Saturday, October 8, 2022

PMC UnPaved

More Smiles per Mile. Photo by Kristin Brandt

Well party people it has been a while now hasn't it? I have for all intents and purposes tuned out from the blogosphere and interwebs, IG is my last vestige of social media. A nice break from the stress bomb that is SM to be honest.

But this past weekend and participating in the Pan-Mass UnPaved has inspired me to log back on to share my thoughts and who are we kidding to share the above amazing photo! This may be the best photo of me of all time! HUGE thanks to Kristin and Steve of Steve the Bike Guy for welcoming me on the PMC UnPaved and riding gravel with me! I have always wanted to do an PMC ride. When I heard they were offering a gravel version of the PMC I was so stoked. Granted I was nervous. I have done a ton of gravel rides but I have never done any fundraising or been a part of a big event like the PMC.

PMC UnPaved offered me an opportunity to get involved and give back in a way that felt very comfortable to me. Gravel is my sweet spot to say the least. It is where I am most comfortable on the bike. Like I said earlier due to COVID and a myriad of other reasons, top of that list the passing of my mother-in-law Mary who passed away from cancer a year ago and my mom's declining health, I hadn't been on an organized ride in over two years. So the thought of being back at a mass start event and all that entails had me pretty nervous.

Great to see Kevin and Thea at the rest stop!

But my friends were so great. When I first signed up a good friend and teammate took me out on a 55 mile gravel ride to shake out the cobwebs. I went for the ride consistently model over the "training" model. I wasn't sure what to expect from the route or ride. What I will say is for a first year event PMC did an amazing job at communicating with the riders and offering tips and course intel leading up to the ride.

Arriving in Lenox and parking in a field with 200 other riders made me so happy. I love the whole scene at these rides. This had a lot of familiar faces but also its own vibe. Honestly, that was another thing I was looking for. I have raced cyclocross for longer that I can remember. And have been doing gravel long before it was called gravel. I love the term gravel by the way. It is amazing how gravel has taken off. I love how it is transforming cycling and bringing new riders to the sport. 

I was blown away by the level of organization and the support. At registration the volunteers cheered for me and rang cowbells and thanked me for doing the ride. Wow. It felt so nice honestly. People of all types were at the ride. It reminded me a bit of D2R2 in a way. People were so chill.

Steve (the Bike Guy!) and Kristin

I found Steve and Kristin and we caught up. We rolled out in a bit of rain but by the first rest stop the sun was starting to pop out. The route was phenomenal. A perfect route in my mind. We got back to Lenox and had a great lunch and sat by the fire and enjoyed a non-alcoholic beer. I will say I really have been enjoying the fake beers from Athletic. And really appreciate and respect promoters who have been both offering N/A options and encouraging sober celebration. I do think it is nice and inclusive. 

I left feeling so recharged. I can't even wait until next year. I am hoping to bring a whole HUP crew to ride with me next year! HUGE thanks to PMC and all their amazing volunteers. HUGE high fives to Steve and Kristin for welcoming me into the PMC family! And HUGE thanks to everyone who supported my fundraising! Thank you!!!

Friday, November 12, 2021

HUP Stands with Trans Athletes

 HUP United stands with trans athletes. As a team, we feel it is important to make our stance clear and visible. We want everyone to feel safe and included at races and while out riding. One small step we have taken is to design these new team socks. We have been inspired by other teams and race promoters who have spoken up and taken actions to make their events inclusive and safe. All profits will go to the Jessica Beck Fundraiser -- and of course we encourage you to donate above and beyond your sock purchase.


Here are some organizations where you can help support trans rights more broadly:


Boston Area Trans Support

MTPC (Massachusetts)



Okra Project

Trevor Project

Northwest Arkansas Equality - part of Human Rights Campaign


Help raise awareness in support of DEI efforts in cycling and particularly trans rights. Here are some actions you could take:

  • A message that would be  good for Kelsey Erickson (leader of the DEI task force) and USAC to hear is that you and your larger cycling community (which includes USAC members) would include that you were very disappointed in their response to the situation in Arkansas, but do see that they are trying to be a force for good and note that you and your community values the input and work of the DEI Task Force. 

