BGDB founder offers ways to make cycling more inclusive

When Monica Garrison started a Facebook group called Blacks Girls Do Bike (BGDB) in 2013, she was hopeful more than anything else. She was looking for women like her, women of color, who were interested in riding together. Soon, BGDB expanded. Her small riding group in Pittsburgh evolved into a nonprofit organization and chapters began to crop up in other major cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, and Houston. Monica now serves as the CEO and chief storyteller of Black Girls Do Bike! which now has over 180 chapters worldwide.

Each chapter has a leader, or shero, who with help from Garrison, spearheads the group by organizing rides, connecting with local bike shops and advocacy groups, and pursuing local partnerships. Sacramento has its own chapter, with one of its sheros, Diana Fountaine, who is also a staff member for Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates.While BGDB’s primary focus is to get women of color on bikes and make the cycling community more inclusive, all women are welcome on rides along with the occasional male relative or ally. In honor of Black History Month and the organization’s 10th year anniversary, we connected with Garrison to ask her a few questions about her vision for BGDB. 

Q: What is your overall inspiring goal with the organization? 

MG: Black Girls Do Bike exists to empower women of color around the country to take up cycling as a form of exercise, recreation, and transportation. The organization aims to create a supportive network of female riders and provide access to resources and events that encourage women to feel confident and safe while exploring on two wheels. 

We have a goal to break down barriers and encourage more diversity in the cycling community, promoting the health, wellness, and overall well-being of women of color. 

Q: What would you tell others to inspire them to get out there and just do it?

MG: Cycling is an incredibly rewarding activity that provides a sense of freedom and adventure. If you’re looking to start cycling, remember that you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the benefits. Start with short rides and gradually increase your distance and intensity as your fitness improves. Don’t worry about speed or performance, and focus on having fun and enjoying the ride. Joining a community, like Black Girls Do Bike, can also provide motivation and support as you begin your cycling journey. With a welcoming and inclusive community, you can meet new friends, learn new skills, and share in the joy of cycling. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone trying to start out a chapter? 

MG: My advice is to create a welcoming atmosphere by ensuring that your chapter is a safe and inclusive space. Encourage participation from people of all skill levels. Be visible and vocal. Make sure people know about your club and what you stand for. Use social media and other channels to promote your chapter. Cultivate relationships with organizations and businesses that align with your our mission. This can help expand your network and find new members. 

Q: What can local advocacy groups do to help local chapters grow? 

MG: Local advocacy groups can provide support to local cycling chapters by helping them promote their activities, connect with potential members, and build partnerships with other organizations. Advocacy groups can offer guidance on best practices for organizing rides and events. They can be a resource for educating cyclists on safe riding practices and local regulations. Additionally, they can advocate for policies and infrastructure improvements that make cycling safer and more accessible in their communities, which can help attract and retain new cyclists. Finally, advocacy groups can collaborate with local cycling chapters on joint initiatives, such as community outreach events or awareness campaigns, to raise the profile of cycling and build broader support for active transportation.

SABA is dedicated to supporting groups that promote inclusivity in cycling and have partnered with the Sacramento chapter. If you are interested in joining BGDB Sacramento, you can join their facebook group, or get in touch.

SABA Exec. Dir. Deb Banks, with Monica at the Phillie Bike Expo, October 2022.

Photo credit top picture: Chancelor Humprey of keep Pitts Dope.
Other pics provided by Monica Garrison.

City Council Transportation Workshop: More talk or More Action?

On Tuesday, February 8th, at 5:00PM City Council will hold a workshop focusing on Active Transportation. The hope is to bring forward some BIG IDEAS that can propel Sacramento’s streets into safer places for all users while fighting climate change.

Recommendations from the report and work of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change identified active transportation as one of the easiest and least expensive elements to an overarching Climate Plan that has us significantly reducing our GHG’s by 2040. And yet, besides the pilot project of Slow and Active Streets, the City has focused on electrification. Until now.

