By Emlen Healthy Roar staff | You may have noticed a row of blue bikes at a pay station when you are in Philadelphia. Have you ever wondered why they are there?
Every day the bikes help many people get to work, do errands, or just have fun.
In her job, Waffiyyah Murray makes sure those bikes are ready when people want to ride them. She is the manager of the Indego Bike Share Program.
The program makes more than 1,900 bikes available at 190 bike stations throughout the city. Stations look like bicycle racks. People pay to borrow a bike for up to an hour, Ms. Murray says. A rider can even borrow the bike at one station and return it at another station.
“The goal of the program is to create a bike-share system that is fun, affordable, and accessible for all Philadelphians,” she says.
Indego has grown a lot since it started in 2015. Back then, the program had 600 bikes and 60 bike stations. Ms. Murray says there are plans to increase to 350 stations over the next five years.
“We have been working really hard to identify new locations to add bike- share stations, talking to community members, talking to residents and finding out where they would like a station,” she says.
And there are more places for bikers to ride than ever. According to Ms. Murray, the city now has over 100 miles of bike trails and over 280 miles of painted bike lanes on the streets.
Biking has two important benefits, Ms. Murray says. It’s healthy for the Earth and for people. It helps the Earth, she says, because when people bike more, they drive less and use less gasoline. “You are not putting any pollution into the world.” And biking is healthy for people because physical activity is important, she says.
A lot of people use Indego bikes to get to work or to the library, the grocery store, the doctor, and other places, Ms. Murray says.
A rider has to be 14 years old to rent an Indego bike, but she says there are plenty of shops that offer youth bikes for rental or sale. Community programs sometimes give bikes away.
Ms. Murray says biking has been a passion for her ever since she was 8 or 9. “I love the freedom that biking gives me and the additional physical activity,” she says. “Biking makes me feel free and happy.”
She has turned her passion into a career. She has worked for biking organizations for more than eight years. And she wants to tell as many people as she can about its benefits.
“Thankfully, because Philadelphia is a great biking city and we have such an awesome bike-share system, continuing a career in this field has not been difficult for me,” she says. “I also really love what I do, and that’s most important.”
Bike photo by Darren Burton.