HOUSTON – The next time you get a check-up, a doctor can give you a prescription to ride a bike. The new program is called Bike Rx and it came into fruition 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 and 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 the patient sign up for a free BCycle membership where they can take a unlimited 90-minute bike rides for a year, and then track the physical activity and bike use in the clinic’s electronic health records (EHR).
“Our most important mission is to let people know, they can get on a bike, it is available to them, we’ve expanded to areas that have previously been underserved, so it’s important for all Houstonians to have access to a bike. Now, it’s not only great for transportation but it makes you feel better,” according to Mary DeBauche, Development & Communication Manager of Houston BCycle.
Bike Rx started at Legacy Community Health on Lyons in Fifth Ward, but several other clinics and health systems are in talks of joining, so Houston BCycle hosted a bike ride for medical providers through Third Ward this past weekend.
“We’re trying to expand this Bike Rx into other clinics and other medical facilities, by introducing them to see how easy it is to get on a bike and how high comfort it can be, especially in Third Ward,” DeBauche said.
Emily Paul, Community Impact Director with American Heart Association understands that this partnership is a huge benefit for transportation, but for also your health.
“We know that cycling is great for our heart health and brain health, it is low impact, great for people with joint pain.... they have E-bikes that provide that extra oomph for easier cycling,” according to Paul.
Houston BCycle says summer is their busiest riding season, understands it’s hot so here are some tips to stay safe in the heat:
- Wear SPF
- Helmets provide protection from the sun
- Drink plenty of water
- ride earlier in the morning or closer to the evening hours to stay safe from the heat.
Remember, anyone can rent out a bike from Houston BCycle, they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Houston BCycle released the following statement:
“Bike Rx is an innovative solution addressing health inequity 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 taking place outdoors in response to the pandemic; this is a solution that can bridge the two to keep people active and give them access to community.”
Bike equipment will be provided with memberships in Houston BCycle, Houston’s non-profit bike share organization. Anyone can check out a bike at any of 150 stations and ride to any other station or back to where they started, whether it’s for fun, exercise, or a commute to work or school. The Legacy Community Health Fifth Ward BCycle station and three other bike share stations were installed around Fifth Ward this year thanks to funding from Fifth Ward CRC and Harris County Precinct One.
“As Houston’s non-profit bike share, we are thrilled to partner with Legacy Community Health, American Heart Association, and Precinct One to expand a key tenant of our mission: access,” said Bryan Reed, Houston BCycle’s Executive Director. “Biking is exercise AND it’s so much more. It’s the chance to interact and see each other in ways that do not confine us to looking out the window of a vehicle. Let’s get Houston rolling!”