Bikemore focuses on making Baltimore a safer, more connected and accessible place for people who bike and walk, and that’s often thought of as ensuring that there are places to ride without fear of getting hit by a car. But we know that personal safety is way more complex than that. What determines if someone feels safe on our streets and in our public space involves a lot of complex layers of race, class, gender, and culture — and we know that’s especially true here in Baltimore. And that’s why we were excited to bring a screening of Afghan Cycles, a documentary about the challenges and victories women cycling in Afghanistan face, to Baltimore.
We were proud to work with the Creative Alliance, Asylee Women's Enterprise, Southeast CDC, and the Patterson Park Girls Mountain Biking Team to host a neighborhood bike ride and show this film that speaks to the importance and intersection of what safety means and feels like on the road for people biking.
Coaches Becky Redett and Cathy Witt along with two youth riders from the Patterson Park Girls Mountain Bike Team led us through Patterson Park, where they practice regularly. They showed us the grassy hill next to the Pagoda where they learned to descend and rode down a few stairs to show off the bike handling skills they’ve learned. The riders shared that learning how to mountain bike — in Patterson Park, on trails outside of the city, and at races — has provided them a whole lot of confidence and fun, and the coaches shared what it takes to start a youth bike team. (They’re always looking for volunteer helpers and coaches — get in touch!)
Molly McCullagh, Director of Neighborhood Revitalization from Southeast Community Development led us through the Patterson Park neighborhood. She highlighted a mural at Fayette and Milton by artists Shawn James and Charles Lawrence, along with an adjacent artistic bus stop bench by sculptors Tim Scofield and Kyle Miller. She also showed us the community led art and greening efforts at Library Square. Along with the BUS sculptural bus stop next to the Creative Alliance, Molly pointed out creative placemaking projects that connect transportation to art and local culture, providing respite and beauty for transit riders and neighbors alike.
Our hope is that the ride and screening it inspired participants to think more intentionally about how we can create acceptance and safety for bicyclists in our community: both in the broader world and in Baltimore.