New bicycle shops are opening around San Francisco, from Market Street to the Wiggle, and Valencia Street to the top of Bernal Heights. But in the city’s outer neighborhoods, like the Bayview and the Excelsior, residents have few options for buying or repairing their bicycles.
Our solution: Team up with local community-based organizations to organize Bike it Forward events where we refurbish and give out bikes to those who will benefit most from the affordable transportation.
The cost of gas and public transportation in the Bay Area is among the highest in the nation, and residents spend a large percentage of their monthly incomes on just getting around. A free bicycle can relieve a substantial financial burden and help offset the high cost of living in San Francisco. The Bike it Forward recipients are selected by our partnering organizations to ensure bikes go to those who need them most.
In November, we held an event in the Bayview with POWER, a grassroots, member-led empowerment organization for low-income Latino and African American families, youth and workers. Together, we refurbished dozens of bicycles that were donated by the City and indviduals, and volunteers taught recipients basic bike mechanic skills.
Bayview resident Janet Allen-Williams was one of the recipients. She brought her husband and daughter to the most recent Bike it Forward event. All three left with bikes.
“The event was on Saturday, and my husband rode his new bike to work on Monday. I was shocked,” Allen-Williams says. “We live on a hill and when he rode it home up the hill, our neighbors cheered him on.”
Allen-Williams says the family is planning to go on rides, including a trek to Brisbane. “I might even take my daughter to school in the Western Addition one day,” she says.
Our next Bike it Forward event is scheduled for Saturday, January 18 in the Bayview. Interested in volunteering or supporting our Bike it Forward events? Visit sfbike.org/bikebuild. Know of a community group we should partner with for the events? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s ongoing work to promote equity in bicycling is fully supported by our members. JOIN THE SF BICYCLE COALITION TODAY and ensure programs like this continue to roll forward!