Roll It Forward began as a project of Boston Bikes and the Boston Public Health Commission. Originally funded by a stimulus grant from the National Institutes of Health, the program seeks to make cycling a more accessible transportation option for low-income communities. Roll It Forward collects, repairs, and distributes bikes to low-income Boston residents who might not otherwise have access to a bike. By distributing bicycles and providing proper bike safety education, the Roll it Forward program promotes a healthier lifestyle of increased physical activity and fewer trips by car. The bikes from the program serve as a family’s first step in adopting cycling as an ongoing activity for health and convenience. As of January 2014, the program has distributed 2,728 bicycles, with a goal of distributing 850 more in 2014!
Donations and Repair
Bikes are collected from the general public via our partner shops, who serve as donation drop off locations. Donors are eligible to receive a free jersey or t-shirt to thank them for their donation. We also partner with authorities who collect abandoned bikes such as public works, college campuses, or other large property owners. Our professional mechanics fix up the bikes to ensure they are safe and ready to ride. Learn more about donating!
Bikes, accompanied by a helmet and lock, are distributed in partnership with local community partners such as health centers, homeless shelters, the housing authority, and other non-profit and government agencies. We work with these partner organizations to help them meet their goals and to ensure that bicycles and education go where the need is greatest. If you work with a program in Boston that would like to partner with us to receive bikes, contact our community programs.
Both adults and children who receive bicycles must attend an educational workshop in which they learn how to properly wear a helmet, about bike safety, and must demonstrate safe bicycle handling skills. Depending on the age of the recipients, they also learn about how to safety check their bike, select a bike route, bicycle law, and other helpful tips for new riders.