Photo courtesy of Brian Luenser.
Fort Worth B-Cycle Executive Director Kristen Camareno and her staff don’t have the time to plan and execute their own outreach events. Luckily, they don’t have to.
The bike share has found success promoting usage of their system by partnering with existing organizations and events within their community.
“We’ve been in a reactional state—figuring out what works and what doesn’t work, getting used to the equipment and software,” says Camareno of the bike share system, which launched in 2013. “We haven’t had as much time as we’d like to do programming or even the marketing we’d like.”
Photo courtesy of Rick Flaherty.
But you wouldn’t be able to tell that from their social media pages. Those are full of photos of bike share bikes being used or showcased in high-profile events around town. The events promote the health benefits of bicycling and bike share to a Fort Worth population where more than 30 percent of adults are overweight.
Just this week, people participated in a “rolling town hall” meeting with Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price while riding bike share bikes, which could be checked out for free using a special promotional code. A week earlier, a fleet of the shiny red rides cruised the parade route during the annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. Just before that, residents used them during $15 “bike crawls” of local restaurants with healthy food options.
“To put on an event on our own would, if nothing else, take more manpower than we have,” concedes Camareno. “So, being able to piggyback off others, that makes a huge difference for us.”
It also benefits their partners.
“We’re able to offer them something that wouldn’t exist otherwise—this fleet of bikes so that more people can participate.”
Mayor Betsy Price (third from left) poses with a Fort Worth B-Cycle.
For the food-focused bike crawls, the bike share partnered with Fit Worth, a mayor-led campaign promoting nutrition and physical activity. The bike share system designed different routes people could take to visit restaurants with healthy food options, and then residents could earn points with Fit Worth by eating at them. That focus on the health benefits of cycling will be continued during the upcoming Tour de Fort Worth, a 21-day event comprised of cycling events. Fort Worth B-Cycle will host organized rides.
Camareno say a joint fundraising opportunity between Fit Worth and Fort Worth B-Cycle is also a possibility. Both are nonprofit organizations.
This constant collaboration with Fit Worth puts fitness at the forefront for the bike share system, and that’s not a bad thing. Around the country, focus groups have identified that people are interested in those benefits, and studies have identified bike share as a tool with the potential to positively impact public health within communities.
“When opportunities do come up, if they fit our mission and make sense, and we have the resources, we just have to jump at the opportunity,” she adds.
The Better Bike Share Partnership is a JPB Foundation-funded collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Story tip? Write firstname.lastname@example.org