Bicis del Pueblo: Changing Lives through Biking

At our 25th Annual Golden Wheel Awards on July 20, we are proud to honor Bicis del Pueblo as a leader of transportation justice in San Francisco.

Will We See You There?

We took a moment to connect with Oscar Grande, a lead community organizer at PODER. Bicis del Pueblo is a community-based bike project managed by PODER, and in Oscar’s own words, “Bicis del Pueblo exists to create bicycling infrastructure and environmental justice awareness in transit-dependent and historically disenfranchised lower-income communities of color by engaging in bike-based community education and cooperative practices.”

That might sound very conceptual, but trust me: the impact is real. Whether it’s sharing bike education and skills or increasing access to bikes through their “Earn-a-Bici” program, Bicis del Pueblo is taking action while also challenging norms around bike advocacy. When asked about the state of biking, Oscar says, “We believe that San Francisco must embrace grassroots-based people of color leadership, equitable investments in public health and public infrastructure, community-centered collaborations, as well as make accessible the tools, knowledge and resources vital in getting our communities on bikes.”

Earlier this year, I made a commitment to embracing intersectionality as the lens through which I see my work here at the SF Bicycle Coalition. We need to push ourselves to have new starting points and perspectives because the bicycle does not stand alone, separate from the realities of our changing city.

The need then is not only to embrace intersectionality, but to go beyond the buzzword and turn concept into action. When I asked Oscar what Bicis del Pueblo’s vision for San Francisco is and where the bike fits into that vision, he shared this elegant answer:

San Francisco is a city of immigrants, a city of political, economic, and social refugees and rebels that fled oppressive conditions to make their start in this city. Biking and transportation justice fits into our vision of everyday people working collectively to make profound change in our neighborhoods and in our lives. From community planning to people-powered solutions, black and brown poor and working people can tell you what’s the truth on the ground.

I read his statement as both a vision, but also a challenge, that we need to fight for those people-powered solutions. So where do our 10,000-plus members fit into that equation?

“Bicis del Pueblo work is resiliency work, it’s social justice work,” Oscar begins. “Before we isolate the Trump administration and fringe right-wing elements for the current reality moving forward, we ask SF Bicycle Coalition members to act locally as allies with communities of color that are fighting for life and death, for existence and resistance. We ask members to support struggles around gentrification and evictions, police brutality, immigrant scapegoating, and equitable transportation investments in our frontline neighborhoods.”

With those powerful words, I challenge our members to think on what it means to act locally as allies — then do it. We are a better San Francisco when we work together and uplift one another, starting with the most marginalized in our communities.

It’s no surprise that we are proud to partner with Bicis del Pueblo, most notably through our Community Bike Build program. We hope you’ll join us on July 20 to give a toast to Bicis del Pueblo and their leadership as we honor them at this year’s Golden Wheel Awards.

Learn more about PODER and Bicis del Pueblo at their website here.

Follow Bicis del Pueblo on Instagram here.

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