Riding Bikes Becoming More Popular Among Black Women

Black Girls Do Bike Birmingham Chapter pose for a photo at Roam Fest, 2022. Ride Leader Angelean Foster-Bibb Left to right 1st row Brooke Goudy, CoShero LaJauna Davis, Karen Amar, Threlkeld,Melissa Gaddis, Cynthia Harris (kneeling) Left to right 2nd row, Ride Leader DJ Dansby, Ashley Winston,Leah Pearson, Marci'a Jones, a Black Girls Do Bike member, Catina Passmore, Founder and Shero of the Birmingham Chapter. Photo provided courtesy of Catina Passmore

By Kathryn Styer Martinez

Catina Passmore is part of a growing trend in Birmingham. More and more Black women are riding bikes for leisure, recreation and competition. And she’s helping to lead that change.

Passmore said she looked at herself in the mirror one day in 2015 and realized her body had changed. The inspiration to get on her bike and ride swept over her, but she didn’t want to ride alone. 

“And so I just went to Google, honestly, and I searched for black women, cyclists,” Passmore said, “and Black Girls Do Bike, it was the first club that came up.”  

The Birmingham-based IT worker and deejay founded the local chapter of Black Girls Do Bike, a biking group that specifically makes space for Black women to explore and enjoy biking in the Birmingham area. 

She had been riding her bike before starting the cycling chapter, but after its creation, the club took on a greater role in her life. Biking first helped her achieve weight loss goals, and then it became a way to engage in community advocacy for Black women and cyclists. 

“Back then, when we started in 2015, cycling in Birmingham was very much a white man’s sport,” Passmore said. “Now, keep in mind, a lot of those folks we know, we love, we ride with–but I wanted something different.”

Since tearing her ACL at Roam Fest in May 2022, Passmore has been off the bike. She crashed at the event while riding a mountain bike, which she was learning, and though it laid her up, it also helped her meet one of her biking heroes, Brooke Goudy, who founded Rowdy Goudy.  

“And so I was going fast. I think Brooke was behind me actually,” said Passmore. 

Goudy, like Passmore, is from Alabama. Now, she lives in Colorado and organizes biking clinics for Black women and women of color. 

She’s been cycling since she was a kid. 

“I got a bike for Christmas, I rode around the neighborhood. I was always a pretty adventurous person,” Goudy said. “But the culture wasn’t super bikey in Montgomery when she was there.” 

Goudy didn’t start riding mountain bikes until about six years ago. When she would go to the Granby Bike Park with her former partner she recalled it felt weird to see another woman in the line-up. Seeing another Black woman biking was rarer.

Goudy, who lives in Denver, is a registered nurse who followed her musical and artistic dreams to Colorado. But she became a sponsored athlete this year and now makes all her money from biking.

Goudy is committed to breaking down the barriers that keep women from participating in cycling–especially Black women.

During the racial reckoning of summer 2020, Goudy said she worked with organizations making big efforts to diversify the sport. But she started to feel uncomfortable with the “white savior” attitude in mainstream bike organizations. 

So she left and created her own organization, one that was entirely composed of people of color.

“So that if you were struggling with your helmet, that you could go to the person at the registration tent and it would be another black woman or another brown woman,” Goudy 

said. “…They could feel comfortable asking, ‘How do I get this helmet over my dreads?” 

She created a nonprofit called Rowdy Goudy in 2021 to create space where women can support each other at the races and at home. 

Beyond racing and clinics, Goudy is also focused on mental well-being and self-care.

“I think one of the biggest barriers is the social-emotional aspect, like showing up and like being the only one,” said Goudy. 

“I really want to show Black joy,” she said. “We spent a lot of time talking about black trauma. I think that’s really important,” but Goudy adds that she’s excited Black joy is taking a more prominent role in discourse after the racial reckoning of 2020.

Correction: An initial version of this story attributed Brooke Goudy with founding Black Girls Do Bike. It’s been updated.

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