If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you like riding your bike, and maybe even go on group rides with other like-minded individuals. Some of us may have had incidents with badly-behaved motorists who resent cyclists using “their” roads. There’s a good chance that those of us who are women riders have also experienced toxic or even dangerous behavior directed at us for being women, especially when riding alone. The black and brown bikers among us experience all these factors plus racism.
Last weekend I got away on a little group bikepacking expedition. It was fun to see old friends and make some new ones while exploring some trails and roads I’d never ridden. I had no reason to worry about my status for any other reason than that I was riding a bike and that there were sometimes cars in my vicinity. I am left pondering whether the experience would be the same for a group of minority cyclists. Would they feel as safe? Why do we see relatively few among our numbers? Is recreational and sport cycling uninviting to non-whites? Are there barriers? Among commuters there may be a little more diversity. When riding through my own neighborhood near downtown I do see a wider range of bicyclists, but generally not so much out on the trails, at least not on bikes, even when trails go through more racially diverse neighborhoods. Why is this? What can we do to be more welcoming as a cycling community?
If you have some ideas, let us know. The bicycle is freedom on two wheels under your own power. The Lincoln Bike Kitchen sets up adults and children desiring a well-functioning bike with one for free if cost is a factor. Now is the time to help all cyclists feel safer and more included in our community, but especially those who may not always have felt welcomed to the “club.”