Lest you think that black girls can’t or don’t or won’t ride a bicycle, this project is here to educate you otherwise. Note: it helps, when pronouncing this project out loud, to stress the word “DO” because this group wants you to know that black girls and women really DO bike. Seriously.
Monica Garrison, founder of Black Girls Do Bike: Pittsburgh (BGDB) encourages all women to take up biking, but the project focuses on African-American women who are both under-represented in the larger cycling community and who are statistically more likely than their peers to be overweight and suffer from heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. BGDB also encourages women to pay it forward and bring friends, family, and coworkers along for the ride. Their mission is to foster a supportive environment for new bike riders with monthly “no drop” rides, which means that no one will get lost or drop behind on the route. The group provides constant support and encouragement to new riders, making sure that everyone gets back to the start.
Ms. Garrison was born and raised in Pittsburgh, attending Schenley High School and Robert Morris University. Monica states:
“I learn, live, work, raise a family and ride my bike in Pittsburgh. I am very excited to see the positive changes happening with bike infrastructure. It is refreshing to see that Mayor Peduto, the county and Bike PGH have a clear plan to make Pittsburgh a world class bike-friendly city. We believe that it can and will happen.”
Awesome Pittsburgh Trustee Evelyn Castillo was as big supporter of this project:
“BGDB’s plan is to get more ladies on bikes, and studies show that riding bikes makes you more awesome. All kidding aside, this project creates a space for girls and women to explore, to commute, to exercise more often and to feel safe while doing so. They also provide an opportunity for newcomers to the city to join a community. BGDB: Pittsburgh is just more reason to love our city.”
BGDB is using the grant money to support supporting various biking events throughout this past biking season, which include the following: BikePGH Inaugural Cyclofemme Ride, Open Streets Pittsburgh, Bike Share Party Ride, PGH Fundamentals of Cycling Class, PedalPGH, and BikePGH’s Ladies Night at The Wheel Mill.