In 2018 Our Streets Minneapolis launched the Bicycle Connectors program, a new initiative to encourage more black women, indigenous women, and women of color to bike for transportation. Cindy Vue, our Bicycle Encouragement and Volunteer Coordinator, partnered with six local organizations serving black women, indigenous women, and women of color in Minneapolis.
Each organization received support from Our Streets Minneapolis to create their own unique program to encourage more of the women they serve to bike for transportation. Funding for the Bicycle Connectors program is provided through travel demand management funds awarded by the Metropolitan Council and administered by Metro Transit.
One organization we partnered with was the Cleveland Neighborhood Association.
The Cleveland Neighborhood Association protects and promotes the interests of residents and businesses in the Cleveland Neighborhood of Minneapolis through promoting resident involvement and community building. As part of the Bicycle Connectors initiative, the Cleveland Neighborhood Association connected with 28 women to be part of a summer long cohort of bike riders, creating connections with each other and local businesses.
Called the Cycle Sisters, this group of women got together at the Cleveland Neighborhood Association office twice a month to go on a group ride to a different local business whose workforce is made up of at least 60% black and/or indigenous folks. Riders also received $10 gift cards to spend at each business once they were there.
“Being a part of the Cycle Sisters was a liberating experience,” said a program participant. “It unified me with women in my community and gave me a healthy sense of sisterhood. We laughed, ate, and even cried together.”
At the beginning of the summer, every Cycle Sister was provided with a bicycle to ride. At the end of the program six participants received brand new Bianchi bicycles for attending every ride throughout the summer!
“The thing I loved most was Kristel [Director at Cleveland Neighborhood Association] provided us with a bike to ride for the summer and in return for attending all the rides, she rewarded us with our own brand new bike,” said a participant.
Thank you to the Cleveland Neighborhood Association, and all of the partners and riders who were part of Bicycle Connectors 2018! Are you interested in partnering with Our Streets Minneapolis in the second year of the Bicycle Connectors initiative? Contact Cindy at [email protected].