In commemoration of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, BWS 100, Inc, a local cycling nonprofit had a 100k in the Historic Greenwood District. The maiden ride began at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, June 18. The event featured a 1k Kids Sprint for ages 10 and under, a 5k Slow Roll Family Ride, and 25k /50k /100k Options.
Executive Member and Founder of Black Wall Street Riders Gay Eaton said she began cycling on a regular basis during the COVID-19 pandemic. People wanted to get out of the house, and there was a popular nationwide bike group on Facebook with over 20,000 members that connected Eaton to her Black bikers.
Biking as health care
“People travel all across the country trying to make these rides and support each other,” Eaton said. “It’s just a way for us to enter into a new area of sports and also a way of fellowship.”
She personally checked in approximately 400 registered bikers. Although not everyone rode, they all received a t-shirt and community experience. BWS 100 made two donations to the Major Taylor Foundation and Waymon Tisdale Foundation. Biking is a proven outdoor activity to improve your overall mental and physical health numbers.
“What I hope that they take away is that for black people, we have high incidences of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and if we just move we could reduce and in some cases eliminate some of the health issues that we have,” Eaton said.
Commemorating Black Wall Street
“Cycling is an easy way to exercise, easy on your joints, it’s an exercise you can do way into your 90s,” Eaton said.
The BWS 100 Bike Ride is influenced by the rich history of Black Wall Street. The spirit of the BWS 100 Bike Ride & Market Place is modeled after all the pioneers of the great era. Each race’s starting point was at Greenwood and Archer. Families enjoyed dancing, exercise classes and music.
“It kind of goes back to Black Wall Street,” Eaton said.
Partnering with Tulsa Juneteenth
“Black people help black People. We supported each other and that’s what we want to do today. We want to continue to support each other. In the vein like O.W. Gurley. He had a vision of moving around, blacks doing business with blacks supporting each other and that’s what we want to do.”
Event organizers partnered with the Tulsa Juneteenth Festival as one of the events that took place all weekend long. After the race, participants and patrons enjoyed food and drinks at the Black Wall Street Liquid Lounge where the event was hosted. Eaton said that this will be the first BWS 100 out of many for the annual event.
To learn more about BWS 100, Inc., visit www.bws100.info.