Ride for Black Lives, One Year In
Ron Holden (All-City sponsored rider) is the founder of Ride for Black Lives, a peaceful ride with a peaceful message of love and unity. Ride for Black Lives marked its one-year anniversary this June - we asked Ron to reflect on what inspired him to start the ride, and his hopes for its future.
Ron, tell us a little about your background:
I grew up in Los Angeles, CA; as a young black child, I moved around a lot giving me the opportunity to experience multiple community dynamics in regard to location, class and race. I also have a mixed-race family, so the idea of racism was a tough concept for me to grasp when I was younger. My grandfather was black, and my grandma is white, which means I grew up around and was loved by both black and white family members.
What inspired you to start Ride for Black Lives?
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 90s & 2000’s is obviously different from the south in the 60’s and prior, but your experience with racism is always relative to time and location. Have you ever been followed by cops while going to the grocery store to get something for your mom? Then had those cops surround you, guns drawn in the middle of the day, while one cop asks “what gang are you a part of and do you have any gang tattoos?” and another says, “don't move at all or we will shoot you”? This feeling is like no other and you can’t understand it if you've never experienced it. It is the longest 15 minutes of a black man's life...until the cops come back saying “sorry you fit a description of somebody but it's a different car, you’re free to go.” That's just one personal experience of mine dealing with systemic racism.
Through the last year I found solitude in cycling as an active meditation; it's helped me cope with the events we have all witnessed and the events that I've gone through personally. Cycling did so much for me that I felt I wanted to share that with my community in the form of Ride For Black Lives. Ride For Black Lives is a peaceful ride with a peaceful message of love and unity, focused on keeping the conversation of systemic racism alive, creating habitual community participation, and making everyone feel welcomed in the cycling community. Our first ride was June 8, 2020 and we have pretty much organized at least 1 ride every week since, and don't plan on stopping any time soon.
What are your hopes and dreams for the ride?
We are dedicated to doing our part to foster positive change for the present and the future. We hope that when we ride through our city peacefully, we inspire. We want to inspire people of color to keep fighting knowing that the fight isn't over. And for those that may not agree with our message … I hope we can inspire them to think a little deeper about the concept and maybe, just maybe, be enlightened by our huge, diverse and peaceful group of cyclists to rethink their values and beliefs.
How can folks get involved?
We welcome EVERYONE whatever your race, age, experience level, bike you ride or clothes you wear - you can ride with us. You can find us and more info about our rides on our Instagram @RideForBlackLives. See you on the road.
Photos courtesey of Ride For Black Lives