August 21, 2018

#RideWithUsPgh: Meet Merecedes Howze

Did you know Healthy Ride recently expanded its team? This summer, we hired six community ambassadors to take residents on two-wheeled adventures through the Hill District, Homewood and Larimer. Our ambassadors hosted group rides, organized outreach events and held safety workshops in their communities.

One even overcame her fears of biking and taught herself how to ride a bicycle! Meet Merecedes Howze, our next #RideWithUsPgh neighborhood narrative.

How long have you lived in Homewood?

I’ve lived in Homewood since I was 12-years-old. I was born and raised in the Hill District, and when I turned eight, my family moved to  Larimer.

What’s your fondest memory about growing up in the city?

Community! In the Hill District, I remember playing outside with friends. The store bus pulling up was the best! We would run down the street when we saw it coming and get our favorite sniggities, what we called snacks. Growing up in Homewood, Harambee was probably the best time of the year. It was an opportunity for everyone to come together and enjoy great food, dance, music, shopping and an all around good time for families.

Why did you start cycling?

Learning how to ride a bike was on my bucket list. It was unheard of to be 30 and not know how to ride a bike, so I taught myself in January. So don’t be afraid! Expand your horizons, and get active.

How long have you used the bike share program, and how do you use the bikes?

Three months. I decided to become a Healthy Ride Community Ambassador to build my confidence in cycling. On a scale of 1-10, my confidence level was at a two. Today, I’m at an eight! Recently, I was the lead for my group bike ride. I could NOT have done that two months ago. I hope that when my followers see me on social media on the bike it builds their confidence too.

What are your favorite places to bike in Homewood?/the Hill District and Larimer, and why?

Anywhere in Homewood.  Until you get to Homewood North, it’s pretty much a flat area. The early morning rides are best. In addition to the scenic, historic routes in Homewood, there are elderly people on their porches saying hello and encouraging me on the bike.

What would you say to your neighbors to encourage them to use the bike share program?

For many of my neighbors, they haven’t rode a bike in a long time. I would want them to know that Healthy Ride is great learning tool to jump back on the bike. Just as Healthy Ride is expanding to many different neighborhoods, I would encourage my neighbors to think outside of the box and use as many bike rental stations as much as possible. Bike riding has been a healthy alternative to riding in a car. One small ride can burn calories and build stamina for someone who is not typically active.

What can people expect if they go on a group ride with you?

Laughter, learning, and leisure.  

Join Merecedes on her next group ride! New rides being added to Healthy Ride’s Facebook page every week.

Complete the following sentence. I love Healthy Ride’s bike share program, because…

It meets you where you are.  I’m not a avid bike rider. I’m not commuting to and from work.  But, I am a beginner looking for a healthy outlet. Healthy Ride is convenient and it’s expanding to meet my needs. You can talk to every Healthy Rider and probably hear hundreds of different stories about how the bike share program is special for them. That’s the beauty of Healthy Ride.


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