Richmond has always had an incredibly strong FTWN-B cycling community, supported by the broader cycling amenities such as shops, infrastructure, outdoor access to the river and trail system, and the radical culture of resistance in the former capital of the South.
This group in particular went through many iterations before becoming what it is today. Formerly known as Women, Trans, Femme Ride RVA, the last few years of rides and events that foster community is the latest in a multiyear effort to create a space that centers FTWN-B identified cyclists. Even in periods of hiatus, many of the members in this group have organized events, spaces, and programs that increase access to cycling for groups that are traditionally excluded from mainstream cycling culture.
As the group stands today, accessibility remains as its core value; in providing beginner access to all cycling activities, providing a safer space to learn from peers, the empowerment to lead, and finding ways to provide repairs and bicycles to anyone regardless of income. The members of this group pride themselves on the range of life adventures they bring to the table, there are mechanics, messengers, racers, freak bike enthusiasts, DIY aficionados, mountain bikers, cargo bikers, youth bike leaders, and everyday commuters.
As a group we work in a number of commercial shops, help run Richmond’s only bicycle cooperative in Northside, operate a youth-focused shop in Richmond’s Southside, organize Richmond’s Cranksgiving in creative ways, host the Big Queer Bike Parade every year, teach a free weeklong youth bicycle summer camp, facilitate a Monday night city and mountain bike ride, and host a number of mechanical and adventure-based workshops, as well as bike packing and touring excursions.
It is our hope that with our efforts we can encourage and create more diversity in the cycling community, centering the access and leadership of BIPOC folks as well as our Queer community and FTWN-B folks. If you’re in Richmond, please drop us a line!
Alexa (they/them) is a radical Black bike mechanic and educator. They started out as a mechanic at VCU RamBikes (a campus bike shop) and from there, grew a passion for cycling and teaching others about cycling and mechanics. From the time they moved to Richmond, they were involved in different spaces of community work, and with bike education, they were able to combine both of their loves of biking and community organizing. They particularly have a passion for helping foster cycling spaces with and for folks who often don’t have as accessible of space in cycling, especially Black and Brown youth.
Emery (he/him) is a transmasc urban cyclist, Richmond native, and mid-thigh shorts connoisseur. Pre-COVID, he worked in outdoor recreation and elementary education but is now pursuing a career in health care. Aside from biking, he likes to write and perform little poems and blow really big bubbles. He first got into biking because in 8th grade this really cool femme asked him to join her lacrosse team but no one could drive him to practice.
Jillian (she/they) biked everywhere as a kid in the 90s, not coming home until dark. She got back into it during the pandemic, and it felt like she was as free as a little kid again. That was a little over a year ago. Jillian is still new to so much about biking, but that free summer feeling is something she wants everyone to be able to experience.
Sera (they/she) is a program coordinator, bicycle mechanic, and educator. They began working on bikes after getting involved with Rag & Bones Bicycle Co-op in Richmond in 2011, where they still volunteer today. Since then they have worked in New York and Richmond for non-profits and schools running bike shop spaces, organizing events, forming meaningful partnerships, teaching youth about bikes, and creating new community and school bike programs. Social justice and equity are the goals, bikes are just one avenue to push those forward. In Richmond, they are a bike commuter, a city rider, a proponent of freak bikes and accessible DIY events, and recently have fallen in love with bikepacking and adventuring in Virginia. In their free time, they sing and play synth in a few bands and are enthusiastic about a future with stronger mutual aid networks. They enjoy reading dystopian yet hopeful sci-fi, searching for miniature things to look at, and thinking about a world without surface-level parking lots.
Claire (she/her) has been a resident of the quirky small-big city, Richmond, Virginia for 9 years. Her passion for cycling really took off here because it caters to so many different styles of riding; the Capital Trail, The James River Park System MTB trails, Pocahontas State Park, city rides that can incorporate everything from gravel alleyways, cemeteries, and hidden parks. There is something for everyone and every skill level. We have a thriving community of riders, outdoor enthusiasts, and bike shops. Claire’s preferred style of riding is anything that involves dirt and getting lost in the woods – gravel riding and mountain biking are my cup of tea. I am looking forward to more epic adventures, multi-day bike packing trips, becoming more self-sufficient on the bike, group rides, bicycle safety advocacy, teaching bicycle mechanic and maintenance workshops, providing folks resources and opportunities to ride, and sharing the stoke of bikes and their many benefits!
Shankaron (they/them) is a transgender and first-gen immigrant who started riding to commute and see more of the city. They got their first bike used 2 years ago. They love long rides through the city for the freedom that it gives, the rush of getting up a hill or an incredibly steep section they didn’t think they could go up; pushing their body to the limit is what motivates them. Their favorite route is the capital trail with critical mass coming in at a hard second. Shanka’s passion for biking also spills into their politics as it’s impossible to ignore the realities of infrastructural racism and how that’s fucked over urban, predominantly black, neighborhoods. It is these same systems that prevent black cyclists from thriving in their practice. Riding a bike is their statement against car culture, America, capitalism, and resistance to environmental degradation.
Eleven RAR Chapters will advocate, support, and uplift BIPOC and FTWN-B cyclists in their local communities! Find a RAR Chapter in your area and learn more about each group.
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