Peace Peloton: Cyclists participate in group rides to support Black-owned businesses
The recent protests against police brutality and racial inequality have spurred people into conversation and action. But oftentimes it can feel like the things you can do have little significance in the larger fight for racial justice. That’s where Doc Wilson comes in.
Wilson grew up in Gary, Indiana, building bikes from scrap parts. The idea of taking cycling beyond just a mode of transportation never occurred to him when he was younger. He eventually took up mountain biking and then got into road cycling, which he fell in love with. Now he combines his passion for cycling with his desire to create change in the Black community with Peace Peloton — a biweekly ride from one Black-owned business to another in the greater Seattle area.
“We don’t have to ask permission to spend our money,” Wilson said. “If we’re trying to engage in prison reform we need to lobby and get our elected representatives to make change, that takes time; with economic reform, we can do it in real time, we can do it right now.”
Biking has seen a resurgence during the pandemic, as an alternative to public transportation as well as a way for people to get outdoors while maintaining social distance. But the cycling community has historically been dominated by white males. This is another piece that Wilson hopes to address with Peace Peloton.
“When it comes to cycling, I want people to have choice. And the way you have choice is by having access,” Wilson said. “The only thing that should keep people off bikes is choice, their choosing not to ride a bicycle.”
Peace Peloton’s first ride in June saw more than 300 riders participate. Since then they’ve done six rides around the city, including one in Tacoma. Wilson hopes these rides both build community and support the Black-owned businesses they visit with new clientele.
This Saturday the group’s ride will take cyclists from Madrona to Green Lake. Eventually, Wilson sees Peace Peloton expanding to other cities.