ofo left Atlanta, but its bikes get a heartwarming second chance in town
When China-based bike-share company ofo announced last month it was packing up and moving out of Atlanta—among many other American cities—people naturally imagined the company’s bright yellow bicycles would vanish from city streets.
From afar, it might’ve seemed the company was suffering—at least in American markets—but the operation still boasts more than 1 million bikes in the country and claims its shareable vehicles have been used for more than 11 billion rides globally.
So, when ofo closed shop in Atlanta, they just left their bikes here—but not littered on the sidewalks.
On Thursday, Central Atlanta Progress announced ofo had donated all 188 of its two-wheeled assets to the intown business association and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, which have since paid it forward.
Adair Park’s Bearings Bike Shop, situated on the Beltline’s Westside Trail, was gifted 40 bikes, which it will use in its youth development programs teaching kids and teens about bicycle upkeep and repair.
Plus, graduates of Bearings’s training course will get to keep one of the bikes.
Ofo’s donation also put 100 of its rides in the hands of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Shifting Gears program, which aims to help Atlanta Public Schools students, teachers, and parents with the ins and outs of bike safety.
And, as if all that wasn’t heartwarming enough, 20 bikes went to First Step Staffing, a nonprofit organization focused on helping people find jobs after homelessness. The group’s clients will be able to borrow the bikes to get to job opportunities.
First Step has also launched an Amazon Wish List so community members can provide helmets and locks to their clients.
See, dockless vehicle share programs—even defunct ones—can be so much more than a nuisance.