Outdoor Afro Bike Ride a Wild Success!
While I am still recovering from the planning and fun of the bike ride on Sunday, I could not let another day go by without sharing and thanking everyone involved with the event to make it a success in every possible way!
A total of twenty-three bikers of a wide range of ages and abilities wheeled though the underrepresented parts of Richmond, California. East Bay Regional Parks Naturalist Bethany Facendini was an amazing resource, providing loaner bikes for those who did not have one, and gave talks during our breaks with demonstrations to educate the group about the local watershed.
Urban Tilth’s Doria Robinson was also on hand to share information about native plants and other fascinating lore about Richmond’s expansive shoreline.
The ride was mainly a flat 12 miles that meandered along the Wildcat Creek line, through neighborhoods, and ended at the San Francisco Bay with sweeping views of Mount Tamalpias in the distance. This ride went further than many in the group had ever travelled by bicycle. Even more compelling is that several participants were either new bike riders or had not been on a bike in decades. More experienced riders, including two from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition seemed glad to slow their pace and support the newer riders.
Richmond Spokes, a community bicycle coalition and job training organization, was on hand adjusting many of the bikes that had not seen the light of day in years. Executive Director Brian Drayton assisted on the route, and coached less experienced bikers to make small changes in posture and pedaling to help them get more enjoyment out of the bicycling experience.
As we rode through neighborhoods, residents were more than a little curious to see so many people of color riding through on bicycles. But there were frequent cheers and other gestures of support. Participant Delane Sims said, “A black bike ride has more impact on our inner city neighborhoods than we might imagine. It made my heart smile to hear all the love and support via car horns and cheers from our brothers and sisters!”
Comments like Delane’s were echoed by other participants, and a reminder that the most powerful way to get more people involved with outdoor spaces is through role-modeling culturally relevant examples.
Thanks again to all who participated to create such a wonderful, life-changing experience. I assure you Outdoor Afro and its partners will do it again – and in a city near you!
So, what would it take for you to bike in your local urban area?