The first patients enrolled in the Bikeshare study group received bike training Wednesday from instructors from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. They also learned how the Bikeshare program functions and how to release and return a bike from one of the docking stations.
“Right now I spend a lot of time on Metro,” said Madwkaego Williams-Holliman, who works in Beltsville, lives in the District and visits a gym in Alexandria. “With the bike I’ll be able to just ride right across Memorial Bridge.”
It had been a year since Williams-Holliman, a former bike mechanic, last rode a bike. For Dorothy Williams, 52, it had been a lot longer.
“I got my first bike when I was 16 and sold it when I was 17 and learned how to drive,” she said as she prepared to climb onto one of the red Bikeshare machines for her first ride in Lafayette Park.
Many of the people in the program live below the poverty line, Moghimi said.
“Oftentimes they have a very difficult time getting around, missing appointments with potential job interviews, and a lot of people may have been involved with the legal system,” he said. “Just general getting around the city, if you only have five bucks in your wallet, you’re going to pick and choose the things that you have to go to.”
Even signing up for Bikeshare becomes problematic for people who do not have the computer or credit card needed to get a membership.
After six months of Bikeshare participation, the patients will swap places with a control group that will ride for the next six months.
“The hypothesis is that people who have been riding bikes for six months will have a greater sense that they are healthier,” Moghimi said. “They’ll have a greater sense of mobility, that things are accessible to them in the city that weren’t accessible before.”
Capital Bikeshare plans to celebrate its one-year anniversary, which occurred Tuesday, during the free Birthday Bash from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Yards Park, on the Anacostia River near Nationals Park. There will be live music, moon bounces, food, games and prizes.