Ep. 6 Bringing It Back Around

May 27th, 2020

Who took you on your first bike trip? As with most outdoor pursuits, most of us had a mentor, someone who took our hands and showed us how to do it, talked us through the unknowns, and helped us see the incredible things we could accomplish with just our bodies.

In our last episode of this season, we pay our respects to a few of the people who ensure that bicycle touring isn’t just an activity for the privileged few. They’re the community organizers, bike shop owners, workshop leaders, and everyday people who put a lot of effort into creating spaces that usher in a new, more inclusive era of cycling.


zahra alabanza, adventurer/creator/organizer

Zahra Alabanza with her bicycle
zahra alabanza, adventurer/creator/organizer

zahra is an Atlanta-based activist and community organizer working in reproductive justice, criminal justice, human rights work, and mobility justice — all things that intersect with who she is and the communities she lives in. She helps to organize The Untokening, a multiracial collective that centers mobility around the needs of marginalized communities. She created her own bicycle touring company, Black Freedom Outfitters, and the Atlanta chapter of the cycling group Red, Bike and Green.

Engage with her through any of these projects or on Instagram. To contribute to her current projects — building a gear library and creating a documentary film — as discussed in this episode, contact her here.

Leah Benson, bike shop founder/community organizer

Leah Benson and Cassie Hildago
Leah Benson (left) is the founder of Gladys Bikes, and Cassie Hidalgo (right) is the new owner.
Courtesy of Leah Benson

Leah founded Gladys Bikes in 2013, a gender-inclusive bike shop in Portland, Oregon. After seven years of turning a crazy idea into a successful shop and community gathering spot, Leah decided it was time to pass it along to someone who could help the shop and its community continue to evolve and thrive: Cassie Hidalgo.

Visit Gladys Bikes and follow Leah on Instagram.

Briana Cohen, community educator/organizer

Briana Cohen in front of her tent
Briana Cohen, community educator/organizer, on a cycling adventure
Courtesy of Briana Cohen

Briana is the Austin Team Lead and Community Educator at Ghisallo Cycling Initiative. In 2019, she organized a workshop and bike ride for students at the Texas School for the Blind as part of her Greg Siple Award for Young Adult Bike Travel. You can read more about her award project here.

Briana has made her workshop lesson plans available online so that sister programs can be initiated across the country. Find them on her website Fearless Tandem.

Cheyenne Meyer and Darrell Garza, tandem cycling duo

Cheyenne and Darrell are a sigh-impaired cycling duo in Austin
Cheyenne and Darrell cycling
Cheyenne Meyer

Cheyenne is a triathlete and trained running guide for people with sight impairment. She connected with Darrell, who went blind in adulthood, over Facebook and suggested one fateful afternoon that they meet up and go for a bike ride on a rented tandem. Their friendship and riding skills have blossomed since.

They attended Briana’s Fearless Tandem workshop to talk about the stoker/captain relationship as a sight-impaired team.

Related Resources

Red, Bike and Green
Fort Negrita
Anna Julia Cooper Learning & Liberation Center
Black Feminist Future
The Come Up Project
BFF Bikes in Chicago
Free Range Cycles in Seattle
Unlikely Cyclist in Orange County
Dashing Bicycles in New Orleans
United States Association of Blind Athletes
Blind Stokers Club
United in Stride
Team Catapult
Para Guide
EyeCan Alliance

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