During Hurricane Harvey, an estimated 500,000 to one million cars sank in high water. And so as tow trucks carrying muddy, flooded-out vehicles join the long procession of traffic along Houston's congested roads and freeways, and as thousands of people who lost everything try to get back to work, Houston Bike Share will try to make their lives just a little bit easier.
Starting Saturday, Houston Bike Share will begin taking bike donations so it can give hundreds of bikes away for free to those who lost their cars to Harvey. BikeHouston, Freewheels Houston and Rice Bikes are also partners in the new program, called "Keep Houston Rolling." Those who don't need their bicycles or who want to help fellow Houstonians in need of transportation can bring their bikes to Interfaith Ministries, at 3303 Main, from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 9, for the group's first bike drive.
“We're just hoping to get more people to donate individual bikes if they don't use them, as a 'Houstonians helping Houstonians' kind of thing," said Christin Dietze, marketing and communications manager for Houston Bike Share. "We're really pushing this as helping someone who lost a vehicle, but we also have cases where there's families asking if we have kids' bikes so their kids would be able to bike to school, because without a family car, they're running around not knowing the best way to get who where. You've got some people who have been displaced to areas where they can't take their regular form of public transportation. And so we're open to those applicants as well.”
Those who want to apply to receive one of the bicycles can find the application form at Keep Houston Rolling's website or apply in person at Houston BCycle headquarters, at 407 Velasco, from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Already, bicycle manufacturing companies Trek and Giant USA have collectively donated 450 bicycles, and so Dietze said the biking advocacy groups hope to have 600 bikes available by the middle of next week, when they will start giving away the bikes. Ultimately, as Keep Houston Rolling continues, they hope to give away more than a thousand bikes by November.
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Dietze said they are trying to plan another bike drive on the Rice campus soon.
Don't have a bike but still want to help? Keep Houston Rolling is also taking monetary donations on its GoFundMe page.