Cyclists from around the country gather in Oakland
on August 5, 2011
Anthony Taylor is a cyclist from Minneapolis, Minn., and just in town for the weekend, but he knows a lot about the biking scene in Oakland and the East Bay.
“That’s what I know about Oakland,” he said.
Taylor is the vice president of the National Brotherhood of Cyclists, a network of predominately African-American cycling clubs around the country that promotes the health benefits of cycling and wants to bring more diversity to the sport.
The group is holding its second-annual conference in Oakland this weekend.
It’s an ideal location for the event, Taylor said, because the National Brotherhood of Cyclists wants to unite disparate cycling groups, to bring art bike enthusiasts together with mountain bikers, and be “that bridge between all those different cultures.”
“What Oakland really has is, in my opinion, one of the most diverse and interesting broad movements where the bike is at the center of any place in the country,” he said. “And that’s really, really cool.
The conference is hosted by the Oakland Yellowjackets, a 225-member cycling club that hosts weekend rides. A total of 92 riders from 18 states are in Oakland this weekend to participate in seminars and workshops on topics like “Maximizing Health, Minimizing Injuries” and “Establishing a Cycling Club,” go on rides around the Bay Area, and socialize in the evening. “It’s good to show what we have here,” said conference organizer Pat Baxter, a member of the Yellowjackets. “We’re very happy to be from a city that supports cyclists.”
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan welcomed the cyclists to town at the conference’s kick-off event at the Marriot on Friday morning and encouraged the cyclists to try the dirt roads of Joaquin Miller Park. “You can ride through our regional parks and cross the hills into the suburbs about 100 miles away if you want to,” Quan said.
Events planned for the weekend include a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, and a “bike blessing” at Cathedral of Christ the Light Church. The conference began with a ride through the Sonoma wine country yesterday, and concludes at a Sunday brunch where political activist and UC Santa Cruz professor Angela Davis, also a member of The Oakland Yellowjackets, will give some closing remarks.
Taylor said he’s looking forward to cycling Three Bears in Orinda before he heads home, and riding in the hills, something he doesn’t get the chance to do much back home. “We are flatlanders,” he said. “In Minnesota, you have to ride hills on purpose, you won’t just bump into them.”
Go here for more information on the conference.
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