The orange bicycles -- a departure from
"Infrastructurally, these neighborhoods aren't really bike-friendly, by and large," said
He said the participants, all adults, were chosen with the help of neighborhood nonprofit groups and health and social service organizations, but
"If there's any demographic we want to target, it's people for whom this is a new idea," Stucker said. "If they did have their own bike, it's probably a
Some studies have questioned why residents of low-income areas -- who stand to gain the most financially from reducing their car use -- appear to be cycling the least.
In 2012 and 2013, surveys conducted on behalf of the
Many residents revealed that they viewed car ownership as a status symbol. Others pointed to concerns about their physical safety, long travel times and a lack of bike lanes and other bicycle infrastructure. The city's poorer residents averaged longer commutes to work than higher-income respondents in the same area.
"A lot of people weren't excited about that," she said of the holds.
The charge has since been reduced, and payment options now vary with year-long memberships, student packages and 30-day pay-as-you-go rates.
For its new outreach program,
Those who attend four of the events and ride at least twice a week will receive a
On Saturday, a group of inexperienced riders got together by the
"There were people that were afraid about coming out," said Lee, who suffered a mishap with her bicycle chain but found help getting it back in place. The nerves quickly gave way to new friendships. "Everybody was encouraging each other. The camaraderie was great."
All of the orange bikes were distributed throughout July and have already been assigned for 2014, but organizers hope to offer the program again next year with some tweaks based on results from this season. Nonprofit organizations such as
The Neighborhood Program is funded by the
Stucker said the riders represent most walks of life, with the oldest in their 70s. The youngest is 18.
"We don't ask people their income," Stucker said. "That's not a factor on our end. The demographics of these neighborhoods tend to skew certain ways, but certainly we're covering a pretty broad geographic area."
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