Sacramento ranks 6th among the cities with the worst air quality in the US. Shifting a transportation focus from car-centric policies to centering people will dramatically help us have a bikable, walkable, livable city. We need you to tell City Council to adequately fund and prioritize active transportation. The only highways we need now are bicycle superhighways.

For more on the workshop and how you can participate, GO HERE.

May is Bike Month 2021

Everyday is a good day to choose riding a bike, but May is special because people want to get outside and enjoy our wonderful city in warmer weather. It’s a time when everyone in the region celebrates bicycling, which is good for your health, and good for our environment. Every May, cyclists in the region pledge to ride their bikes and log miles and trips and have been doing so since 1956!

May is Bike Month 2021 will mostly be virtual, but we are planning on hosting a few rides in small groups. There are plenty of activities and events scheduled all around town and you can find them on this calendar, which is hosted by SACOG.

SABA is holding RIY (Ride it Yourself) activities and is hosting pop-up energizers in all around town. We are partnering with friends to help highlight what’s going on, and we hope that you’ll join us for many of our activities, which you can find here. Plus, there’s swag to be had!

We will post up rides and activities for you to enjoy with directions so that you can earn SABA and MiBM swag. Look for the latest information in our bi-monthly Gear’d Up, on our Facebook page and Instagram. Get out there and learn about our city, visit interesting new places and enjoy riding around our region. Don’t forget to tag pictures with #mayisbikemonth, #sacbikesmay2021, and #sacbike.

Week 1 UPDATE: We had a blast out at Success Academy on Saturday and on the ARBT & Chase Dr. on Sunday. Riders stopped by to win swag, answer simple questions and if needed, get their bike fixed. We’ll be out at Discovery Park on Sunday, May 16, from 10:00-12:00. Stop by, say hello, and win SWAG!

Happy riders on the ARBT!

May is Bike Month ACTivities!

Ride it Yourself (RiY) Sac Mural tour

SABA Mural Tour. We created this last year, but it’s a great one. Ride to a variety of the murals around town. Take a selfie at each mural you ride to. Tag #sacbike, #sacbikesmay2021, #mayisbikemonth, & #wow.

When you’ve completed your mural tour, taken selfies and have uploaded them to @sacbike, or have tagged #sacbike, then go here to earn swag!

RiY – Bike Route Sacramento – West Sacramento

RIY West Sacramento. We’ve partnered again with Peter Hansell, creator of the Bike Route Sacramento board game. His routes are inspired by the Board game. Ride any and all of the RIY routes during MiBM and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the Board Game!

When you’ve completed the ride, and taken selfies, send everything to with your proof of riding, OR go here to earn swag! That’s your entry into the Board game drawing. Enjoy!

RIY – West Sacramento Gravel! Once again Peter Hansell came up with the goods for another fun quick ride. You don’t need a fancy gravel bike to have fun on this, but if ya DO happen to have one, shred with it! Same deal as above to win swag or a copy of Peter’s game Bike Route Sacramento. Take selfies and send them to

RiY – Gina Rossi Bike Rack Challenge!

Gina Rossi is an amazing artist who has created bike racks and works of art all over Sacramento. Her nickname? Bike Rack Gurl, of course! The Bike Rack Challenge challenges you to ride around town finding the racks on this map. Take a selfie with you and the bike rack and submit your info here.

This amazing woman was recently diagnosed with leukemia. This May, she’ll undergo a bone marrow transplant from her Haplo sister. Because she is mixed with Pacific Islander, Gina could not find a full match from “Be The Match”, an organization that matches donors with people in need.

SABA invites you to join us in sending Gina our positive thoughts and prayers for a successful transfusion and a speedy recovery. We support Gina in bringing awareness to the importance of the Be The Match organization. She hopes that by sharing her experiences she can help others facing similar difficulties. Be The Match needs more Pacific Islanders and African-Americans donors to save lives. 

See this short KCRA clip on Gina’s incredible work: