Floyd’s, BGDB and CBD
We sit down for a conversation with Black Girls Do Bike Founder Monica Garrison
Black Girls Do Bike is a non-profit organization that grew out of founder Monica Garrison’s rediscovery of cycling in 2013 as a vehicle to help her cope with physical and mental stress as an adult. With chapters located all over the world and over 2,500 women in their Atlanta chapter alone, BGDB’s expansion began with a handwritten letter from a woman who resonated with Monica’s story and wanted to expand Monica’s vision from Pennsylvania to Florida.
How long have you been riding? What got you into cycling?
I’ve cycled on and off for most of my life. As a child, cycling was my favorite summertime activity. I cherished the sense of freedom riding gave me. In my early twenties, I commuted to work by bike. 2013 was a turning point for me as I turned to cycling for help with my mental and physical stress.
When did BGDB start and what was your inspiration for getting it rolling?
That summer of riding in 2013 opened my eyes to the benefits of cycling regularly as an adult. Cycling helped relieve my stress by allowing me time to detach from technology and people. My kids were coming along for rides and loving it. My inspiration came from a desire to share this effective coping mechanism that I had discovered with other women who might benefit.
Where was your first chapter and how long did it take for other chapters to start springing up?
Our first chapter was started by a visionary woman in Florida named Victoria. She wrote a handwritten letter asking if I would be open to the idea of her starting a riding group in her town. Once that group was formed, other cities quickly came on board; we have been growing steadily ever since.
Now that you have a presence from Alaska to the UK, where would you like to see the next chapter and how often are they formed?
I’d love to reach the continent of Africa and continue to expand into Europe connecting with the diaspora there. On average we form a chapter per month.
What’s the most members you have in one location?
Our largest chapter is in Atlanta Georgia. 2500 women belong to that group. This is one of our oldest and most active chapters. Of course, they don’t all show up at once for rides, but the support there is tremendous and enduring.
How does someone join?
We have more than 100 BGDB chapters around the world, there is a good chance we have a welcoming riding group near you. To find them you can visit www.blackgirlsdobike.org/chapters. If you don’t have a group near you, join us on all of the social channels to be inspired and to join in the conversation
Do any of the chapters from different locations meet up and ride together?
Yes, absolutely. Many states have multiple BGDB chapters and at times they arrange mini meetups to ride together. There are also multiple bike events around the country that draw cyclists from all over. Our ladies often attend these events and get to socialize and ride with other members. Lastly, we try to hold an annual BGDB national meetup that brings our community together for rides and celebrations.
Do you feel there has been more diversity and inclusion within the cycling community over the last few years and if so, why?
I feel like we have seen the beginnings of a shift in the right direction in recent years. Groups like BGDB, Black Cyclist United, Major Taylor Cycling Clubs, and athletes like Justin Williams and Ayesha McGowan have fueled conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion in cycling. BGDB seeks to spotlight a vibrant community that is thriving despite being overlooked.
Where’s your favorite place to ride? Dream spot to visit?
I love to ride near water and over bridges. Pittsburgh, where I live, is called the city of bridges. I enjoy the many trails we have interwoven into the fabric of my city. All of my dream rides involve the ocean. I have my sights set on rides in New Zealand, South Africa, and Hawaii.
How did you find out about CBD and Floyd’s?
I found out a few years ago about the reported benefits of CBD, like most people, through a series of internet searches. I went down the rabbit hole until all of my concerns and questions were answered. I’d heard of Floyd’s of Leadville through various connections to the cycling community. They seem to have a reputation for producing potent, high-quality, CBD products.
How do you use CBD and/or what are your favorite products?
I use CBD to manage bouts of anxiety and occasional joint pain. I’ve found great success with taking tinctures sublingually. I also love rubbing balms directly on my skin near joints that are stiff or that are recovering from overuse.