All eyes are on Philadelphia this week as the Democratic National Convention takes place. No doubt, some of the thousands of people in attendance are trying out Indego bike share and discovering what many locals have known since it launched: It is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get around.
“It really is kind of amazing,” says Indego member Mjumbe Poe. “I still have my own bike but I used it for the first time in several months the other day.”
That is because the majority of the time bike share gets him exactly where he needs to go. But it is also helping him discover places he doesn’t have to go but should.
Poe explains, “There was a bike share station at the end of this trail, and I said, it’s here, I might as well ride. Bike share is creating excuses to explore. That is one of the nice little things about it. These trails are little gems in the city that I’ve never taken advantage of. Now I have an excuse to.”
Poe loves that bike share is connecting people to green spaces across the city. He also believes it can help change perceptions on who is biking, so long as the system can continue to emphasize equity and accessibility.
“There is a ways to go,” he says. “The number of people who still ask me what it is, how it works, how to get into it… I’ve had people who hang out across the street from one of the stations ask me that. There are still preconceptions about who the stations are for.”
But the potential is there.
“Over time, that will be broken down,” he says. “I don’t know how much time it’s going to take, but I am excited to see it happen.”
And he does think it can happen.
“I see so many black people on bikes in Philadelphia, not on bike share necessarily but just getting around on bikes. I feel like it’s a democratic mode of transportation.”
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 thePeopleForBikes 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