Inclusivity, Resilience, and Bicycles
Bicycling Research and Social Justice
Women, Trans, and Femmes bicyclists were reassured regarding their place in the bicycling community last week at the San Diego Regional Bike Summit. Ringing in day one of the San Diego Regional Bike Summit, keynote speaker Adonia Lugo, author of Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance led attendees on a journey through culture and mobility in Los Angeles. Lugo has spearheaded multiple projects across the nation, including but not limited to: advocating cycling for people of color and different socioeconomic backgrounds, strategizing multilayer approaches to urbanism with communities, and providing research so that “we create bridges between different bikers.” Her compelling concept of focusing on ‘core riders’ was one that opened discussions between attendees. Borrowing the term from the transit advocacy field, core riders “…are known to be the more frequent and regular users of transit. Such regular users make up most of transit usage. Transit planners should focus on core riders and those considered potential riders.” She continued to discuss that core riders also comprise those bicyclists that aren’t necessarily active in bicycle advocacy but need representation too. The concept of core bicycle riders is crucial to advocacy since they are the most prevalent users.
Check her out at urbanadonia.com for more information on her research background and ongoing work.
Adonia Lugo also co-authored The New Movement Bike Equity Today.
Resilience on Wheels
The theme of representation for core riders continued at the “Resilience on Wheels” session. Four advocates discussed their sense of place on the streets, representing different generations, ethnicities, and gender identities.
Tez de la Tierra discussed their educational classes as a means to use biking ‘as a tool of liberation’ through QTIBIPOC Spirit Bike Tours/Rides in the LA and San Diego areas. They highlighted the strong connection that biking provides with mother earth by experiencing the complexity of landscapes in detail and being able to create strategies to heal from oppression. Sharing their journey with others provides resources to persons who might not have the courage to jump on a bike and cruise.
Karissa Bo Bissa is a local artisan and a member of the SheWolves for over four years. Her story was one that focused on the importance of community and inclusivity that allows women/trans/femmes to feel comfortable bicycling on the streets. Being a SheWolf, she now experiences no boundaries on where she can take her body and bike. Check out SheWolves Facebook Page or Website to see upcoming rides.
Cresencia Garibo is a living example that ‘el querer es poder’ (to want is the power to be able to), learning to ride a bike at 62 years young! Growing up in Mexico she would rarely see women biking since riding a bike was considered to be only for men. She dreamt of learning to ride a bike from a young age and her desire never receded. She now uses bicycling as a therapeutic release.
These speakers bear witness to how much more work needs to be done by bicycle advocacy and transportation justice organizations in the area of gender and diversity equity. It is important for people who have been oppressed to be able to use public spaces, including the street space and have active mobility choices because that is what makes urban life great. By supporting one another and physically showing up, new opportunities will become accessible for women, trans, and others who have not felt the courage to do so by themselves. A successful bike system would provide equal resources and inclusivity to those of different types of backgrounds. A diverse community can provide a wide range of ideas and topics to ultimately understand what a comprehensive system for all would be.
Women/trans/femmes are underrepresented in active mobility and public space, but the San Diego Regional Bike Summit beautifully highlighted the presence that does exist in the community, research, and grassroot movements.
BikeSD continues to celebrate diversity and community by Biking With Pride in this year’s The Parade – San Diego LGBT Pride