By Monica Garrison
Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB) has taken up the challenge of growing and supporting a community of women and girls who cycle for function, fitness, freedom, and fun. We are engaging women who share a passion for cycling and are seeking the “bike curious.”
As BGDB’s founder, I believe that the simple act of riding a bike can be the catalyst to wonderful and empowering experiences for women of all ages. In 2013, after a summer of re-discovering my love of cycling but noticing very few women of color riding in my town, I set out to find other women who love riding bikes. What started as a simple idea to connect lady cyclists online has turned into a movement with more than 80 inclusive riding groups all over the country and Antigua.
“Black Girls Do Bike!” is an affirmation. And above all else, it is an effort to encourage self-care in a population that is often marginalized, while serving as the backbone to an entire community. The wave it has generated is creating lady leaders in the bicycling movement, introducing new riders to the joy of cycling and filling a void in the larger cycling community.
As the community began to grow, I found that many women of color around the county shared my feelings of not knowing where they belonged in the cycling community, and they also wanted to share their passion for cycling with their friends and family. I wanted to let them know that they weren’t alone. And I wanted to push for women to consider cycling as something else that helps them live richer lives.
Despite stellar growth, BGDB is still very much a grassroots movement. Volunteers who take the lead in each city are called “Sheroes,” and members pay no dues to join. The rides are “no woman left behind” and provide a safe, non-competitive atmosphere for ladies to ride together, support one another and skill-share. Women of all races are encouraged to join the rides, but the focus is African American women because they are an under-represented demographic in the cycling community, and as a population, they have statistically higher rates of preventable diseases.
Team BGDB members can be spotted leading their own rides and joining organized charity rides all over the country. While riding, they are often recognized by their colorful BGDB branded gear, overt camaraderie, and positive vibes. This year, our national meet up will be held in Washington, D.C. as we welcome lady cyclists from all over the world to three days of cycling-related activities.
Find out more about BGDB and how you can support our work at blackgirlsdobike.com.