Rory Lincoln enjoys a lot about his job, especially one area he didn’t expect to.
“I never would have thought of myself as someone who would teach a biking class or someone who is informed about bicycling safety and can impart wisdom on others,” said Lincoln, MoGo Detroit’s director of programming & operations. “It’s actually pretty awesome.”
Among his many responsibilities at the non-profit – where he’s one of only three employees – is teaching MoGo’s Street Skills classes. One class is focused on making bicyclists more confident riding busy, city streets, and the other is for those who haven’t ridden ever, or in a long time.
Like one woman he worked with who was well into her seventies and hadn’t ridden a bicycle in over 45 years.
“She was riding confidently, pedaling pretty fast by the end of a few hours,” he said. “That’s happened numerous times now.
“I really enjoy getting to see people who get satisfaction about being on two wheels and riding independently,” continued Lincoln, a certified instructor by the League of American Bicyclists.
This is all a part of the programming side of the Seaholm High School alumnus’ job, an area where he manages programs focused on equity and accessibility, so everyone can ride.
Lincoln said MoGo does this through programs like their adaptive program, created for those with a wide range of needs who can’t ride a typical two-wheel bicycle. It started last spring, and Lincoln said it’s one of the few programs of its type in cities as populated as Detroit. And in a determination to reach more people, MoGo started a neighborhood ambassador program to help spread the word about bike share.
There’s also MoGo’s $5 access pass, an annual pass for those using a variety of state benefits programs with each rider having an unlimited number of 30 minute trips for the year.
“I think it’s pretty important…especially with how expensive it is to own a personal vehicle and the well-documented transit struggles of the city of Detroit,” Lincoln said. “It’s was really important for us to make sure that anyone who needed access to two-wheel transit could do so.”
Lincoln understands that struggle. It was one he understood when he was stationed in Madagascar from 2012-2015 while volunteering with the Peace Corps.
“Madagascar is definitely not known for its transportation,” he laughed.
Each volunteer was given a bicycle, and this was when Lincoln became really interested in bicycles as a form of transportation.
To learn more about his love for volunteerism though we have to go back a bit further. After completing his degree at the University of Miami – where he studied broadcast journalism, as he originally wanted to be a sports reporter – Lincoln soon discovered working in local news would not be the field for him after all.
“It was a little bit of a bummer for me, so I ended up starting to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity,” he said.
Cue someone suggesting he look into the Peace Corps.
From there he went on to do a fellowship with Challenge Detroit, where he met MoGo Executive Director Lisa Nuszkowski. Immediately, Lincoln knew he wanted to work with her. He joked after hounding her for a job he finally got one, and he has no plans on leaving any time soon.
“This is hands-down the best job I’ve ever had,” Lincoln said.
Photo: Laurie Tennent