BIPOC is an acronym that stands for black, indigenous, people of color. The term has been entering the mainstream more, especially considering the last four years the US has endured, with racism raising its ugly head and the lack of ethnic diversity in the pacific northwest.
Being of multiracial heritage, being back in the Portland area can feel strange at times after living in Oakland, California, a significantly more diverse community. Like Portland, Oakland is butted up against public green space, and though there isn’t a lot of multi-use trail, it is possible to go mountain biking from downtown, on legal single-track trails owned by the city of Oakland.
On the other hand, the city of Portland has a history of exclusion and racism. Though there is an abundant amount of public green space, those of means have successfully excluded off-road cyclists from local trails under the guise of “conservation” for decades. Instead of sharing local resources, this discrimination forces local mountain bikers to travel a minimum of two hours for off-road cycling, resulting in a massive carbon footprint. It also results in limiting mountain biking to those with financial means.
Those referring to Covid as “the China virus” have made me recognize that normalizing these negative terms has a direct correlation to racial violence. That could be my mom or grandma being assaulted in public, simply because of who they are, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The need for community is stronger than ever, and it was encouraging to see local riders promoting the PDX area’s first BIPOC mountain bike ride.
I was pleased to support and participate in this event, and meet other riders in the local community. The level of experience and equipment riders were on was broad, but all those in attendance, like most mountain bikers, shared a common passion, (in addition to our status as minorities) abundant energy, and enthusiasm for being on bikes in the woods.
The bottom line… the stoke was high, and new friendships were forged. The next ride is currently being planned now, and it will be exciting to see this emerging community grow.
Thanks to Ruandy Albisurez and Punneh Abdolhossenini for organizing this event, as well as support from William Cortez, and the Northwest Trail Alliance. If you’re interested in participating in the next one, follow @bikepocpnw on Instagram for announcements.