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Black Girls Do Bike & Joyride

Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB) is a national organization founded in 2013 that now has over 100 chapters worldwide including one here in Portland, Oregon. Each chapter has a leader, known to the community as a Shero, and it’s likely you’ve seen the BGDB Portland Shero on the road or at a Cycle Oregon event. Keyonda McQuarters believes “Movement is medicine” and that “everything looks better from a bike”; her enthusiasm for riding is why she’s a hero to the Cycle Oregon community as well. Keyonda and the BGDB Portland riders have pedaled with us at Joyride for several years including their first ever event ride as a group back in 2017. We managed to slow Keyonda down for just a bit to tell us a little more about BGDB, her bike journey, and Joyride later this month. Let’s get rolling…

Keyonda McQuarters (2nd from right) & BGDB riders at Joyride 2017

What is Black Girls Do Bike Portland and how long have you been involved?

Black Girls Do Bike is a national organization that was founded in 2013 by Monica Garrison. There are now over 100 chapters worldwide and each chapter has a leader known as a Shero. I got involved with the Portland chapter and took on the leadership Shero role for the chapter in 2015.

How often does BGDB ride together and are there any bigger events the group hosts?

Pre-pandemic we would host two rides every week. This summer we are starting with a beginner ride twice a month as well as a more intermediate ride once a month. I am so excited to be hosting rides again!

What is an average BGDB ride like? 

There is nothing average about a BGDB ride. No seriously…our rides can vary from a beginner 10-miler or less, to a climb up Tabor or out to Council Crest Park. We can have an event with six riders or one that includes the entire community. Honestly, I have one goal with BGDB Portland and that is to encourage women to ride and create a space in which they feel comfortable showing up…no matter where they are on their cycling journey (wait…is that two goals) LOL!

You are a fitness enthusiast and always seem to be on the move. What is special about riding for you and where does it fit into your overall fitness & recreational plan?

Movement is medicine. Movement is a gift that I never want to take for granted. For me cycling is a big part of making sure I move my body every day, in some capacity or another.

Cycling opens and expands the world around you. When I am on my bike, I become that 8-year-old kid exploring the city of Chicago on my bike with my friends. I get that same feeling every time I ride. My family and I relocated to Portland almost eight years ago and the running joke whenever we’re out as a family is, ”We know, Mom…you bike over here”. I laugh because it’s true. Biking has enabled me to explore the city of Portland and discover a lot of hidden gems- gems that can be missed if you spend all your time in a car.  It doesn’t matter if I am on a quick neighborhood ride to the park with my kids or if I’m out exploring one of Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways, everything looks better from a bike.

Black Girls Do Bike’s interest is in growing and supporting a community of women of color who share a passion for cycling. We champion efforts to introduce the joy of cycling to all women, but especially, black women and girls. We are establishing a comfortable place where female cyclist can support, advise, organize meet-ups/rides and promote skill-sharing. We rejoice when women choose cycling as a tool for alternative transportation, self-care and ultimately empowerment. We look to share positive images of ladies and their bikes to affirm the truth that black girls do indeed bike! We encourage bike advocacy, education, volunteerism and safety in all communities and corners of the world.

BGDB Statement of Purpose

Cycle Oregon Joyride has been an event BGDB Portland has attended for a while. What is it about the event that you like?

I love so many things about Joyride. It was the first organized ride that we participated in as a group. I love that the event is centered around women and that it is accessible to all different levels. The event is well organized and the atmosphere is just fun and engaging.

What are your favorite rides around town, in Oregon, or anywhere in the world?

Every time I think I’ve found my favorite ride, especially here in Oregon, I discover a new route and a new “favorite” ride. But if I have to pick one…I would say my favorite ride is any ride with friends. 

Thank you, Keyonda, we look forward to riding with you and the BGDB peloton at Joyride 2022!

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1 Comment

  1. Karen Piercey says:

    This is so awesome! I’m so glad I stumbled across this organization. I didn’t know BGDR even existed. I’m looking into to more information as I would love to join the group.

    I’m fairly new to riding but usually ride on my own. I would love to learn how to ride with groups. I also started mountain biking last year and bought my first full-suspension MTB. Does the group ever do mountain biking as well? Black girls ride MTB too!