen this year (as I squinted at his phone photo from an admittedly difficult viewing distance). 

And lastly, I think of the comfort I take in the bike lanes around my home; where on any given day on my daily walk I see parents and their children ride bikes together, pedalling slowly to make sure everyone can keep up. Riding behind these families in the bike lane are SoBi riders, including a few ERI riders I signed up some months ago, patiently bringing up the rear and keeping a safe distance between themselves and the other cyclists. No one ever passes the child or their parent, and everyone reassures the parent with smiles when the latter looks behind them to see if their family is holding up traffic. 

I like to imagine that the solo ERI riders are patient because they enjoy the idea of the kid in front of them thinking they’ve got all the time in the world to explore their neighbourhood by bike. Or maybe those adult riders are just choosing to take a slow roll, enjoying the budding trees and tulips beginning to unfurl in the scenery around them. Either way, I’m glad kindness and patience are traits that my city- our city-  displays when its courage and resilience is tested. 

Since the beginning of stay at home orders, the ERI team has registered 14 riders, with interest rising each day and several riders completing their registration as I speak. And each day as I check on our riders’ accounts, I notice ERI riders taking bikes out and about, tracing new paths around their quiet city. I wish them, and you, well as we move through these times together. 

Stay safe, and be well-

Theron

Gage park lies quiet at sunset

Lawrence road bike lanes are clear ahead

Share

Magnolias in Bloom: An ERI Spring Activity Map

Magnolia Map: ERI Ride Activity

View the map at bit.ly/MagnoliaMapHamOnt

April 15, 2020

Every spring is marked by the burst of magnolia blossoms throughout Hamilton, and this year the flowers are blooming with the global pandemic as their backdrop. In this uncertain time of change and discomfort, the delicate tepals*** of the magnolia are a fleeting but welcome distraction. 

Hunting for magnolia trees and other plant life is a great way to explore your neighborhood and city, get fresh air, exercise, and connect with nature. We have made this easier than ever by mapping out 37 magnolia trees in our bike share service area

We recommend you use our map to walk or roll to nearby trees in your neighborhood. This is an activity you could integrate into a necessary trip you were already planning (for example, a detour on the way to a grocery store, food bank, or other essential trip) or you could make it an outing to just get your body moving. Along the way you may also see blooms like forsythia (bushes with bright yellow flowers), daffodils, and other colourful signs of spring and renewal. As you become more familiar with your neighborhood magnolias, you may notice that the “star” magnolia trees with white flowers tend to bloom earlier than their pink-hued counterparts. 

Remember to participate in this activity safely, to protect yourself and others. If you are sick, stay home and follow the map next year. Adhere to physical distancing measures whenever you are out and about. This means staying at least 2 meters away from other people. Try seeking out quieter streets and alleys if you are walking, as it may be more feasible to move into the street and put more distance between you and other passersby. You should also wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you leave your home and when you return, and avoid touching your face. You can read more information about how to keep yourself and others safe here

If you are riding a SoBi to the magnolias, please bring along wipes for the touch surfaces (grips, keypad), use hand sanitizer if you have it, and follow the other protocols we listed in the last paragraph (hand washing and distancing). You can find out more about what SoBi Hamilton is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic here

The map is not exhaustive, so if you see any missing magnolias, tag the Everyone Rides Initiative on social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) with the location and a picture and we will add it to the map! For example, there are many streets in Strathcona, the North End, West Hamilton, and Dundas that we didn’t get to during our initial hunt. This started as a one-person list, and we’d love to see it grow into a collaborative community resource.

Happy magnolia hunting, and stay safe out there. We look forward to riding with you in the future!

Chelsea Cox, ERI Executive Director

***Nerd out on all things magnolia on the Wikipedia page and learn about tepals vs petals.

Additional Resources related to street trees:

 

Magnolias getting ready to bloom near Lottridge and Barton

Magnolias on East St S near Stinson

Share

Rider update during the Pandemic: Mark Anderson

This time 4 years ago I was already fairly isolated and enjoyed my time alone. That all changed very suddenly when I was diagnosed with diabetes and had to make big changes in my life in order to get healthy. This wake-up-call to my health along with an unexpected fire in my apartment forced me to look outside my solitary comfort zone for help. Since then I have worked really hard to be active and have found riding a bike very fulfilling. Through cycling in Hamilton I have met many people and value the Hamilton cycling community as my community.

