Dear Indego community, BBSP partners, and Philly:
I am Alejandro Utria, the new Bilingual Community Liaison for the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) team based at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. I am happy to be recruited into BBSP’s national work of encouraging more people to use and enjoy their city’s bike share. Along with my partner Lor Song, my Community Liaison role is to grow Indego’s relationship with different communities in Philadelphia, especially Spanish-speaking communities.
I am a translator, musician, and researcher, great with creative ideas and meeting new people but also great with spreadsheets. I was lucky to grow up in many countries and happy to be living in West Philly for the last eight years. I have a degree in Urban Studies and have worked in community gardens, vacant lot cleaning, and academic research related to healthier cities and transportation. The Community Liaison role allows me to assemble my skills and put my creativity into action alongside some powerful community partners. Together we will work toward mobility and environmental justice while also simply enjoying group rides in great summer weather (as soon as that becomes possible). Of course, I am particularly interested in partnering with community gardens and music organizations.
My first bike ride in Philly was on an Indego bike my sophomore year of undergrad, and it was actually my first ride in any city. I got over my initial fear by riding with friends from Philly, and I got a lot of practice by being late to class often. For a few years, I thought that biking was about being tough, brave, young, and fast. This “bike versus city” thinking was completely wrong, and made me unnecessarily sweaty and stressed. Over time, I got a lot more comfortable, less in a rush, and the City installed the Chestnut Street bike lane; I changed into a smooth commuter that appreciates the breeze and the fun.
To be free and confident to live through your city on a bike is not about physical fitness or bravery or expensive gear, but about growing your own safety, calm, and sense of fun – and, practice, like anything else. We have your back – while the City and Indego work on bike lanes and stations, I and my team at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia are here with the knowledge, the group rides, and the encouragement for you and your friends.
If you want to learn how to be comfortable biking in Philly, if you want to take some of the fear out of being in traffic, I encourage you to please sign up for one of the Bike Coalition’s Urban Riding Basics classes. If you want to organize a group ride to the places you love for your students and neighbors, I encourage you to please get in touch with us.
At your service,
Alejandro Utria | firstname.lastname@example.org