Oboi Redd and Eboni Senai Hawkins at Daley Plaza. Photo by Vincent Carter.
Last month I collaborated with Oboi Reed, founder of The Pioneers Bicycle Club, and Eboni Senai Hawkins, founder of the local chapter of Red Bike and Green (RBG) to create a Critical Mass map highlighting African-American landmarks on the Near South Side. Since the majority of Massers live on the North Side, the ride tends to gravitate in that direction, so Oboi, just back from a study abroad trip in Brazil focusing on health and social justice issues, proposed ending the ride south of Madison for a change.
I thought the ride was a great success, with a huge turnout, beautiful weather and a very positive vibe from participants and bystanders. I think many of the riders appreciated visiting communities like Bronzeville, Douglas and Oakland where they may not have spent much, or any, time before. It would definitely be great to see more Critical Mass rides travel to the South and West sides, and to see more involvement from folks who live in these areas. Oboi and Eboni share their impressions of the ride below.
Continue reading Thoughts on August’s Critical Mass by Oboi Reed and Eboni Senai Hawkins
Last Saturday’s kickoff ride – photo by Daris Jasper
[This piece appeared in print in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings.]
All Chicagoans should have a chance to reap the benefits of urban biking: cheap, convenient transportation, improved physical and mental health, and good times with friends and family. The proliferation of nonprofit bicycle shops and youth education programs, along with the rising popularity of fixies among inner-city teens, is starting to broaden the demographics of cycling here. But the local bike scene still doesn’t reflect our city’s ethnic and economic diversity. Eboni Senai Hawkins, 34, wants to change that. She recently launched the Chicago chapter of Red Bike and Green, a nationwide group that promotes bicycling in the black community.
Continue reading Bike and proud: Red Bike and Green promotes cycling to African Americans
Oboi Reed at the new wooden velodrome at 8615 S. Burley – photo courtesy of Reed
In September John interviewed Oluntunji Oboi (“O-bye-ee”) Reed about his efforts to launch The Pioneers Bicycle Club as a way to get more South Siders and African Americans involved with cycling. Last month, Oboi did his first Chicago Critical Mass ride. We invited him to submit the following write-up of his experience for Grid Chicago:
In the words of The Notorious B.I.G., “It was all a dream.”
I dreamed of cycling as a form of healing.
I dreamed of cycling consistently with family and friends.
I dreamed of forming The Pioneers Bicycle Club.
Dreams came true, then I kept dreaming.
I dreamed of riding in Chicago Critical Mass.
I dreamed of riding in Chicago Critical Mass through some parts of the South Side.
The dream of riding in the mass came to life on Friday, October 28th, 2011.
The dream of riding through parts of the South Side, well, that dream is a bit more complicated.
Continue reading “One Pioneer, a Thousand Riders” by Oboi Reed
The Pioneers’ inaugural ride: Khari Reed, Keith Bevans, Oboi Reed, Larry. Photo by Neeketta Dotson.
Recently Steven and I received an e-mail from a Chatham resident named Olatunji Oboi (“O-bye-ee”) Reed with the cheerful greeting, “Trusting y’all are both well and this note finds you in great health!” Bicycling has become part of Reed’s own strategy to maintain good physical and mental health, and this summer he launched The Pioneers Bicycle Club in hopes of spreading the gospel to his family, friends and community. I caught up with Reed last month at the Valois Cafeteria in Hyde Park to talk about the importance of cycling in his life, the history of the club, and his ideas for getting more South Siders and African Americans on bicycles.
Continue reading Oboi Reed from The Pioneers Bicycle Club wants more South Siders cycling