For the past five years we’ve connected people with biking through our Bike It Forward program (formerly Community Bike Builds), and in that time we’ve distributed over 1,000 bikes. Right now, we’re figuring out how to continue our work during this pandemic, promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation and making sure people have access to bikes — and we’re excited about a new partnership that will help us do just that.
We’ve partnered with SF Bicycle Coalition board member Stephen Braitsch to bring Bike Match to San Francisco. Bike Match, first created by Transportation Alternatives in New York City, is a platform that connects people who need bikes with people who have a bike they are no longer using and can part with permanently. This tool will give essential workers and those needing to make necessary trips the freedom to move around the city autonomously, without relying on public transportation and avoiding the impact of reduced transit services around the city.
Through our connections with community based organizations, we’ll be working to spread the word about Bike Match in the most impacted and underserved communities. We’re also working with bike shops around the city to ensure that people who are matched with a bike can have their bike inspected and be given recommendations for preventative maintenance necessary to keep their bike working for a long time.
For people considering donating a bike to a person in need, we ask that your bike be in ready-to-ride condition. If it needs more than some air in the tires, then it is not considered ready to ride. If you’re uncertain about the condition, you can do the “ABC Quick Check” to test some key safety functions. But for me, a good benchmark I like to go by is: “Would I give this to my or someone else’s mom or grandma to ride?” If you can enthusiastically say yes, then we highly encourage you to donate your bike. This selfless act is a great way to benefit the city during this time!
Rachel submitted a request for a bike recently, writing, “I’m a medical student working at SF General Hospital, and with the reductions in MUNI lines and UCSF shuttles, it would be great to have a bike to commute from my house in the Inner Sunset to the Mission…It would be really great to have a reliable mode of transportation to the hospital (and also make room for exercise too, which I often struggle to find daylight hours to do).” And the bike that Annie put up for donation was the right fit for her. Once they were connected through the program, they were able to meet up in a public place and hand off the sanitized bike while maintaining physical distance.
We hope this program has a positive impact on San Franciscans even after we’re no longer social distancing. And we hope to see an increase in people choosing to get around by bike long after this period is over.
Learn more about our Bike Match program and how to get involved.