Name: Jamilah Tucker
Lives in: Hilliard
Works in: Downtown Columbus
“I only went where the sidewalks could take me.”
A co-worker was championing Ride Buddy, a program Yay Bikes! hosted to teach downtown workers to ride bikes instead of drive. Jamilah was curious. “People were doing it and I was like ‘oh, that looks fun!’”
But she hadn’t been on a bike since junior high and she was scared, never having traveled by bike anywhere besides the sidewalk. “There are all these reasons not to get on a bike. I was nervous about getting hit by a car,” she said. Jamilah needed direction before she felt comfortable riding a bike on her own. Determined, she asked co-worker after co-worker to join her on a downtown bike ride with Yay Bikes!. Finally, a friend agreed.
“Building up to it was the worst,” Jamilah said. She was sweaty and shaking as she tried to remember the mechanics of working the pedals. She climbed upon the seat of a CoGo bike and moved with as much ease as she could muster. “A few minutes into it, my feet were moving. I forgot there were cars.”
“We feel comfortable to ride our bikes at home.”
Soon after, Jamilah found a bike at a garage sale. For $15 she bought it, cleaned it up and made it her own. She rides it regularly with her 11-year-old daughter on her own bike just ahead. They ride the road, mostly to and from the park or around the neighborhood. “It was a good thing to be in that group and to gain education so we feel comfortable to ride our bikes at home,” Jamilah said.
The biggest change was her awareness of bicyclists on the road which she shared with her husband. “We didn’t used to pay attention to bicyclists,” Jamilah said.
“The road was created for moving people.”
Now Jamilah and her husband are aware of the need to share the road. “Not everyone has a car. The road was created for moving people; we have to respect each other.”
She’s grateful for the experience to learn a new approach to getting around downtown every day. While she does not commute to work by bike, Jamilah hopes to start integrating CoGo bike rides into her lunch hour, inviting friends and co-workers along when she can. “My mentality about getting around and paying attention to roads has changed. I wouldn’t have gotten back on a bike without the Yay Bikes! experience.”