  • If there are specific steps that you would like to see USAC take, include those as well. (The more voices and input, the better!) 

  • If there are specific contributions that you or your community can make to elevating these issues locally (or in the states where there is pending legislation), please say so and ask for help elevating your work.

  • Express support for USAC standard inclusive language for race promoters to use (some are doing this on their own).

  • Express support for real consequences for people who make trans athletes feel unwelcome. 

Hup United socks :

Monday, June 21, 2021


It has been a looooong year to say the least. Not sure about you or your club but HUP United hasn't seen each other in over a year. Literally. A few of us certainly were able to see each other off and on. I remember those early days in the Pandemic when we were so afraid. I am not shy about admitting I was afraid. It was scary as hell. HUP as a collective decided early on we were going to take this seriously and respect health ordinances. HUP has always taken social responsibility seriously. This was nothing different. And while I really did enjoy DIY gravel rides and the creating a pod and sticking to that pod. Man, I missed my friends and teammates. HUP as you may or not know has been around for a while. We have such history in New England and beyond. One of the Legends of HUP is Jimbo. Or Jim. I like Jimbo. He is one of our OG. He exudes PMA like no other person I have ever met. I just love that man. 

Over the years he has hosted some amazing events. Tour of Henniker was a legit Gravel Road ride that he would host each year. It was mostly HUP but he would always invite FoHU and it was always a rolling party/sufferfest. HUP is not like any other team I have experienced or been around. One of the reasons for our success and longevity and why we all get along so well is one simple rule "no sponsors, no drama..." It is amazing how much drama is eliminated from a beer league amature cycle sport team when you don't have sponsors. Nothing rips a team apart faster than people trying to get better deals from their "sponsors" or the local shop that is your sponsor. It is just ugly. Just don't do it. There are lots of other reasons we have out lasted so many teams/clubs. One of the things that always blows me away is the lineage HUP has. The riders who started HUP still are involved and still want to be a part of it. And the new school riders who join do their part to take it to the next level. Whether it is leading rides, finding cool new trails or just hosting a rad get together. It is a family and after a year of being a part it was finally time for a reunion.

With travel restrictions finally lifted and even more important with vaccines going in people's arms we finally felt it was safe and responsible to get the band back together. Jim reached out and asked if we would be up for a more gravely ToH. He had me at gravel. And hangouts. And pizza. Jim worked really hard to dial in the route. And his wife Gwen was so nice to host a bunch of dirt bag bikers into her house. Jim and Gwen went above and beyond to make everyone feel welcome and fed us amazing food post ride! HUGE HUP high fives to both of them. They are the best. HUP on a good day is pretty much like herding cats. I am really the most guilty party. I am a Gemini with undiagnosed or treated ADHD. It isn't always pretty! After many emails and texts it was still a mystery about who would show up. There were rumors of a Yash sighting. Yash was the DS of HUP through the glory years. So many of my early HUP memories are thanks to Yash. He is a international man of mystery and one man house of style. I was very excited to see him to say the least. Roger and I got up to Pats Peak first. No idea how this happened. I am usually the last one to arrive and am more often than not a total dumpster fire.

 We had a great chance to catch up with Jim. Probably the best hug I have had in a while. I went from being kind of nervous being in NH and about to see a bunch of people to super chill and ready to get back to "normal" We talked a bit about how the ride would go. Jim sent everyone a GPX file so those who wanted to go full gas could do so and those who wanted to go Party Pace didn't need to worry. Roger, Jim and I had made a gentlemen's agreement to stick together. I mean this was not my first rodeo. When on a gravel ride it is best to stick with the person who curated it. That is the way to maximum radness!

Right around launch off everyone started to roll in. It was so good to see so many teammates. We rolled up to Jim's house and took a rad team photo. You can see so many versions of the HUP kit. And so many legends and new school riders. The funniest moment was when I was asked "who is that?" It had been a long year and we have had some new members join so not everyone knows everyone. But I was trying to figure out who the rider in question was. My friend says " the young hipster with the beard?" I started laughing. You mean PVB? PVB is a LEGEND on HUP and in the NECX. SO many great rides and races with Pierre. And like Yash he brings so much style to the team and to cycling. He is so smooth on a bike. It was so rad getting to ride and catch up with him after a year. 

