Since they began, Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB) and Little Bellas have walked the talk to usher new riders past barriers to entry into cycling and welcome them into the greater community of female cyclists. Now they will be doing that together by supporting each other’s objectives.
BGDB champions efforts to introduce the joy of cycling to all women, especially women and girls of color, and counts more than 100 chapters worldwide. Little Bellas’s goal is to help young women realize their potential through cycling, which happens at its mountain bike camps for girls, which take place across the United States.
“Camaraderie is the most powerful thing we have,” said Monica Garrison, founder of BGDB. “If you are motivated by accountability, or fellowship, friendship, or networking — there’s a real cultural aspect to Black Girls Do Bike. We keep it friendly for beginner rides; we meet you where you are.
Little Bellas is centered around creating camaraderie for girls on bikes in a constructive environment, but once a camp is over or girls age out of the program, then what? Knowing and understanding that barriers to cycling exist can inhibit further engagement in the sport.
This new partnership will provide a place for girls of color to start riding and belong to a community of girls their age with Little Bellas, and then to continue riding with the BGDB community once camp is over or they grow out of Little Bellas.
“I’d like our girls and mentors of color to be able to join their community,” said Sabra Davison, executive director of Little Bellas. “By creating a partnership where we can tell our constituents that the other exists is a great way to ensure that we are supporting each other’s space and opening up opportunities to all.”
The goals of the new partnership were established to support and strengthen each other’s initiatives in the areas of:
- Cultivating a relationship between the organizations
- Participation in each organization’s offerings at a local level
- Targeting areas of development and desired outcomes
- Strengthening collaborative efforts through periodic review
“Strength in numbers isn’t anything new, but when new cyclists add up to equal a welcoming, vibrant, and strong community, you also get acceptance that spans a vast range of skills, experiences, backgrounds and identities. And it all starts with the bike We want to have a solid network so that people don’t have an excuse not to ride,” Garrison said