At Po Campo we wanted to honor Black History Awareness Month (BHAM) in our own Bike-Loving way. Why is BHAM important to us? As a business, we value diversity, inclusivity, and honoring the history of our collective past. BHAM allows us to reflect, and make changes and commitments to holding ourselves accountable to our shared values not only as a company but as a member of our community.
There's this amazing organization that we've partnered with many times, Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB). For the month of February, Black Girls Do Bike is Po Campo's Charity of choice. For every purchase you make Po Campo donates 1% to a charity of your choosing, and if you leave the choosing up to us this month we're happy to send those gifts over to our friends at BGDB. (Read more about the charitable give-back program here.)
In today's blog we thought it would be interesting to hear from the founder of BGDB, Monica Garrison, and have her share her story. How did she become a devotee of the biking community and why she decided to start blackgirlsdobike.org an organization that brings together women of color that share a passion for cycling?
PC: Hi Monica, tell us a little about yourself and what got you passionate about cycling?
MG: My name is Monica Garrison. I am a mother, photographer, and the founder of an organization called Black Girls Do Bike. I rediscovered my passion for bike riding in early 2013. At that time I was in a mental rut and my physical activity level was low. I turned to cycling as a way to find time and space to clear my mind and to help me lose weight. I got so much more! Riding that summer helped me see my city in a new light gave me an activity that I could enjoy with my kids.
PC: What is your motivation to ride?
MG: The physical and mental benefits!
PC: And what was your inspiration to start Black Girls Do Bike?
MG: Black Girls do Bike was born out of a desire to find other women with a passion for riding and to encourage more women to consider riding to help them cope with the stresses of life. I thought of all of the things that kept me from riding for so many years and I wanted to demystify cycling and unlock the power of riding for all women, but especially, women who looked like me.
PC: We love this! Representation is so important, especially in breaking down barriers to entry. By making cycling more approachable and friendly who knows how many lives you've changed! In terms of Black History Awareness Month, what message would you like to impart to the riding community?
MG: I know that there is a vast population of people of color who ride bikes for lots of different reasons. Some ride out of necessity, others in pursuit of recreation and fitness. Whatever the reason, efforts to make space for these riders are appreciated.
PC: And last but not least, what is your favorite Po Camp product and why? 🤗
MG: The Chelsea Bike Trunk Bag is my favorite Po Campo product. It's just so practical and great-looking. It's very roomy and has so many colors to pick from.
PC: Monica, thank you for the work that you do! And for building this strong and amazing community of women!
To honor the history of our city, where Po Campo is headquartered, we created this downloaded bike map of New York City. Hopefully, it will encourage many of you to rent a bike share, jump on your own bike, scooter, or ebike and explore the boroughs while learning about some historically relevant sites and people!
Let us know in the comments if you've done the route and what stops were your favorite!