We had a neutral roll out and all stuck together for about 2 miles and then the fast kids went off the front and us more mellow riders settled into our Party Pace. Now do not think Party Pace didn't include a TON of suffering. I would describe the course as VT Overland/mini-D2R2. It really would be the PERFECT course to train for either of those events. Having suffered greatly at both of those I intend to do this route a few more times before August rolls around! Oh one point about my riding. And lots of us on HUP. The Boston/MetroWest area is flat. As a pancake. NH is not flat. One of the great things about New England and why I WILL NEVER EVER MOVE AWAY (again) is the diversity in terrain and riding. I like where I live and the woods etc I ride in. But holy crap I am not a climber. I was paper boying so many climbs. 1x is super cute around where I live. In NH? Not so much. I am 2x curious. Going to need to sort that out before D2. We all were in the same boat. There was some gamesmanship going on even in our Party group. People keep saying "Chip, you have been riding a lot right?" Dude, IG is NOT REALITY. It is like Diamond Dave once said "it is all smoke, and mirrors" I have not been riding a lot. I have been taking it really easy. Yes, I ride 3 or so days a week. But none of my rides put me in any risk of overtraining trust me. This past year has taught me many things. Self regulating and staying healthy and well are top of that list. I enjoy riding. I don't enjoy time off the bike from dumb crashes or overuse. 

The route as I said was amazing. Some brutal climbs. Some very VT Overland Pave sectors. Some great dirt bombing. God I love bombing down a dirt road at speed. I will say we had a lot of different bikes on this ride. No ride bikes thank god but close. Yash was rocking slick Gravel Kings. I mean I have no idea how he was able to stay upright on those. I even saw him ride a creek bed in the drops. Impressive. PVB had a similar set up albeit his tires were super phat. He had a sick looking Ibis. I love my Stigmata but won't lie I had bike envy. We also had two riders on legit CX bikes with canti brakes and thinnish CX tires. They did not die. Which proves once again, the best gravel bike is a CX bike! We also had many super sick Titanium bikes and a couple of Diverges. I think the Diverge is the ugliest fully functional bike in the segment right now. There is not doubt it is purpose built for gravel. But god it is an ugly bike. 

The ride distance was perfect. And I won't lie I am about to sign up for the Kearsage Klassic purely because of the rest stop. Jim had us stop about mid-way on the ride at the coolest coffee shop I have been to. It was fantastic. Right in the middle of a cute little town. Grassy lawn under shade. I could have stayed there for hours. My comrades woke me up from my nap and we rode together back to JImbos. It was the best reunion I could have imagined. For those who couldn't make it we will get another HUP get together on the calendar asap. These rides and hangouts really to me are what it is all about. Will I ever race again? Meh. Maybe. I really honestly just can't imagine that. I think I am just going all in on dirtbag gravel for the foreseeable future. And I will be the happier person for it. GREAT seeing so many HUP! Thank you to Jim and Gwen! HUP start plotting and scheming the next ride!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Boston Gravel

It is time to clear up some misconceptions about "gravel" in "Boston" As one of the original hype people for the "first" "gravel" ride in "Boston" I feel it is my duty to the cause to perhaps shine some light on the whole term Gravel. The terms Boston and Gravel both are widely misused in this area. This can be concerning or antagonizing for some. I mean imagine the poor bastard who just spent 8k on a "gravel" bike only to find out there isn't any proper gravel within a 2 hour drive from "Boston" Let's face it this rider who bought the 8k gravel bike lives in Newton or Lexington, but likes to say they live in Boston. Hey, guilty as charged. My cousins used to heckle me savagely for saying I was from Boston. They were born and raised in Rozzie. Hearing their weak ass cousin who has never spent time in Juvie say he is from Boston is enough to make a young punk flip a cop car and light it on fire. Even without the Sox winning the Pennant. 

But I digress. Enough about my childhood. It was equal parts Shameless and The Adams Family. No need to bring that into this important discussion on the most important marketing trend in the cycling industry. So in this unique slice of the Commonwealth we have lots of things. What we don't have lots of is gravel. Gravel as as defined by Websters is "a loose aggregation of small water-worn or pounded stones." It is not  a dirt road. It is not Singletrack. It is not a bombed out rooted path in some haunted, EPA waste site that is fenced off with barbed wire and has NOTRESPASSING signs everywhere. Luckily in this part of MASS they don't use guard dogs. Not sure why. Must be liability. But thankfully for us we haven't run into a pack of rabid Rotties that hadn't been fed in days. Not that I have ever trespassed on an EPA Superfund site. That I know of...

For the record, there has been ONE gravel ride in Boston. Firefly put this on a few years back and it was amazing. All the other gravel rides have been outside of the City. Even the most legendary of all gravel rides the Ronde de Rosey was staged in Brookline. So close, but so far away. Even Boston College isn't in Boston. Let that sink in. But back to gravel in this area. People LOVE gravel. So when we say gravel they get super hyped to bring their 8k wonder bike with its 30mm slicks out to play. They hit the first wet rooted New England Pave sector in Cutler and hate their life choices. And HATE us even more for luring them to this god forsaken park. I have had many a super cracked rider yelling at me at the Tavern that "this was the WORST Ronde ever" They have a nice cold beer and a burger and then realize maybe it wasn't that bad. And they always kept coming back? So maybe it wasn't all bad. 

Part of the issue with gravel I think is people think they want adventure or to do "epic" shit. Ok, I get it. I mean my idea of fun, as Guthrie has pointed out many times, may be very different than most. My idea of fun may not be normal. I don't need epic. I need fun. But fun to me, may be epic to you. Another word that to me has been way overused and means many things to many different people. So yes. That may be the issue. Gravel to say someone out West means fireroads and lots of climbing. In the MidWest it is actually gravel. Weird. But here in this part of MA it is more mountain biking lite. Or really CX. We started the Ronde honestly to get ready for CX. It was a great way to improve our bike handling on a CX bike. To this day I really have never encountered anything on a Cross course I couldn't handle. One Ronde and you won't blink at a PRO line ever again. In those early days people rode tubulars or what ever their CX bike had on it at the time. This made for a lot of funny stories. And some epic hacks to get riders back to the Tavern.

With the evolution of the CX bike everything changed. Tubeless tires and disc brakes changed EVERYTHING. A CX bike has always been a gravel bike. Frankly, for how we ride and what we ride here a gravel bike isn't the best choice. A nice CX bike is. You want the same handling you want in a CX race on these types of trails. Tight turns, roots, hopping logs. On a good CX bike this all becomes a wooded playground. The advent of Garmins also took gravel to the next level. Before we would go in the woods and tie ribbons around trees or rattle can arrows on roads. It was imperfect to say the least. There was a beauty in that as well though. Now anyone can have an adventure. All you do is follow a breadcrumb on a box connected to your stem. I like the technology and how it opens up and helps you find new routes but I also like getting lost in the woods with friends and finding my way out.

But it has been funny watching this all unfold from the sidelines. To think someone could get mad because there wasn't enough gravel or that they brought the wrong bike to the ride blows my mind. What happened to wanting to do epic shit? We rode gravel on 25s a mere 10 years ago and thought it was rad. Now you have to have 650b by 50s to be happy I guess. I don't know. I just love riding a CX bike I guess. I feel at home on that bike. I love that gravel is the new new thing. It is my true love for sure. My days of racing are over. I may go do a race for sure but I am not a racer. I like riding with friends. Stopping to take weird photos. Creating bizarre challenges. Breaking shit. Some of the best gravel rides I have gone on were those that a friend carefully curated and then wanted to share with friends. Those are the rides you remember for the shenanigans and the camaraderie. My best friends were made on bikes. And those friendships have built on the bike and on rides. I can't image any other way to meet someone or to become fast friends with them. If you can drop into an offcamber trail with only a hairs breathe separating your bikes while still carrying on a conversion and no one panicking you have found a true friend. Those are the people I want to ride with.

So what is the future of gravel? I honestly don't know. The Mecca of all Gravel to me is D2R2. That ride is wonderful. But so are Raid Rockingham and Rasputitsa and the Mixed Tape. I think COVID also gave birth to the DIY Gravel ride. These self-guided rides kept popping up. I think it was a great way to introduce people to gravel and to "adventure" All I will say is if you really want adventure shit is going to get weird. You have to be able to deal with it. That is actually to me the appeal of an adventure. You can't have an adventure without adversity. Whether that adversity is a bike mechanical or you get lost or you run across some rabid raccoon. What ever it is you then get thrown out of your comfort zone and have to rely on yourself and your friends to figure it out. 

The Ronde may be done. But gravel is going to live on. What ever you think gravel is it is. My definition of a gravel ride is any ride that I am on my CX bike smashing through the woods riding park to park searching for new trails to share with my friends and new cool things to see. This past Spring I have seen so much weird stuff. You have to slow down and appreciate it. Look out for turtles and snakes. Don't be afraid to do some "light" trespassing. Because the only way out is through. HUGE thanks to all my rad friends who have always been up for these crazy rides. Here is to a rad summer of Boston Gravel! Most of these great photos are by my good friend and 21st level Trail Wizard Michele Smith. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Pride Ride


This Pride Month has a very different vibe. It feels so much more a call to action and a call to keep fighting for rights and freedoms we all assumed were secured. What happened in Arkansas and continues across the rest of the country shows that this fight will never end. Pride is, yes, a celebration but we should never forget what the roots of Pride were. The Stonewall riots which were why we celebrate Pride were a protest against police violence and targeting. With so much on the line we can never forget that. I know people are still beyond angry about what happened in Arkansas. I am. But for the cycling community I think it was a wake up call. Our community in general is a bubble. We are mostly liberal, open-minded and accepting. Not all but most. These anti-trans bills and attacks on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people has made even those on the fence or maybe who weren't political stand up. Or be judged for their inaction or their mishandling of the situation. 

For me personally, it has been an opportunity to do more. And to help be a better ally. I have been involved in youth coaching for a long time. The issues facing LGBTQ+ youth in sports has always been on my mind. I have always made sure to make the youth sports I was involved in a safe space. This Pride Month I was so excited that my friends at Landry's Bicycles wanted to host an event to support a great local organization that supports LGBTQ+ youth in the Metro Boston area. OUT MetroWest is such a great organization. We will be hosting an event at Landry's Bicycles in Newton this coming Sunday, June 13th. We will have 3 rides heading out at 8 am. We will have a road, mixed terrain/gravel and mountain bike rides available. ALL are welcome. You can register for the ride on Bikereg here Ride for OUT MetroWest. We will have some great OUT MetroWest swag to giveaway and will host a nice after-ride celebration with food and cold beverages at Landry's after the ride.

We will provide a GPX file for self-guided riding or can have ride leaders for those who may want to ride with a group. All three rides will start and finish at Landry's in Newton. 

The Road Ride will be a nice route through Dover and back featuring many of the routes used on groups rides in the area

The Mixed Terrain/Gravel Ride will be a great adventure ride utilizing the Sudbury Aqueduct and Bay Circuit Trail. A cross or gravel bike is recommended and we suggest at least 33mm tires. 35-40mm tubeless is probably the best option. There are a few technical sections that may be better hiked or walked up or down. But it only adds to the adventure! There are coffee shops and convenient stores along the route to fill bottles or stop to enjoy a nice break 

The Mountain Bike Ride will leave the shop and head to Cutler where we will ride the flow trails and boardwalks. It will be a fun MTB ride with some tech but nothing too technical 

One of the riders I have always been impressed with is Jessica Beck. I met her and her family at Night Weasels a couple of years ago. I do results and podiums for NW. As I was putting up the results for the PRO Women a really nice mom and dad asked me if there was a prize for the top placing junior girl. I said of course! When I met Jessica I was so stoked to hear her story and to be a small part of supporting her and her family. She and her family have been on my mind since. And when I saw Grimpeur Bros was doing a Jessica's Pride Roast to directly support Jessica I was super stoked. Please support Jessica and her family by buying some of this great coffee!

There is so much work to still be done. And as much as I am filled with anger that in the year 2021 people are still pushing through hate filled legislation that will hurt kids and their families I am energized and inspired by the actions of so many of my friends and advocates in cycling. I hope you can join us this Sunday to celebrate Pride and to support LGBTQ+ youth. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out at 

Monday, April 5, 2021

What I can do about Arkansas

 Make your voice heard:

Reach out to USAC

USA Cycling President & CEO, Rob DeMartini:

Board of Directors:

Fayetteville 2022

Reach out to Fayetteville 

Reach out to the governor

Contact Allied Bicycles

Contact Rapha

Contact Walton foundation  

What would I say?


I am writing you to express my concern over the recent anti-transgender legislation in Arkansas. This is an assault on human rights. I will not support your brand until you make an explicit statement on where you stand and lay out some concrete steps you are taking to address this situation.   

Officials in Arkansas:

I am writing you to express my concern over the recent anti-transgender legislation in Arkansas. This is an assault on human rights. I was planning on visiting your state for both the 2021 Cyclocross World Cup & 2022 World Championship, but cannot do so in good conscience based on the horrific nature of this legislation. While I know that this does not represent the views of all the people of Arkansas, this kind of hateful legislation needs to be opposed by whatever means a person has, and currently I can only vote with my wallet by refusing to visit the state or support companies based in your state.

Human Rights are more important than bike racing.

Arkansas’s recent passage of multiple anti-trans sports and healthcare laws are a completely unacceptable attack on human rights that single out some of the most vulnerable people in society. 

Human rights are more important than bicycle racing.

In the face of such hateful legislation, it is critical that we stand up as people, as teams, and as organizations to oppose this assault on human rights.

I am asking you to take whatever action you can to lobby the UCI to move the 2021 Cyclocross World Cup & 2022 World Championship out of Arkansas and to a location that is safe and open to all athletes. I also call upon USAC to:

-Make an explicit statement via official USAC channels denouncing the Arkansas legislation to clearly align USA Cycling with our queer and trans athletes

-Refuse to send Team USA athletes to either race unless they are relocated to a state that does not restrict the rights of trans athletes to compete (in any sports event, not just the two named) and that does not restrict the rights of trans athletes to compete safely.

-Contact Governor Hutchinson to explain how this negatively impacts Arkansas's economy, constituents and cycling.

Organizations you could support:

NW Arkansas Equality

Human Rights Campaign 

The Trevor Project

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Silence = Violence

Remember back in 2012 when people thought the Mayan Calendar predicted the end of the World? I remember my kids being very worried amidst all the End of Days hype that was on all media channels. One of the most interesting things I read was from an actual scholar who studied Mayan culture. What he determined was that the end date of the Mayan Calendar did not signal some end date apocalypse but the end of the old views of society. The end of the old ways that contributed to so much suffering in the World. The stripping away of hate and wars that began merely because of the god you believed in or the country you were born in. 2020 feels in many ways like end of days. COVID stopped the world in its tracks. It is a horrible pandemic that has resulted in so much suffering, Much of it unnecessary. Much of it inflicted upon us by the old ways of thinking. But it has also given us space. Space to finally (hopefully) deal with the systemic racism and brutality that has been the real plague in our country for the past 400 years. 

The recent horrific events and murders of innocent BIPOC has rocked me. I still can vividly remember the police brutality of Rodney King. I was in CA at the time and it hit me so hard. It is madness that nothing has changed since then. In fact it has gotten much, much worse. The murder of George Floyd finally woke this country up. People took to the streets and responded in a way they had not before. Black Lives Matter became more than a hashtag and become a movement. We are seeing unified protests and action. In the midst of this pandemic I met with a good friend on a picnic bench behind the Landry's Bicycles she manages in Newton, MA. During this crazy time we had been talking about how we could hold a socially distanced ride. The idea was mostly one just to get people on bikes and getting some adventure. But as we sat there Thea looked at me and said "we are going to do a Black Lives Matter ride. Now is the time." I was floored by my friends courage. So many in the bike industry were either afraid to say Black Lives Matter or maybe didn't know how to respond.

