African Americans go "Red, Bike and Green" for Health and Culture
9 months ago
Black cycling organization promotes economic, mental and physical health.
Founded in the fall of 2007 by Jenna Burton, Red, Bike and Green (RBG) started out as a small group of black urban cyclists in Oakland, California. Since then the community organization, through word of mouth and social media, has launched chapters in Chicago and Atlanta, with more cities on the way.
RBG organizes monthly bike rides that travel through predominately black neighborhoods and visit various black-owned businesses along the way. RBG is about far more than traipsing through up-and-coming, or historical neighborhoods, the group also aims to promote better health through bike riding and living a more active lifestyle.
Loop 21 caught up with Atlanta chapter head Zahra Alabanza to talk about RBG's mission and the impact it hopes to have on the African American community.
For people who have never heard of Red, Bike and Green before, tell us what it is.
RBG is a collective of black urban cyclists seeking to improve the physical, economical, mental and local environments of black folks by creating a relevant and sustainable black bike culture. Our thinking is, you get black folks on bikes, we start to address some of the issues that plague the black community.
Why bikes? You can walk, run or drive to achieve the same goals, right?
RBG pays homage to Marcus Garvey’s "red, black and green" that was used to represent black nationalists. So the name wouldn’t work if we walked or drove. Plus bikes are the most used mode of transportation in the world, something people have always depended on. On top of that, by riding bikes we are addressing our health issues, environmental issues and we can support black businesses depending on where you live. So being on a bike just allows us to address pivotal issues in a unique way, plus it’s something we were already doing. Black people have always been on bikes, but it wasn’t visible to the world.
Was it hard getting people involved? There are a lot of black people who haven’t been on a bike since they were 12 years old.