ABOB Denver is Building an Inclusive Community

By Kate Agathon

All Bodies on Bikes (ABOB) now has a Denver chapter.

Colorado is an amazing state for bicycling, but there are so many groups focused on faster paced rides or cycling for exercise,” said ABOB Denver Chapter Lead, Noelle Dorward.

“We want to create a community where true beginners and people of all body sizes and abilities can join fun, img 2 (5) leisurely rides that bring together people from all kinds of backgrounds and riding styles,” they explained.

Founded in August 2021, the ABOB national movement was created to foster an inclusive bike community where “…everyone is welcome to move their bodies joyfully at a pace that is comfortable and safe for them.”

ABOB’s founding was documented in a short film by Shimano that captured Kailey Kornhauser and Marley Blonsky’s mission to invite people of all sizes to ride bikes and change the idea of what it means to be a cyclist.

Denver beginnings

Dorward said that she and other ABOB Denver chapter leads Tara Businski, Daniela Young, and Beth Forster came together to create a local chapter.

Dorward had met Young through a former job and was delighted to discover she was into bikes. The rest of the chapter leads met through IG when ABOB founder Blonksy announced she was hoping to form new chapters.

In order to cultivate awareness, they realized they had to unpack the different layers and nuances of bike culture.

“We all wanted to create an inclusive biking community space for all body sizes that we personally couldn’t quite find in the Denver area,” Dorward said.

“We all loved the mission, vision, and values of ABOB, so it made sense to bring that to Colorado,” they explained.

There was a great need for Denver-area cyclists of all abilities to ride in a judgment-free group that was being unmet, in their opinion.

“Our chapter leads have diverse backgrounds ourselves and understand how important it is to createimg 0 (7) community. The national ABOB infrastructure opens up connections and resources that we wouldn’t have on our own as four people stoked to ride bikes with other people,” Dorward continued.

The inaugural ride

Based on the large turnout for their inaugural ride (over 50 riders attended from the Denver metro area, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs) in March, it seems that others shared their view.

In fact, other cycling groups including Queers Plus Bikes, Ride for Racial Justice, Black Girls Do Bike, Fems & Thems Denver Biking, Littleton Social Cycle, and Radical Adventure Riders appeared at the ride to show their support.

United by their enthusiasm for riding bikes, the diversity of participants was evidenced by their ages, attire and bikes- exactly the type of inclusive group Dorward had hoped for.

“There were people in sweats, jeans, spandex/lycra, heavy coats, windbreakers, sneakers, and clipless shoes. There were all kinds of bikes including road, e-bikes, gravel, and hybrids!” exclaimed Dorward.

“We actually did a post-ride survey to learn more about what folks thought. There was a lot of celebration of how welcoming we were, the pace, for providing the route ahead of time, and for our pre-ride safety talk,” they added.

Interested in ABOB Denver? There are plenty of ways to support the chapter, aside from joining rides. Visit their IG at allbodiesonbikes_denver, or contact Dorward at abobdenver@gmail.com

ABOB Denver’s next rides are: May 21 (6 or 12 mile gravel ride) at Waterton Canyon, June 4 (paved Pride Ride between Cheesman and Wash Park), July 9 (5 or 10 mile ride) along the Platte River Trail, and a September 24 ride to Golden and back from Denver.

By Kate Agathon – Writer and Contributor to Colorado Avid Cyclist

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