Friends on Bikes creates bicycling opportunities for Trans, Women, Intersex, and Genderqueer riders of color.
Cascade is excited to welcome the Friends on Bikes community into the STP family.
Friends on Bikes is part of a growing movement to welcome more people of diverse identities into the bicycling community.
With chapters in Seattle, Portland, and Toronto, Friends on Bikes organizes no-drop social rides and overnight bike camping trips for women, trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
The goal is to foster a sense of community and increase diversity in bicycling.
“There are a lot of clubs and rides that are generally open to everyone,” says Roxanne Robles, organizer for the Seattle chapter. “However, they often become dominated by cisgender men who want to be fast and have the newest gear. Because this is how cycling is marketed–masculine, expensive, technical, and exclusive.”
Friends on Bikes is changing that by welcoming bike lovers who don’t fit the stereotypical bicyclist mold.
Cascade Bicycle Club is pleased to announce that Friends on Bikes is joining the STP Affinity Bike Clubs Partnership. It’s an initiative aimed at welcoming people of all racial, gender, and sexual identities, and folks of all physical abilities, to join us on July 15-16 for the Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland Presented by Alaska Airlines.
To learn more about the Affinity Bike Clubs Partnership and the groups participating, read our post “Riding STP and Celebrating the Diversity of our Bicycling Community.”
FOB Seattle: Social Rides and Camping Overnighters
Friends on Bikes began in 2014 in Portland, and the Seattle chapter formed In 2017.
“We are an affinity group for folks at the intersection of marginalized racial, ethnic and gender identities,” Robles says.
Friends on Bikes Seattle organizer Roxanne Robles.
In 2018, the Seattle chapter’s founder, S.J. Brooks, died in a cougar attack while bicycling. It was a horrific event and “a massive loss to the cycling community. “They were a positive light who worked tirelessly to create change,” says a tribute to Brooks on the Radical Adventure Riders website, which has created a scholarship in their memory.
The Seattle chapter went dormant for several years until Robles, an urban planner and author of a bike touring book, stepped up and started posting rides again in 2021.
“We’ve been slowly building our community base and growing our capacity. We’re not trying to be big or do more than we can,” Robles says.
Between 10 to 20 people typically participate in the FOB SEA social rides, and they try to limit overnight bike camping trips to a dozen people.
“For overnights we have a pre-trip meeting,” Robles says. “We do a Bike Camping 101. The goal is to make people feel comfortable and prepared ahead of time.”
Robles was compelled to organize these camping trips after participating in some bike overnighters that had too much masculine energy and not enough of a supportive, communal vibe.
Trips often begin with a ferry ride from Seattle to the Kitsap Peninsula. Making shared meals, sharing stories around the campfire: these are just as important as the bike ride, she says.
“It’s more about enjoying the journey than jamming to the destination,” Robles says.
Few bike clubs or group ride organizers intentionally set out to create exclusionary rides, Robles says, “but they end up that way because so many are not intentional about the audience, being trauma-informed, or curating rides for all or many abilities.”
In Portland, the Friends on Bikes chapter known as FOB PDX is planning to host a mixture of off-road day rides and beginner-friendly overnighters about once a month starting in late spring. “These rides will be no-drop and beginner friendly,” says Arthi Vijaykumar, a Portland ride leader.
In Toronto, "BIKEPOC will be hosting monthly leisure rides and bicycle mechanics workshops this upcoming summer," says Keiren Al, the Toronto chapter organizer. "Our rides are beginner-friendly, no-drop, and we welcome all skill levels and bikes to join us. We are exclusively run by and for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour who identify as women, trans, and non-binary."
Cascade is excited to welcome Friends on Bikes to STP, and we salute their efforts to create rides that expand the bicycling community.
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