Beyond his universe-beating basketball talent, LeBron James is associated with an innumerable number of things and interests. He’s a Hummer representative (old and new), an actor, a media entrepreneur, a controversial taco enthusiast, and generally one of the greatest role models the sports world has ever had. He’s also a bicycle nut (as Miami Heat fans know), and he believes manual two-wheelers can make a major positive impact on society. Not everybody has access to one, however, a problem he hopes to address as part of a new initiative called LyftUp.
In partnership with James, his company Uninterrupted, and the YMCA, transportation company Lyft is aiming to provide free bicycle access to select teenagers. The ultimate goal is to ensure transportation for everybody, but one thing at a time. Lyft says it already offers discounts to people in low-income areas, which make up more than 40% of Lyft rides, and this is the next step in lowering the barrier of entry to mobility. The LyftUp initiative covers bike access, as well as aiding the less fortunate with job, grocery, and voting access, as well.
So where does the YMCA come in? Lyft is working with the Y to help identify certain 16-20-year-olds who need the help the most. Thousands of kids and young adults will be given free one-year bikeshare memberships that can be used with any Lyft-associated bike programs. Lyft will use a variety of methods to raise funds for the free memberships, but the public will also be able to round-up their own rides and donate to the cause.
The first pilot test of the program will launch in New York City in the spring of 2020 with Citi Bikes. If all goes well, the program will launch with Chicago’s Divvy bikes and the Bay Area’s Bay Wheels. For more information on the program and how to help, visit Lyft.