The Voice Newspaper – Black Unity Bike Ride 2021 confirmed
LAST YEAR’S inaugural Black Unity Bike Ride was a roaring success and the organisers have taken heed of the call from participants and those who missed to do another one.
This year’s event will take place on August 7 and will follow the same route from Walthamstow Central in east London down to Brixton, with a few stops to catch your breath along the way.
Founded by Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa in July 2020 the BUBR is an alliance of different Black cycling/riding collectives based within the capital.
The event was brought about in order to play a role in galvanising the black community in London, promoting peace and unity.
Lifestyle caught up with co-founder Tokunbo Ajasa Oluwa to find out more…
Lifestyle: BUBR was a huge success in 2020. Given the year we all had talk about what that meant for you?
Tokunbo: It was truly inspiring to see how an acorn of an idea had inspired some many different people from our communities come together and unite on bicycles. 2020 was such an emotionally taxing year, however BUBR20 was a positive disruption to the challenge and has now become a lifelong memory for me. Since August 1 last year, every time I have either driven or cycled along the BUBR route, I always find myself reminiscing about the amazing atmosphere and the sheer joy that was on the participants’ faces on the day.
L: Tell us some more about what BUBR stands for a year later?
T: A year later BUBR symbolises unity, positivity and holistic wellbeing within the black community. COVID-19 has reinforced how important it is for us to prioritise our mental, emotional and physical health. BUBR aims to support more of the black community to do just that.
L: You had some high profile people attend incognito last year, care to share who they were and who may be attending this year?
T: BUBR is a family bike ride and we had all types of people attending. Some as young as eight and others as old as 68. We had some high-profile riders attend last year like DJ Spoony and former Metropolitan Police superintendent Leroy Logan. This year we are expecting many more from the black communities including a spectrum of influential figures, too.
L: This is about more than getting black people to ride their bikes, so share with us what this is a flagship for?
T: BUBR is about symbolising the positivity that can be achieved when we choose to unite in the black community. We have brought together over 20 different black-led cycling collectives, such alliance is testament to what else is possible when we remove the silos and work together – hence why we have chosen Black Pound Day to be the day the event will always fall on. Ultimately BUBR is about providing a joyful experience that feels empowering, all within a safe space where you can be your unapologetic self without judgement.
L: There will be those who want to take part but won’t be sure whether they can make it all the way, outline how the day will go?
T: Any individuals who doubt whether they can make the entire BUBR route are exactly who we want to encourage to partake. The ride is not a race, it is 14 miles in total and the pace is leisurely and casual. We ride for approximately four to five miles and then take a pitstop break for at least 30 minutes where people can rest and have some refreshments before commencing on to the next check point. Last year we had some people only do one segment of the ride and that’s totally fine, too.
L: Last year as aforementioned was a huge success, how do you top that?
T: This year we expect to top that by increasing the number of people that take part on Saturday, August 7, 2021 and we have also added additional activations including monthly cycle sessions at the Olympic VeloPark and also monthly virtual wellbeing challenges via our Instagram account.
L: Lifestyle would imagine given the great turnout of thousands last year, sponsors will be chomping at the bit to get involved – how is that going and what would make the perfect partnership?
T: We are currently in negotiations with a few different entities as potential sponsors and hopefully will be making an announcement very soon. The ideal sponsor is an outfit that buys into our values and ethos and recognises the benefit in aspiring the black community to remain active and positively embrace their holistic health.
L: How can people prepare, fitness wise? Will injury reduction measures be ramped up?
T: We would recommend partaking in our monthly BUBR virtual wellbeing challenges and also try and get on your bike regularly. If you don’t know how to cycle you can learn via a number of free cycling proficiency projects across the capital.
L: The narrative of the black man, women or family engaging in bike riding is missing from the mainstream agenda, it’s as if the community just don’t do it; we know this isn’t true how will BUBR contribute to changing perceptions?
T: BUBR dispels the myth that Black people do not cycle. By documenting our activations and with the support of some strategic partners we believe we will not only inspire more Black people to ride their bikes but also potentially inspire the careers of future Olympic cycling champions from our communities.
L: Last words?
T: You can stay in touch either by signing up to our newsletter eepurl.com/hvgbfD or following us on Instagram @blackunity bikeride We look forward to riding with you on August 7, 2021