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Black Girls Do Bike: defying stereotypes




The Black Girls Do Bike Wednesday night training ride stops for a break at Alondra Park in Lawndale, California.
The Black Girls Do Bike Wednesday night training ride stops for a break at Alondra Park in Lawndale, California.
Shana Daloria/KPCC
The Black Girls Do Bike Wednesday night training ride stops for a break at Alondra Park in Lawndale, California.
Black Girls Do Bike is a network of cyclists with thousands of members throughout the country.
Courtesy of Lula Carter, Black Girls Do Bike Los Angeles
The Black Girls Do Bike Wednesday night training ride stops for a break at Alondra Park in Lawndale, California.
Lula Carter is a heart attack survivor and the organizer aka "shero" of the Black Girls Do Bike Los Angeles Chapter.
Shana Daloria/KPCC


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Black Girls Do Bike Los Angeles organizes rides and provides skills and safety training for women of color throughout the county. The group is part of a national network and has grown to about 650 members in a single year. 

Lula Carter is the organizer, and she's know as the "shero" -- or female hero -- of the Los Angeles division. Carter is a heart attack survivor who began cycling to improve her health. She started a Facebook group in May 2014 to encourage more women to get healthy, connect with their neighborhoods, and to have fun in the process.  

"I always tell people if you come for a ride, you need to come be ready to laugh and be ready to crack jokes," said Carter. 

Black Girls Do Bike LA meets every Wednesday night for an 8-mile training ride at Rowley Park in Gardena.

Though all of the Wednesday night members said that they joined the group to develop their cycling skills, they also acknowledged there is a stereotypical belief that black women don't cycle. 

Denise Kay Dowdy is  a member who joined the Wednesday night training ride. Dowdy was not sure how the group got its title, but the name, she said, spoke volumes. 

"If you look at it as a sport, traditionally, you don't see a lot of African American women out riding, nor African American men. Predominately people who ride bikes at this caliber don't look like me," said Dowdy.

Registered nurse and self-identified "newbie" cyclist Kimberly Mills says says many people look surprised when they see her riding her bike.

"People try to put us in a box," said Mills. "But not everyone fits in that box...Once we get out there and show it, then it becomes normal."

If you wish to join the group or want to learn more, visit their site blackgirlsdobike.com