Like so many of you during the COVID-19 pandemic, and orders to maintain social distance and stay at home, it has been really hard. I have been isolating, staying home and only going out when necessary. I have missed many programs and meet-ups, such as: my meetings at Steps to Health, which specifically supports quitting smoking through a 'Breathe Easier' program and Accu-Detox, medical appointments and getting together for group rides, Bike Buddy rides, bike repair workshops at New Hope, Dundas Rides and other cycling related meetings.

With new information and closures coming out daily it is so hard to keep up. On March 23rd I went out and did a porch drop off and pick up for a friend and the first thing I noticed was there were a lot less cars and trucks on the road. The second thing I noticed was the air felt a lot different. I had to go out again on March 25th and found the same thing. Our roads are a lot quieter making them safer and the air quality is at healthy levels. Riding your bike or walking are great ways to get some exercise and to help your mental health. However, just because there are less vehicles on the road doesn't mean you should skip the rules of the road.

Remember these important tips:

  1. If you feel sick stay home.
  2. Stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people
  3. Stay informed - closures are happening daily, some of your favourite parks or trail might not be open and could lead to fines (As I am writing this they just closed the Wentworth and Chedoke stairs)
Intersection at Bay and Cannon right near the Eco-Counter. As of March 31st, 52 trips taken by bike and 2,227 in the last 30 days)  
Intersection at Bay and Cannon right near the Eco-Counter. According to the eco-counter at this intersection: on March 31st there were 52 trips taken by bike and between March 2nd-31st there were 2,227 trips taken by bike.  

 

Be Safe, Be Seen, Pedal On and Stay Healthy

Mark Anderson

Share

Connector Interview: Scarlett

Scarlett was a full time Connector in 2019! Read about her summer of community and cycling through her interview with Theron, below. 

Theron: Hi, Scarlett! When did you first start riding SoBi bikes in Hamilton, and what inspired you to do it?

Scarlett: I hadn't owned my own bike in many years, and I was looking for an intermediary solution between bussing and driving or taking a cab. When I learned about SoBi I really wanted to start using the bike system. Several months later I heard about the ERI’s subsidized passes, so I was finally able to get one for myself and explore the city.

I felt more confident and competent after riding the bikes around town: both by seeing new local areas, and also gaining the confidence that comes with being able to transport yourself around a city safely.

T: We’re so glad you found us. How did you hear about the Connector program, and why were you drawn to apply? 

S: I heard about the Connector position from a Facebook post, I believe- probably through a friend of a friend. 

Before I knew about ERI passes and began riding, I honestly didn't realize how popular of a choice SoBis were locally, and how functional, convenient, and affordable they are. For that reason, I was drawn to apply: how could I help other people gain access to this system?

T: A desire to help others gain access to our services is one of the main criteria we look for in our Connector volunteers. What were some of your favourite experiences in the Connector program? 

S: Being an ERI Connector was a very positive experience for me. I really enjoyed making connections and having conversations with a variety of people. I felt happy to be able to educate riders about the SoBi system and how it could benefit them through meeting them where their needs are, whether those needs were transportation or fun. 

I also liked being able to make people smile through the process, like when I got to dance with kids at Barton Play Day while talking to their parents about how they could use ERI passes to ride alongside their children. 

T: I remember how much you loved being engaged with people, and how organically you connected with them. Last question- what would you recommend people do if they are new to or nervous about cycling in Hamilton?

S: It may sound simple, but get yourself an ERI pass! Call or visit the office, and the team can help you get started, and even provide free cycling education and one on one lessons. 

Thanks, Scarlett! 

Share

Job Posting: Adaptive Bike Coordinator

The Everyone Rides Initiative (ERI) is very excited to have the opportunity to hire a new staff person, ERI Adaptive Bike Coordinator. Through our funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation our program offerings are expanding to include adaptive bikes. So far we have purchased a three-wheeled bike and a beautiful nihola cargo bike. Now we are looking for the perfect person to build a program which will support access to adaptive bikes to the people who can benefit most from them in Hamilton. As the Program Manager of the ERI since 2016 I am excited to see this development in our programming finally come to fruition. 

Throughout my time with the ERI program I have been continually identifying and new barriers that may arise for folks and also the long standing barriers that have not yet been address. The introduction of adaptive bikes is a solution to one of those long standing barriers and we are thrilled to introduce access to adaptive bikes into our future program offerings. Stay tuned. 

Click here to learn more about our growing Adaptive Bike Program. 

The Adaptive Bike Coordinator job posting will be active until March 1st. Click here to learn more about the position. 

Share

Connector Interview: Dan's Summer of Equity as an ERI Connector

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. 

Share

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

 

Share