HUSTON – The next time you have a check-up, a doctor can give you a prescription to ride a bike. The new program is called Bike Rx and was launched about a year ago. The American Heart Association and Houston BCycle partnered with Legacy Community Health to give people the opportunity to bike for better health.
This social program that will “prescribe” patients with Houston BCycle memberships is the first of its kind in Houston. Under Bike Rx, providers at participating clinics like Legacy Fifth Ward can “prescribe” physical activity through the Bike Rx program, help a patient sign up for a free BCycle membership, where they can take an unlimited 90-minute bike ride for a year, and then track physical activity and bicycle use in the clinic’s electronic health record (EHR).
“Our most important mission is to let people know that they can get on a bike, it’s available to them, we’ve expanded into areas that were previously underserved, so it’s important to all Houstonians have access to a bicycle. Now, it’s not only great for transportation, but it makes you feel better,” according to Mary DeBauche, Houston BCycle’s Development and Communications Manager.
Bike Rx started at Legacy Community Health in Lyons in the Fifth Ward, but several other clinics and health systems are in talks to join, so Houston BCycle organized a bike ride for medical providers through the Third Ward this past weekend.
“We’re trying to expand this Bike Rx to other clinics and other medical facilities, introducing them to see how easy it is to ride a bike and how comfortable it can be, especially in the Third Ward, DeBauche said.
Emily Paul, Director of Community Impact with the American Heart Association understands that this partnership is a huge benefit for transportation, but also for your health.
“We know cycling is great for heart and brain health, it’s low impact, great for people with joint pain… they have e-bikes that provide that extra space for easier cycling,” according to Paul.
Houston BCycle says summer is their busiest riding season, you know it’s hot, so here are some tips to stay safe in the heat:
Helmets provide protection from the sun
Drink lots of water
ride earlier in the morning or closer to the evening hours to stay safe from the heat.
Remember, anyone can rent a bike from Houston BCCycle, they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Houston BCycle released the following statement:
“Bike Rx is an innovative solution that addresses health disparity in underserved communities,” says Felicia Latson, Senior Director of Programs for Social Determinants of Health at Legacy. “Physical activity can be difficult when you don’t have access to equipment. Additionally, many community events have been held outdoors in response to the pandemic; this is a solution that can connect the two to keep people active and give them access to the community.”
Bike equipment will be provided with memberships to Houston BCycle, Houston’s non-profit bike sharing organization. Anyone can check out a bike at any of the 150 stations and go to any other station or return to where they started, whether for fun, exercise or commuting to work or school. The Legacy Community Health Fifth Ward BCycle Station and three other bike share stations were installed around the Fifth Ward this year thanks to funding from the Fifth Ward CRC and Harris County Precinct One.
“As Houston’s non-profit bike share, we are excited to partner with Legacy Community Health, the American Heart Association and Precinct One to expand a key tenant of our mission: access,” said Bryan Reed, Houston BCycle Executive Director . “Cycling is exercise AND it’s so much more. It’s the opportunity to interact and see each other in ways that aren’t limited to looking out the window of a vehicle. Let’s get Houston rolling!”
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