Red Bike Go is soaring

Red Bike Go, the low-income membership program launched April 16, 2018, began with a goal of getting around 100 members in the first two years. Less than four months into the program, Red Bike Go members reached 114, with 60–70 currently active members. Needless to say, Red Bike is thrilled.

Red Bike executive director Jason Barron, who commutes regularly on a Red Bike, explains their goal is to get more people riding. Currently, Red Bike has 1,200 members overall.

Made possible via a grant from Interact for Health to support the first two years of the program, Red Bike Go offers those with limited income a $5 monthly membership, as opposed to the regular $15 monthly membership. Red Bike wants to offer inclusive access to all the benefits of riding a bike: health, wellness, transportation, and recreation.

Residents who receive food assistance (SNAP) or energy assistance (HEAP, PIPP) are eligible for the membership as well as clients with Red Bike Go’s partner organizations and agencies, including Ohio Means Jobs, Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, Greater Cincinnati Urban League, and Brighton Center.

The pass includes unlimited 90-minute rides for 30 days. Members can choose to renew automatically or on a month-to-month basis.

Riders can sign up in person at the various events attended by Red Bike or online. On site sign-ups are the most popular.

When registering online, riders can use their SNAP number or other Red Bike partner number.

Elese Daniel, education outreach manager for Red Bike says, “One of the most positive interactions has been getting to know these people; Meeting people where they are and making people aware of the opportunity.”

Daniel stresses, “We wanted folks to know this is for you.”

Because of the digital docks, Red Bike is able to track users’ progress and usage to give members a personalized profile in which to view their number of rides, estimated miles ridden, and amount of carbon emissions saved by riding a bicycle. Members may also see their ranking.

The top two riders in terms of number of rides are Red Bike Go members.

Red Bike makes it easier for those to use a bike without addressing some of the challenges that come with bike ownership since users do not have to worry about storing a bike, maintenance, or paying for repairs.

Red Bike used a multi-faceted approach to designing Red Bike Go by hosting focus groups and taking surveys.

Findlay Market also offers free Red Bike membership signups to those at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines.

Red Bike has seen more people using the bikes and spreading knowledge.

“It can seem challenging at first, but after doing it a couple times, it becomes easy and that user can then pass that on to a friend,” says Daniel.

Barron assures that the goal is to keep it simple and expand the opportunity to ride. There are technical qualifications but at the end of the day, he says, “You need it, you’re in. When you get on a bike, you smile.”

Read more articles by Emily Dillingham.

Emily Dillingham is a Cincinnati native and University of Cincinnati graduate with degrees in English and Geology. She writes full-time for a local material science company and lives in Brighton with her husband and pack of dogs. Follow her on Instagram @keeperoftheplants
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