Red and yellow, black and white

Does your local cycling advocacy reach out to people of color?

I’ve harped on a related issue a couple of times. I think outreach by cycling advocates is better than it used to be, but it can certainly be much improved and I’m glad to see stories like this in Portland, OR where the transpo nerds realize they need to reach out to people of color to reach their bike trip goals.

Gil the Bay Area bike commuter

There has been push back from some communities, some of whom call bike lanes “the white stripes of gentrification.” Bicycles are seen as “stuff white people like.” For the poor, bikes are often a symbol of their poverty, rather than a means of freedom, recreation and artistic expression.

On the flip side, when people of color participate in bike events, there’s a fantastic influx of out-of-box thinking with wildly creative results like Oakland’s scraper bikes and a wonderful diversity of bikes and people at bike events.

We’re a long way from when the League of American Wheelmen was a whites only club, but we still have a ways to go.

Below are some of my San Jose Bike Party photos, and the diverse influx represents more than mere tokenism. How inclusive are your local cycling events?

Asian American

Bump - N - Beaners

San Jose Bike Party Homies

Bike Party


San Jose Bike Party


San Jose Bike Party May 2010


  1. Indeed, I’ve also noticed that many local cycling advocacy groups do not have an organized program attempting to be more inclusive to transgendered people. Why is that?

  2. While Los Angeles Co. Bike Coalition has done outreach to Latino day laborers, it’s done almost nothing to reach black folks, particularly black women. Black women were severely underrepresented at our Ciclavia. And because of the lack of outreach, they don’t get the support from the black members of the city council or Board of supervisors. That’s where the power lies to make changes in infrastructure in LA, not the mayor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.