Bike Share Pittsburgh donating 450 retired Healthy Ride bikes for youth

Vikki “Ayanna” Jones was driving through Homewood late last year when she saw a group of neighborhood children kicking the bikes at a Healthy Ride station. She immediately pulled over and asked them why they were destroying the bikes. “Well, we can’t ride them,” they said. Without a credit card, they had no mechanism to rent them out.

Ms. Jones gave them her business card. “In two weeks, you call me,” she told them.

Two weeks later, Ms. Jones received a shipment of 15 Healthy Ride bikes at Sankofa Village Community Garden and Farms, the garden and educational farm she founded in Homewood. Her organization is one of a couple dozen community organizations chosen to receive bikes through the Recycle a Bicycle program run by Bike Share Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that operates the city’s bike share system. Because the city shifted to the new POGOH bike share system as of this May, the new program is rehoming the decommissioned Healthy Ride bikes.

Ms. Jones received the bikes in January, Bike Share Pittsburgh’s first donation. The bikes have adjustable seats, safety lights, a basket and a bell, but all the former branding and advertising, as well as the keypad used for rentals and the cable lock, were removed by Bike Share Pittsburgh prior to the delivery.

Today, Ms. Jones keeps the bikes in a neat row in the middle of the garden, underneath a banner that reads: “Word is Bond.” Community members who help out in the Homewood garden can rent the bikes, free of charge — as long as they give their word that they’ll return them. Ms. Jones has had to track down a bike thief on at least one occasion but, on the whole, she said the honor system helps build trust in the community.

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