We talked more about the messaging and making sure we did it right. We did not want it to seem empty or insincere. Our goal was to fundraise and to raise awareness. We reached out to our friends at Bikes not Bombs. They were so great in helping us put the ride together. And they were a sponsor of a BLM ride that started in Franklin Park and rode through the streets of Boston. Planning the ride took so many people to help make sure it was done safely under COVID restrictions. I have organized rides for over a decade. It is one thing to do so when you can have people in contact with each other and have lots of people riding together. Making it so people are socially distanced and riding in small groups is a challenge. We established waves and did two routes. One road and of course one mixed terrain. One of the things that most impressed me about this ride is that we had people from every cycling discipline. We had legit road racing teams, we had people on hybrids, we had CX racers, we had mountain bikers and even someone on a fat bike! We also had a really great mix of people who were new to adventure riding and following a GPS track. We even made a few cue sheets and maps for those who needed them. Looking back in some ways we modeled this after D2R2. Obviously not on the same scale. But that same spirit was definitely a part of the ride. Everyone was happy to be there and was so happy to be able to show their support for Black Lives Matter.

My favorite group was probably three women who created their own Black Lives Matter jerseys. They creativity was fantastic. I didn't know how the ride would be greeted by the locals. The ride went through predominantly white suburbs. Now this is New England so it is pretty liberal but I see plenty of Trump signs as I ride through Dover. As we set up our checkpoint and aid station at Hale in Westwood and put our Black Lives Matter lawn signs out I thought we might have some pushback from some neighbors. But honestly everyone we interacted with were so positive. We would explain what we were doing and who the money was going to go to and they really were supportive.

The checkpoint was so fun. Usually on one of these rides, even when it isn't a race, people are in race mode. Maybe with racing for 2020 canceled or maybe that this was a lot of people's first ride since COVID people were much more chill. Everyone wore masks and were so respectful. Hadn't seen a lot of my friends since last cross season. I won't lie I wanted to hug some people. But I resisted. I may have hopped into a selfie with MPO but that had to be done.

The ride was a huge success by any measure. Everyone rode for a great cause, we raised $5,000 and had so many great conversations. I personally learned so much. And it is just a beginning. As Thea said so well in the email sent out to all riders:

Thank you for your donation- We appreciate you riding to support and bolster the Black Lives Matter movement. Social change requires effort by all of society. Your donation matters, and your ambition for the greater good warms our hearts. Movers and Shakers like yourself help to open our eyes to the blind spots we all have, to shed light on issues others face in a way that enables us all to work together for equality on all fronts. Thank you to all our sponsors, who stood up without question to help this event happen.  It is because of our shared gift of passion and determination to create social justice that real movement is being made towards a world without inequality. For all the extra special donations of space, product, money, time and volunteers: Hale - Eric Arnold-   Drink Simple -'s Newton- Baker and HUP United- This small event raised $5000!  This money will go to the DSNI- which is a BLM affiliated organization that fosters local leadership, ensures equitable access to resources and opportunities and gives residents power and control over their neighborhood.   Link: About Us — DSNIDSNI was formed by Dudley residents seeking to reclaim a neighborhood that had been ravaged by disinvestment, arson fires and dumping. When many had given up, DSNI organized neighbors to create a comprehensive plan and a shared vision for a new, vibrant urban  An eternal thank you for the support,  this is just the beginning. -Thea J ChurchThea J Church
Store ManagerLandry's Bicycles Newton 

One of the great conversations that came from organizing the ride was with my friend Meg Cater. She helped educate me so much about the Black Lives Matter Movement. She was an invaluable part of the crew that made the ride a success. Post ride she suggested we take part in a challenge being organized by the Unnamed Run Crew. The Black Lives Matter Movement is just building momentum. I for one am committed to working for real change. You can find information on the ride here.