- Need: To increase physical activity in rural Arizona.
- Intervention: The Bike Ajo Coalition developed a comprehensive bicycle program for adults and youth, which provides bicycle helmets, repairs, community rides, an after-school bike program, and education.
- Results: Community members have volunteered to become League-Certified Cycling Instructors, and 24 people are interested in joining the Bike Ajo Coalition.
In rural Ajo, Arizona, Bike Ajo is working to improve the health of children and adults through two bike hubs: One is located at the school for the middle school bicycle program and the second hub is located in Desert Senita Community Health Center, where residents and visitors can borrow adult bicycles and helmets and attend safety education and community events.
The Bike Ajo Coalition includes community members, community health workers, Desert Senita Community Health Center, Ajo Unified School District, Arizona Department of Transportation, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center, Pima County Middle School Bike Education Program, and the University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the Department of Mexican American Studies. The coalition activities have been sustained through the efforts and resources from community, county, and state agencies.
Bike Ajo was originally funded by the Arizona Planning Association's Plan4Health grant. Besides program planning and evaluation and the programs themselves, the grant money was used for:
- Adult bikes
- Water bottles
- Reflective shirts, so cyclists are more visible in traffic
- League Cycling Instructor training
- Training in digital storytelling
Community members and visitors can borrow helmets from the town's two bike hubs. Middle school students can borrow bicycles, which were purchased by the county. The Bike Ajo Coalition also provides:
- Bicycle safety education
- Bicycle repair training
- Bicycle maintenance resources
- League-Certified Cycling Instructor certification
- Annual community bike and hike
- Cub Scout bike rides
- Riding groups for adults
- High School Future Health Leaders Club
- Annual Bike and Hike at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
- Other community events providing information about the coalition's work
Community members have volunteered to become League-Certified Cycling Instructors, and 24 people are interested in joining the Bike Ajo Coalition. Partners are working with the Arizona Department of Transportation to develop a Rural Bicycling and Pedestrian Summit in the fall of 2020. There are plans to develop a partnership between the rural Ajo middle school bike program and an urban middle school bike program.
Desert Senita Community Health Center received CMS's Excellence in Person and Family Engagement award for its leadership in Bike Ajo.
An Ajo resident shares his story in this video:
Other participants' videos are available at Plan4Health: Bike Ajo.
Ajo does not have a bike shop. It's also located 1.5 hours away from the next nearest health facilities and bike shops and 2.5 hours away from the county seat. The distance from the county seat makes it costly and difficult to access resources. Bike Ajo's solution to this issue was to build capacity within the community through training and purchasing equipment and supplies.
Public health faculty and students worked on different phases of the project, like community assessment and evaluation. A community survey, completed by 70 people, showed that community members were interested in promoting mountain biking as a form of "eco-tourism," so project coordinators placed bike trail maps in neighboring communities' bike shops and on partner websites.
Project coordinators also conducted a literature review, a road bike assessment, a Safe Routes to School assessment, and a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.
- Build a strong multi-sectoral coalition
- Base your work on the most recent community assessment
- Ensure your intervention is community-led
- Plan with sustainability in mind
- Build on community assets
Contact InformationMartha Monroy, program manager and lecturer
University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
Community and economic development
September 27, 2019
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.