About a decade ago, Monica Garrison of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, got really into bicycling.
She says it felt great to unplug from technology, feel the wind on her face, and work out.
“I was reaping the benefits of riding on a regular basis, and just enjoying that, but at the same time noticing that there weren’t many women who look like me who I crossed paths with when I was riding,” she says.
Garrison is Black, and bike ridership is overwhelmingly white.
So to help build a community of Black women cyclists, Garrison founded Black Girls Do Bike.
“It was created as a way to find those women and then give them encouragement and inspiration to get on their bikes and ride together,” she says.
Now the organization has about 100 chapters across the country.
Chapter leaders called “sheroes” organize local rides, host community events, and provide a space for riders to connect and support one another.
“You have a group of women who are holding you accountable, who are looking for you to succeed, who have knowledge that they’re willing to share, and who encourage you to keep going,” Garrison says.
Biking can provide exercise and a way to meet new people, and it’s a climate-friendly alternative to driving. So Garrison wants to make sure that cycling is accessible and inclusive for all.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media