On June 13, a group of more than a hundred bike riders met at the Martin Luther King Memorial statue in Denver's City Park. They gathered together to be a part of the Black Lives Matter Solidarity Ride led and organized by The Major Taylor Cycling Club of Denver, Black Girls Do Bike Denver and Emily Kleinfelter, a Transportation Planning Specialist at GO Boulder.
19 days after the murder of George Floyd, this ride was a protest, a call for justice, a celebration of Black cyclists, a time to pay reverence to lives lost and an effort to build support for Black communities and end the state violence that they have endured for centuries. Before the ride departed, Alton Dillard, a co-founding member of the Major Taylor Cycling Club of Denver, and Stephanie Puello, the head of Black Girls Do Bike Denver, spoke on the importance of continuing the fight for racial justice.
In cycling we talk a lot about holistic health. So needless to say when I saw the spin about George Floyd's preexisting condition... The preexisting condition was 400 years of the knee on the neck. That was the preexisting condition. - Alton Dillard
The reverend King said 'There comes a time when silence is betrayal.' So it's contingent on us to speak out, act and keep the momentum going to dismantle systemic racism in all of its forms. - Stepahnie Puello
With posters attached to bikes, the ringing of bells and chants amplifying "Black Lives Matter," the ride was off and headed into the heart of Denver.
As the protest rolled along, the group began to grow in numbers.
Reaching an underpass on the bike path, the group stopped to hold space, regroup, and chant "Black Lives Matter!" and "No Justice, No Peace!"
Upon arriving to the City Courthouse, "Black Lives Matter" echoed throughout the city streets. All the while, more bikers trickled in increasing the protest's size to around 300 riders.
Outside of the State Capitol, protestors dismount, walk up the hill, and kneel for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor the life of George Floyd and so many others who unjustly lost their life due to systemic racism and police brutality.
Courtesy of Bicycle Colorado
I think a lot of people find a lot of freedom in bicycling. Despite the fact that there are a lot of bicyclists in Denver, which I think is one thing that makes it unique and a good way of doing it here, there are issues of exclusivity within the cycling community. So, I think this is an opportunity to bridge a lot of the issues of racial injustice - Stephanie Puello (taken from CBS Denver Interview)
As the clouds began to darken, one last stop was made at the George Floyd mural. Here, riders laid down flowers and paid respects to a man whose murder at the hands of police reignited the call to dismantle systemic racism, end police brutality and work to reinvest into communities that have and continue to be harmed by state violence.
The ride concluded back at the MLK Memorial statue. Riders were thanked for being part of the protest, for being active in calling for an end to police brutality and were invited to join future rides hosted by the Major Taylor Cycling Club and Black Girls Do Bike by following them on their respective Facebook channels.
Dismantling anti-blackness and systemic racism doesn't start or end with a protest or solidarity ride. It happens through donating tangible resources, advocacy, self education and accountability... Let us continue to work as agents for radical transformation because we know that reform is not enough. We must channel our anger and frustration into organizing and calling for justice, equity and liberation... This ride, these protests, and these demonstrations, will reverberate with our declaration that Black Lives Matter... We will not negotiate our humanity. Equality is not up for debate. There is no middle ground. All lives cannot matter until Black lives do. - Stephanie Puello