If you know me then you know then you know Fox Brown, my bicycle. We go everywhere together. Before living in Baltimore I rarely saw other Black people on bicycles. I could count on one hand the number of Black femmes that I spotted on bicycles while I was on the roads. Baltimore different tho. This is the first city in the United States where I regularly see Black folks of all ages and gender expression on bicycles. Then on top of that Black folks on bicycles in Baltimore do cycling in the most blickity Blackest of ways. They fly AF. Bicycles with custom paint jobs in coordinated colors, tricked out in every way possible. Bicycles swerving through traffic for several blocks while popping a single continuous wheelie. Black folks stunting on bicycles in Baltimore remind me of the ways that I used to see Black cowboys stunting on horses in Atlanta. It’s just something else. Something else that speaks to my soul.
That said, the cycling world is a deeply segregated place that is plagued by white supremacy, antiBlack racism, misogyny and ageism. The cycling world, the cycling infrastructure in cities is built to support white biker bros. In the midst of this all there is Baltimore Youth Kinetic Energy Collective. The BYKE Collective is a youth enrichment program dedicated to personal and professional development through learning bicycle mechanics, practicing safe ridership, and building community. BYKe provides free bicycles and mechanic services to Baltimore communities. In addition to bicycles they distribute school supplies and cycling supplies. They regularly organize rapid response and mutual aid to provide food, clothing and other supports. On top of all of that the BYKE space is led by a Black, queer woman. Jasper makes sure that everyone is safe and supported in the space and that racism, transphobia, misgyny, ageism and white supremacy are not.
Help me celebrate my 31st birthday, help me support my communities by donating 31 dollars or more to BYKE.
*For my birthday this year I’m asking you to celebrate with me by supporting my joy, my work and my communities. Each day I’ll be sharing one simple thing that you can do to support me in each of these areas. Visit my blog at the link in my bio to read past posts.