Sunday 12 September marked a big milestone for BCN. 21 women completed our first women’s 100km ride dedicated to the empowerment of black and brown women. This ride put down the myth that black women do not cycle. Two years ago, organisers of Ride London, one of Europe’s biggest mass participation cycling event photo edited a black woman onto the cover of their magazine because they could not find a black woman that cycled to use on their magazine front cover.
The BCN 100 was led by women – for women. Huge thanks to our events team Jo and Debs who spent a month planning the event and reconned the route to ensure it was safe. The rest of the BCN Ride Captains provided additional support on the road, whilst
Oluchi and Mani provided first aid and refreshments in the BCN team car.
At 08:20 our meeting spot in the ZSL car park in Regent’s Park, was packed with women. Debs briefed the excited riders over a megaphone about what to expect. How to ride safely – citing the 10 BCN Golden rules. Mani conducted a quick bike check to make sure our equipment was fit for the road. We took a few laps of the inner circle of Regent’s Park to get used to riding as a group and then we were off to Windsor.
Our first stop came 11 miles into the ride at the beautiful Richmond Park to allow riders to take a nature break. Richmond Park was created by Charles 1 in the 17th century. It is commonly known as a deer park because of the deer that inhabit the park.
Our second stop arrived in Bushy Park, the second largest of London’s Royal Parks. We congregated around the Princes Dianna memorial fountain for a group photo in the glorious sunshine before making our way past Hampton Court Palace to begin the long ride through Kingston Upon Thames to Windsor.
We arrived at Windsor Castle 37 miles into the ride feeling slightly weary and longing for lunch. We quickly posed for a group picture in front of Windsor Castle, built in the 11th century. Known as the royal residence for her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. With our bellies crying out for food, we made the quick dash across the street to the Windsor Royal Shopping market to the cycling friendly Cinnamon Café, which is run by a friend of BCN. We were warmly received by Nick and his team and treated to their famous Cinnamon buns.
An hour later, we were ready to get back on the road now that we were fuelled and ready to burn another 1000 calories. Mani led the group in a quick dynamic stretch to get everyone loose and ready for the second part of the journey. We posed for a final picture and Nick surprised us by revealing his BCN jersey underneath is work attire.
We said goodbye to beautiful Windsor with our energy restored and the sun shining. We formed a fast-moving train along the roads of Windsor. Resplendent in Black, Red, Yellow and Green – making our way East of the river Thames in celebration. Soaking in the wonderful atmosphere which carried onto everyone around us – capturing the hearts of drivers and pedestrians who were in no doubt weighing up what they would rather be doing in that moment.
With a few more revolutions of our pedals, we were in Richmond Park dancing and popping “champaigns” in celebration. Wondering how on earth we still had energy to dance to old school Jungle and Afrobeat after the ride we just had. The adage “Time flies when you are having fun” certainly applied at that moment. After 40 minutes celebrating, we made our way back to Regent’s Park as the sun began to set.
This was more than a ride. It was statement to the world that Black women ride, and we are here to stay. Thank you to everyone who attended the ride and made the occasion possible. We have started something important, and we cannot wait to do this again next year.