rich city rides

The Bike Hub opens in Richmond

There was a ton of stuff going on in Richmond on Martin Luther King Day. Rich City Rides was opening up the Bike Hub, their satellite repair location on the Richmond Greenway. Nakari led a mural project to decorate the new shed, and Najari also got decorated, with a well-deserved Jefferson Award for community service. There were also other projects going on on the Greenway, as well as up at the North Richmond Farm.

Celebrations of community

I got to do two holiday rides this year, with Rich City Rides and the Scraper Bike Team, and it got me thinking about what it means to celebrate the holidays in that way. Holiday traditions are important to communities, and that both of these community groups have incorporated the bicycle into their own traditions speaks to the way the bicycle has become part of their identities. That will have long-term effects on cycling rates, and therefore health and wellness in those communities. And these kinds of rides can help brake down the barriers which separate East Oakland from Alameda.

Rally for Naj

I was glad to hear this week that the charges against Naj K. Smith for playing loud music from his bike were dismissed, thanks to the outcry from the community and the pro-bono work of Walter Riley. So the rally planned for today to protest his court date instead turned into a rally to discuss racial policing. Speakers included Naj himself, as well as Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan (who also wrote a letter in support of Naj), and several folks from Red, Bike and Green, the organization Naj was leading the ride for when he got arrested. The general theme was that even though this particular case has been resolved, the structural problem of racially-biased policing remains.

Biased policing of cyclists

Two of my recent bike-related experiences came together this weekend, when Naj K. Smith of Rich City Rides (who I met leading a ride last week) got arrested in Oakland for leading a ride on First Fridays with his sound system trailer. The bike and sound system were confiscated, and he was handcuffed and spent the night in jail. He made bail but the bike is still impounded.

Rich City Rides

I was going to go check out the new Dirt World bike park up in Richmond, but on my way there, I was fortunate enough to run into a group of cyclists with a sound system blasting a Jackson 5 remix. This┬áturned out to be the weekly “Self-Care Sunday” social ride from Rich City Rides, and they were on their way to the Berkeley Kite Festival. I altered my plans to join them on the ride through town and along the Ohlone Greenway.

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