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Atlanta seeks enthusiastic Bike Share Champions; paying $22/hour

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Two-wheeled ambassadors get bonus MARTA cards, bike share pass

Live in one of Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods? Like riding a bike? Affable?

Well, the good news is the city of Atlanta and Relay Bike Share are shelling out $22 an hour for Bike Share Champions to ... well, champion the new program on the city’s western fringes.

The bad news: It’s only three to five hours of work per week. Perks, though, include MARTA cards and a bike share pass.

The city is looking for 10 able-bodied advocates for the cause, which consists of conducting outreach specifically in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods. (By the city's definition, that doesn't mean the Howell Mill Road area and such). According to a news release from the city, Bike Share Champs will help educate others about the initiative at community events in an effort to raise awareness of the bike share program and generate interest in its use.

The project will serve neighborhoods including University Center, the West End, Vine City, and English Avenue, where additional Relay bike share stations will be installed over the next year.

Earlier this summer, city leaders officially launched the long-anticipated bike sharing program. Operated by Cyclehop, the program features 100 bright blue bikes at 10 downtown locations, but will expand to 500 bikes across the city over the next year, if all goes according to plan.

Boosters say the program brings Atlanta in line with other major world cities like London, Beijing, New York, and Toronto.

"In conversations with Westside residents, we hear that the community wants workforce development and greater access to job opportunities and career training," said Becky Katz, the city's Chief Bicycle Officer, in the release. "The Bike Share Champions program will provide a job as well as an opportunity to promote Atlanta’s bike share as a useful, affordable, and meaningful transportation tool."

The program is a partnership between the city, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, WeCycle, Urban Perform, Red, Bike & Green Atlanta, and Relay Bike Share. Officials say it'll support Atlanta’s efforts to achieve national recognition as a "Bicycle Friendly Community" — potential slogan: "Tell your BFFs we're BFC, #atlrulesyall," or maybe not? — and to become a top 10 ten city in the U.S. for cycling.

And before you bust a sprocket over Atlanta blowing tax dollars on paid bicyclists, rest easy knowing the program is funded by the Better Bike Share Partnership through the JPB Foundation, a national initiative administering $900,000 of grant funds over three years to recipients across the country.

Additionally, matching funds will be provided by the Atlanta Regional Commission through the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness Partnerships to Improve Community Health.

To apply to be a Bike Share Champion, visit atlantabike.org/bikechampionsapply. Deadline is Sept. 19.

Godspeed, Champions.