By Paige Sullivan
Central Atlanta Progress
When the dockless bike share company ofo dissolved much of its U.S. operations, including Atlanta’s, in late July, the company donated its assets to Central Atlanta Progress/ Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (CAP/ADID) and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to distribute to bike-minded organizations.
Through strategic partnerships, CAP and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition ensured that these 188 working bikes got a second chance at community use.
Among the organizations benefitting from the donations is Bearings Bike Shop, located in Adair Park along the Atlanta Beltline Westside Trail. Bearings will use approximately 40 of the yellow bikes in their youth development program that helps children and teens acquire bike maintenance skills, earning a bike of their own upon program completion.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Shifting Gears program, which provides Atlanta Public Schools students, teachers, and parents with bicycle safety training and access to bikes, will also receive nearly 100 bikes to augment this health and wellness programming and curriculum. Free Bikes 4 Kidz, a nonprofit organization helping kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need, is assisting with logistics.
First Step Staffing, a nonprofit workforce development organization focused on sustainable employment for individuals transitioning out of homelessness, including veterans and returning citizens, who will benefit from 20 new bikes that clients can use to commute to nearby job opportunities.
“Lack of transportation is often one of the greatest barriers our clients have to obtaining and retaining employment,” said First Step Director of Staffing Operations Naomi Maisel. “Making transportation easier helps these individuals get a job and permanently transition out of homelessness.”
As First Step client and bicycle recipient Kalan stated, “This is truly a blessing for me, and the timing could not be better. I can improve my ability to get to work and take care of my family.”
The community also contributed to an Amazon Wish List recently created by First Step to provide helmets and locks to their clients: http://a.co/9rUMiuN
For CAP/ADID, the opportunity to find new homes for these bikes ties back to the organization’s larger effort to support and promote a diverse array of mobility options, including cycling, in the Downtown Atlanta core.
“Our organization remains committed to advocacy, partnerships, and investments that make Downtown a place that is easy to get around, whichever mode you choose,” said A.J. Robinson, President of CAP/ADID.
“From our solar powered bicycle parts vending machine in Woodruff Park to our capital investments in bicycle infrastructure throughout the district, we are always open to opportunities to elevate the conversation and experience of moving through Downtown by foot, by public transportation, and certainly by bicycle.”