‘Ride for Black Lives’ takes it to the streets
Outside White Stadium in Franklin Park, hundreds of cyclists gathered Saturday while organizers of the Ride for Black Lives as organizers handed out water bottles and snacks. By the time they began the ride, the group had swelled to an estimated 600 riders.
“This idea came from the fact that Black lives matter to us as people and as a cycling community,” said organizer Noah Hicks, who led the ride through Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, the Fenway, Back Bay and the North End, before bringing riders to the Boston Common.
While a June 27 Ride for Black Lives took place entirely within the predominantly black neighborhoods of Dorchester and Roxbury, last Saturday’s ride took riders through white communities, Hicks noted.
“We wanted to show up and speak out in other communities,” he said. “White people need to see us. We don’t just want communities of color to acknowledge that Black lives matter. We want everyone to.”
Along the route, the multiracial crowd of riders chanted “Black lives matter,” and some adorned their bikes with signs. Many wore the black “Ride for Black Lives” T-shirts designed for the event by graphic illustrator and designer Alex Joachim.
Cars honked in support as the procession made its way through traffic and many bystanders yelled, “Black lives matter.” In some places, whites yelled, “All lives matter,” but their rants appeared lost amid the sea of cyclists.
The event was less a protest than a demonstration in affirmation of Black lives. Police were not present during the ride.
The atmosphere on the ride remained festive during the hour-long ride through Boston’s streets. The celebratory feeling was what organizers were aiming for.
“Biking is amazing,” said ride organizer Saskia VannJames, a mechanic at Broadway Bicycle School in Cambridge. “It allows you to reconnect with nature. It allows you to move when the world feels stagnant. There’s so much magic in the bicycling community.”
The businesses and nonprofits co-sponsoring the event include Hicks’ bicycle shop Spokehouse, Boston Bike Party, New England Bike Life, CrimsonBikes Cambridge and Bikes Not Bombs.