Healthy Warrior reporters had a chance to meet with Waffiyyah Murray, manager of the Better Bike Share Partnership, a national organization that works with Philadelphia’s Indego program and other groups to make bike sharing available to more people and neighborhoods. The following is an edited version of her answers to their questions.
Q: What inspired you to help people ride bikes?
Ms. Murray: Both the joy that I have when I ride my bike and the joy that I see in other people who ride bikes. I want to bring the joy of riding to as many people as I can. It’s really enjoyable and what helps me want to provide that service to even more people.
Q: What do you like about biking? Why do you bike?
Ms. Murray: It’s a great source of physical activity. I use it to run errands and use it as a form of transportation as well. It’s very affordable for me and others. If I want to take a ride it’s cheaper than taking a car and using gas or SEPTA. With one ride I can save money, get physical activity, and have fun at the same time.
Q: How does bike riding make you feel?
Ms. Murray: It makes me feel good because it gives me a boost of energy. When you are active, it makes you feel more energized and awake. Getting out and getting fresh air makes me feel really good.
Q: What do you want people to know about biking?
Ms. Murray: Especially for people who haven’t biked in a long time or who may be nervous, just try it. It’s so fun. We have a lot of great trails throughout the city. If you don’t feel comfortable biking on the street yet, you can bike on a trail. Rent a bike with Indego. We offer bike safety classes and free group rides. I would recommend signing up for one of those classes as well.
Q: Are there safety tips that you’d like people to think about when they get on a bike?
Ms. Murray: I always say, “Wear a helmet.” You must wear a helmet if you’re 12 or under. It’s the law to keep you safe. The brain is the engine of your whole body. You want to keep it safe. Other safety tips:
- Before you get on a bike, take a minute to check that enough air is in the tires, the brakes are working properly, and the chain is attached correctly.
- Ride in a park or open space in a park or open trail if you’re new to biking.
- Stop at stop signs and red lights.
- Map out your route ahead of time. Use tools like Google maps to locate bike paths or bike lanes. Know where you’re going.
Q: Have you ever biked in dangerous weather?
Ms. Murray: Yes, I have. When you’re biking in snow or rain you need to be extra careful. I recommend going slower than you normally would because it makes it easier to stop quickly if you need to. I wear a rain jacket and gloves to cover up. I take my time and I am very alert about my surroundings and follow all the safety guidelines as well.