DENVER — When it comes to the outdoors, Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB) wants to take up space. The nonprofit, which has local chapters in all 50 states, exists to cultivate a community for Black women who share a love for cycling.
“Because of the times we live in now, organizations like Black Girls Do Bike are needed so much more than ever,” explained Brooke Goudy, a member of BGDB.
Black Girls Do Bike is breaking stereotypes on two wheels
For many women of color like Goudy, exclusively Black spaces—where Black folks can be themselves without feeling uncomfortable—are a necessity. In addition to creating a welcoming and safe space where Black cyclists can meet up and ride together, BGDB hopes to change the narrative that Black folks don’t participate in outdoor pursuits like cycling.
“There are several stereotypes around what Black women or just people of color do and don’t do and when it comes to the being outdoors,” Goudy said. “I’m no stranger to the phrase, ‘I didn’t know Black people ski, snowboard, or go for long runs.’ That is why we are building these organizations to say it loud and proud: Black women ride bikes, Black folks run, Black folks ski.”
Goudy, who joined BGDB at the onset of the pandemic, is one of the leaders for the Black Girls Do Bike Denver chapter.
“We as Black women experience micro-aggressions throughout the day. There is nothing like getting on your bike and being with a group of Black women to have laughs, conversations,” Goudy said. “Black Girls Do Bike is a safe space for Black women to be themselves and take a break from the burden of sometimes being the only Black person.”
In addition to cultivating a safe space in Denver, the 358-member group aims to increase Black representation in outdoor activities—ultimately breaking down the barriers for other Black folks who may feel out of place.
“I’m from Colorado and I always heard that Black people don’t engage in extreme sports. When I grew up, I realized that is not true!” Deandra Sharp, a BGDB member, said. “I will say that it is hard to find the representation of people of color who are participating in extreme sports activities, especially in a state like Colorado.”
Above all, BGDB exists to uplift and encourage women of color who find joy in riding, like BGDB member Debra Gilbert.
“It brings me peace to be on two wheels, but when I discovered Black Girls Do Bike; I thought I had died and went to heaven,” said Gilbert.
Goudy added: “Cycling with these amazing Black women is a time where we get to experience Black joy together.”
If you are interested in starting a BGDB chapter in your community, click here. For more information on the Denver chapter, visit their Facebook group.
Lindsey Ford is a multimedia journalist for Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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