February is Black History Month--a time to celebrate the rich cultural history of Black Americans (this month and every month). Here are some rides, events, screenings, and readings for people who bike.
Cascade members are familiar with our Major Taylor Project, but do you know the story of the man behind the name?
Called the “fastest man in America” and the “Black Cyclone” in newspapers of his era, Marshall “Major” Taylor won world and national championships in the late 1800s and early 1900s–all while battling racism throughout his storied bike racing career.
Read our “History of Major Taylor” to learn about the namesake of Cascade’s Major Taylor Project, and watch the short ESPN film “The Six Day Race,” which documents Taylor’s rise to fame as our country’s first Black superstar.
Registration opens on Feb. 6 for Cascade’s Ride for Major Taylor presented by REI Co-op in April.
Bike to the Afrofuture
Seattle’s Central Cinema is one of the city’s few remaining independently owned movie houses. Combine a bike ride with a movie this month by pedaling to the Central Cinema to see one of the three Afrofuturist film classics the theater will screen in February.
The Buffalo Soldiers
Bikepacker, adventurer, and STP Ambassador Erick Cedeño has made it his mission to share the story of the legendary Army unit of Black soldiers who completed one of the most arduous bikepacking trips in U.S. history.
Known as the Buffalo Soldiers, this unit of 20 Black men pedaled and pushed their bicycles 1,900 miles over unpaved roads and through forests and rivers during an 1897 expedition across the western United States. Read our story from 2023 about Cedeño and his efforts to re-trace and ride the same route, and bring to life the stories of these men.
You can also bus or bike to the Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Tacoma to learn more about the soldiers.
Vancouver, Wash., is home to Fort Vancouver, a National Historic Site where members of the segregated Army units that became known as the Buffalo Soldiers were stationed in 1899. People can bike to the site where plaques and interpretive signage commemorate these men, including Medal of Honor winner Moses Williams, who is buried in the Fort Vancouver cemetery.
On Feb. 3, Friends of Fort Vancouver is showing the documentary “Searching for York,” about the only Black member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Northwest African American Museum
On Feb. 15, Seattle’s Northwest African American Museum will hold a Black History Keynote with Dr. Doretha Williams of the Smithsonian Museum, who will discuss Black family history and genealogy.
We love Peace Peloton and its founder Doc Wilson for their efforts to bring the bicycling community together to support Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurship. Join the many supporters who bike to Columbia City on the third Saturday of each month for the Columbia City Night Market, held this month on Feb. 17.
MLK’s Historic Seattle Visit
In 1961, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Seattle to speak at multiple locations across the city, including Garfield High School and Eagle’s Auditorium. Read our 2021 story, Pedaling to Discover Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Seattle Legacy, which includes tips for self-guided bike rides to some of the murals, works of art and locations where King spoke.
As Peace Peloton founder Doc Wilson said in our 2021 story:
"As bicyclists, we should remember that Dr. King was a peaceful warrior for transportation equity through his leadership of the Montgomery bus boycott, which held that Black people should not be required to take a back seat. While we have made progress, it is clear when riding a bike through Seattle's historically Black neighborhoods today--or even down MLK Way--that BIPOC neighborhoods continue to take a back seat when it comes to safe bike lanes and cycling infrastructure. The bicycling community in Seattle and King County can advance Dr. King's legacy by pushing to make bicycling safer and more equitable for all."
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