Each season, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) brings on Community Liaisons to support the work of the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) in Philadelphia. In this blog, you will learn more about the two new liaisons and how they have been able to amplify BBSP’s reach during this time with our virtual Urban Riding Basics classes!
Let’s meet Lor!
Lor Song (He/Him), comes from a first-generation Hmong family that immigrated to the United States in 1975, to escape the Vietnam War in Laos. As a West Philly native, he built his roots as a breakdancer (Breaker) in Philadelphia and eventually made it to MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew season two with Phresh Select. He teaches at the Barnes Foundation for a program called Pictures & Words, a free education program offered to all schools in the Philadelphia region which teaches third-graders literacy and storytelling through Breaking and Barnes’s collection of visual art.
Changing gears from performing on stage and teaching, he is the new Community Liaison at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) and is thrilled to be a part of this new partnership. His role as the Community Liaison is to educate, share resources, and create social equity within communities of Philadelphia and the surrounding regions. The Better Bike Share Partnership offers educational programs in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP), the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NATCO), and the PeopleForBikes Foundation.
A note from Alejandro!
Dear Indego community, BBSP partners, and Philly:
I am Alejandro Utria, the new Bilingual Community Liaison for the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) team based at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. I am happy to be recruited into BBSP’s national work of encouraging more people to use and enjoy Philly’s bike share system. Along with my partner Lor Song, my Community Liaison role is to grow Indego’s relationship with different communities in Philadelphia, especially Spanish-speaking communities.
I am a translator, musician, and researcher, great with creative ideas and meeting new people but also great with spreadsheets. I was lucky to grow up in many countries and happy to be living in West Philly for the last eight years. I have a degree in Urban Studies and have worked in community gardens, vacant lot cleaning, and academic research related to healthier cities and transportation. The Community Liaison role allows me to assemble my skills and put my creativity into action alongside some powerful community partners.
Together we will work toward mobility and environmental justice while also simply enjoying group rides in great summer weather (as soon as that becomes possible). Of course, I am particularly interested in working with community gardens and music organizations.
My first bike ride in Philly was on an Indego bike in my sophomore year of undergrad, and it was actually my first ride in any city. I got over my initial fear by riding with friends from Philly, and I got a lot of practice by being late to class often. For a few years, I thought that biking was about being tough, brave, young, and fast. This “bike versus city” thinking was completely wrong, and made me unnecessarily sweaty and stressed. Over time, I got a lot more comfortable, less in a rush, and the City installed the Chestnut Street bike lane; I changed into a smooth commuter that appreciates the breeze and the fun.
To be free and confident to live through your city on a bike is not about physical fitness or bravery or expensive gear, but about growing your own safety, calm, and sense of fun – and, practice, like anything else. We have your back – while the City and Indego work on bike lanes and stations, I and my team at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia are here with the knowledge, the group rides, and the encouragement for you and your friends.
Due to COVID-19, our classes have been taking place virtually in Spanish and English, and are live-streamed on Indego’s and the BCGP’s Facebook pages, so take advantage of these classes while you have the time! This is one way the City of Philadelphia, BBSP, BCGP, and Indego are working towards social equity for our communities.
If you would like more information about organizing rides and classes within your community, feel free to reach out to your Community Liaison directly.
Lor Song firstname.lastname@example.org
Alejandro Utria email@example.com
The Better Bike Share Partnership is an effort led by the City of Philadelphia that works to ensure that Indego bike share is accessible to all Philadelphians. The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by the JPB Foundation.