Fitness: Ride On

This Group Aims to Get More Women of Color on Bikes

Molly Sugar, founder of Friends on Bikes, talks bike camping, spandex, and doughnuts.

By Rebecca Jacobson December 28, 2017 Published in the January 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

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Molly Sugar

Since launching in spring 2017, Friends on Bikes—a cycling group for women of color—has drawn attention from across the country. We caught up with founder Molly Sugar to hear more.

Why did you launch Friends on Bikes?

It was obvious, moving here from New York, that there was less diversity. My friend Gritchelle [Fallesgon] and I thought starting a group would not only help us meet other women of color who ride, but foster a community that wasn’t served. We’ve done bike rides and happy hours, and we keep it fun with other activities, like coffee and doughnuts.

What sorts of rides?

We had an ambition to do a lot of adventuring, but right now there’s more of a need for social, beginner-friendly rides. We did a bike overnight with 11 people to Milo McIver State Park. It was the first time bike camping for a lot of them.

How’s the response been?

Many people are like, “Wow, I’ve never seen a huge group like this in Portland.” It’s easy to think you have to be a white cis male in spandex. A large group who are not the standard cyclist can make people turn. We’ve had dads come up to us, like, “My daughter rides! Can she join your group?”

And you’re expanding!

We kicked off a Seattle chapter in October, and we’ve had people reach out from other cities. It’s a goal to expand. We don’t want to silo ourselves—that’s why our name is Friends on Bikes.

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