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The Black Women Making Space For Themselves And Their Bikes On The Road

In the last few years, a collective need to unite and mobilise in positive action towards tackling the climate crisis has come into play. From popular brands creating their own sustainable bottles and clothing to young people orchestrating environmental marches, the need to start doing things differently has been pressed upon us all.

As lockdown commenced and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement began, in response to and in accordance with Covid-19 safety measures I began attending bike rides, mainly organised by black men, in solidarity. As we rode through bike lanes, encouraged by cars and buses, a sense of nonconformity emerged within the group that enlivened us to continue pedalling through. And with the rediscovery of my passion for cycling, I discovered fellow riders who shared my longing for a safe space to freely cycle with a group of black female cyclists. 

Three-month cycling newbie Muni Pilgrim first got the urge to start four years ago but took up running instead.

“At first, I hesitated because I lived in Harlesden, north west London, and the idea of running up and down Church Road, at a time when the police were constantly stopping black men, as a black woman didn’t appeal to me,” she explains. “But, after being encouraged by a dear friend to do so, I incorporated it into my schedule straight after my morning prayers for a few years, until moving back to Bristol.”

Following her move, for a year and a half she had an ongoing knee problem. She was advised to consider an operation or to build up her knee muscle and purchased a bike that week.