Success Story: East Palo Alto Family Biking Workshop

An interview with Ernesto Lizaola of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.
Tell us about Fit Zones.

Since 2013, the East Palo Alto Police Department has held weekly events in community parks, called “Fit Zones.” These events aim to reduce vandalism and gang activity and thus increase the safety and levels of activity in the parks and neighborhoods. Events typically involve Zumba sessions, power walks, or pickup volleyball. The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SBVC) and the Bay Area BikeMobile joined the event on September 23, 2014 at Joel Davis Park with the theme of “family bicycling.” We held a group ride, gave away helmets, locks, lights, and two new donated kids bikes. The BikeMobile repaired close to 30 bikes during that event.

What was the inspiration for your partnership with The East Palo Alto Police Department

SVBC likes to reach out to those communities that are typically underserved and unable to access many of the available resources. For this event, we focused on teaching riders or potential riders about the importance of safety while riding around their community. Once the school year starts back up, we will join another Fit Zone event.

For others who may want to implement a similar project, what advice would you give them?

You may be surprised by the amount of support you will receive from various City agencies and departments. Do not be afraid to reach out!

What relevant tools or information might be useful for someone interested in implementing a similar project?

Reach out to local bicycle advocacy organizations that may be able to offer their time or services for free. They may also know of other resources that already exist, but are not currently being utilized in your community. I also recommend contacting local bicycle shops that may be able to provide bike mechanics for free.