After two reschedules due to rainy Tennessee weather, we co-hosted the Blackout the Greenway Ride with Black Girls Do Bike this past Sunday.
Write up: Brenda Perez
The Blackout the Greenway was Walk Bike Nashville's first collaboration with Black Girls Do Bike Nashville. Black Girls do Bike is a national organization that focuses on encouraging Black Women to ride. Nashville has a chapter thanks to She-ro Tina Fox.
To find out more about Black Girls Do Ride, check out the website and follow @BlackGirlsDoBikeNashville on Instagram.
The ride was an idea by Andrea Barbour, WBN board member and me, Brenda Perez, WBN community engagement coordinator. Andrea and I met back in February, and we were clear that we wanted to create spaces and opportunities for Black and people of color to ride, be outside and enjoy life. Thankfully, soon after that, we met Tina Fox, who jumped on board. Not too long after that, Ashleigh Wilson rejoined Walk Bike Nashville staff, Ashleigh had been our Bike Valet Coordinator pre-pandemic, and she rejoined WBN as the Education Coordinator and helped make this ride a success.
|WBN Board Member: Andrea Barbour||League Certified Instructor: Ira B. and Black Girls Do Bike She-ro: Tina Fox|
Our goal for this ride was to make a special invitation to Black women to ride.
We selected meeting at Ted Rhodes Park because this segment of the greenway is reasonably flat, as far as Nashville's hills go, and convenient. Ted Rhodes park is based in historically Black North Nashville and just a few miles from Tina's Alma Mater, Tennessee State University. Go Tigers! The ride was named Blackout the Greenway by Andrea Barbour because we wanted to ride in solidarity with Black women and chose black as the color to wear. You could see who is with us by the all-black attire. Initially, we scheduled the ride to take place during Women’s history month.
Our easy ride got quite popular, and before you know it, we had 70+ people registered.
So we do what we do best and got ready to roll. We worked on our logistics, got the snacks ready, checked Walk Bike Nashville’s bicycle fleet, and talked to tv stations interested in reporting.
As the morning faded into the midday sun, people started rolling in; at one point, Andrea and I looked at each other as we saw over two dozen riders before noon. The smiles were big, under the masks of course. Masking was a must. Black people, Latino and Indigenous people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and we were not going to put anyone at risk.
We were planning to ride on the greenway the whole time, but we made a last-minute change due to the 15-20 mph wind gusts.
We wanted the riding experience to be fun and comfortable; per Ira Baxter's suggestion, we rode to our halfway point on the greenway and then turned back through a very quiet and empty industrial park. The ride could not have been a bigger success. We met so many women who decided to dust off their bikes and join, women who heard about it on a local TV station, showed up without knowing anyone, those who cheered as women were returning, public school teachers, state workers, students, moms, sisters, neighbors. Although the ride was a special invitation for Black women, everyone else was invited to ride along in solidarity.
Taking a break to ride your bike is about prioritizing yourself. It’s about giving your body the love and care it deserves. Bike riding, enjoying a bike ride, going for a walk is taking a pause to restore and renew. These are necessary practices to live in this world that brings injustices every day.
Ride your bike with friends or by yourself, go for a hike in a park, or a walk around your block. You/we/I deserve to have these moments.
Special thanks to:
Domestiques Cycling Club who helped make this ride a success, fixed three flats and made everyone feel safe. For more information about the Domestiques, Check out their Instagram.
Major Momentum Cycling Club, whose members did the ABC Quick Check on all of our loaner bikes.
And Everyone who came out to make this ride a success.