Photos From Boston Cyclists Union’s Inaugural Pride Ride

bicyclists Rolling down Newbury Street where the group received a warm welcome from folks out shopping and dining.
Rolling down Newbury Street where the group received a warm welcome from folks out shopping and dining.

Over 200 people could be seen riding from Moakley Park to the Landsdowne Pride Bar Crawl across town in Fenway this past Saturday for what was a colorful, music filled, queer-organized, and queer-led group ride – the first of its kind hosted by the local nonprofit, Boston Cyclists Union.

At the staging area in Moakley Park, the event welcomed folks with rainbow-colored bagels, a tarot card reading table, and a wide variety of bright clothing to choose from for the outfit contest. Many people took advantage of one of the many BlueBikes available to anyone who needed to borrow a bike.  

Jarred, who commutes to work by bike, highlighted the great weather, “It’s a beautiful day. Honestly, for pride weekend in Mass, this is good! I’ve been to several (pride events) and it’s been a lot of cold rainy ones in the past. This is a great atmosphere.”

Sara, who recently moved to Medford from the Bay Area, drove to the event and planned on using one of the BlueBikes. She shared she was comfortable biking in the Bay Area, but was still learning her way around Boston. “Lots of potholes!” she added. 

The event involved different organizations like Boston Harbor Now, who shared information about their work with the City of Boston on the redesigning of Moakley Park into climate-ready and community-centered park, as well as Trans Resistance MA.

staff member wearing a tshirt and shorts explaining a project to ride participants
A staff member of Boston Harbor Now, a nonprofit working to re-establish Boston as one of the world’s truly great coastal cities, explaining ongoing efforts for the redesign of Moakley Park.

Moakley Park is the final destination of the Columbia Road Greenway, a Go Boston 2030 project aiming to connect Franklin Park to South Boston to complete a never-built  missing link of the Emerald Necklace. 

“The proposed greenway would preserve vehicle travel in both directions while consolidating the median, sidewalks, and wider areas into a context-sensitive linear park stretching from Franklin Park to Moakley Park,” according to Go Boston 2030, Boston’s transportation plan.

blue bicycle decorated with colorful flowers and pride flags
The owner of this bike decorated with flowers passed out small pride flags with ties for people to attach them to their own bikes.

 

person wearing a blue shirt and black pants with colorful pride bands posing on her electric bike
Malaysia Fuller-Staten, a Boston Cyclist Union community organizer, posing on her new beloved electric bicycle.

Filled up on rainbow bagels, we headed out as Bad Bunny’s MIA (feat. Drake) played through one of the many speakers folks carried on their bikes. Only after leaving the park and seeing everyone ride together on the street did it become clear how large the group was.

crowd of bicyclists on William J Day Blvd along Carson Beach.
View from the middle of the crowd soon after starting the ride on William J Day Blvd along Carson Beach.

 

person wearing a white tshirt riding on a red bicycle
“I think it’s great! I think in a time when we’re trying to push for better infrastructure in the city, it’s good to be visible; a combination of pride and the cycling community – it’s a great intersection,” said Jon, a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School.

 

bicyclists cruising along West Broadway coming up on A Street with the pride flag blowing in the wind.
Cruising along West Broadway coming up on A Street with the pride flag blowing in the wind.

 

bike riders on dorchester ave with the boston skyline in the background
Some folks rode on the street while others stayed in the bike lane on Dorchester Avenue near Fort Point Channel. The stretch of Dorchester Ave. shown above overlaps briefly with the South Bay Harbor Trail, which starts on Albany Street near the Union Park St Play Area and crosses under I-93, running parallel to it before crossing over Bass River via Traveler Street.

With the Melnea Cass bike path recently resurfaced, plus the South Bay Harbor Trail, Boston only needs about .71 miles of bike infrastructure in between the two paths to safely connect Northeastern University to Fort Point —a bike ride that is currently doable, but only if you’re willing to ride on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of traffic along the I-93 Frontage Road.

For a little break, we pulled into Rolling Bridge Park – a gem of a green space for any transportation enthusiast as you can see and feel the commuter rail go past you as you pedal over the Bass River, parallel to the tracks:

 

Decked out with a knitted traffic cone hat, a bike marshall guided folks to the rest spot at Rolling Bridge Park- a green space tucked between I-93 and I-90 overlooking Bass River.
Decked out with a knitted traffic cone hat, a bike marshall guided folks to the rest spot at Rolling Bridge Park- a green space tucked between I-93 and I-90 overlooking Bass River.

 

black bike trailer with people dancing in the background
Impromptu dance party with music blasting from the speakers secured on the above bike trailer. A mix of Spanish and English songs filled the air as people danced on the grass and someone blew bubbles into the crowd.

“We’re super excited about the opportunity to see so many people in our community coming together and taking back the streets for people. It’s really exciting,” DJ Pussy Willow, who along with DJ Achaziyah volunteered to bring music to the pride ride, told StreetsblogMASS. “And you know, everyone’s all upset about not having a big pride parade, but this shows that you don’t need a $100,000 and a giant nonprofit to tell you when the pride parade is. You can have a pride parade when you want! We all have the power to do this.”    

DJ Pussy Willow wearing a colorful pride tank top and socks, posing with a crowd of bicyclists behind him
Rolling Bridge Park- DJ Pussy Willow, a Boston Cyclists Union volunteer who DJ’ed the ride along with DJ Achaziyah, played a mix of English and Spanish music, including songs by Karol G and a cover of Thalia’s hit, A Quien Le Importa.

Before heading back out after our break, Ana showed me the tambourine she carries in her bike basket. 

Ana posing with her tambourine in front of her blue bike.
Ana uses a tambourine instead of a bell to let folks know she’s coming near them. The tambourine stays safe inside the Pokemon bag in the basket when she’s not using it.

Back on the road!  From Rolling Bridge Park we made our way to W Fourth Street where the crowd took over the entire length of the bridge’s bike lane and waited for the traffic signal to change and bike across I-93.

The crowd filled the underpass next to Ink Block as everyone waited for the rest of the group on Fourth Street to make it across.
The crowd filled the underpass next to Ink Block as everyone waited for the rest of the group on Fourth Street to make it across.

We headed down East Berkeley Street and eventually made our way to Charles Street, around the Public Garden to Newbury Street, where pedestrians and people having lunch outside in the parklets cheered and showed their support.

bicyclists Riding Ipswich Street into Lansdowne Street for Bar Fest.
Riding Ipswich Street into Lansdowne Street for Bar Fest.

 

bicyclists rolling down Lansdowne Street into the Fenway Park area as other folks were coming in for Bar Fest.
Rolling down Lansdowne Street into the Fenway Park area as other folks were coming in for Bar Fest.

Alex Shames, Community Organizer with the Boston Cyclists Union, said he’s very happy with how the event turned out.

“I’m a queer person in the bike world and it can be kind of lonely sometimes because there’s not a lot of us, and I am so unbelievably overwhelmed with how many people wanted to help organize it, how committed they were. Really, the volunteers who organized this event deserve all the praise,” said Shames.

For at least one person on the ride, this was their first pride event as an out person. 

“The most vulnerable people in our community need the most support and so we wanted to make sure queer people felt safe on a bike… If you’re a queer person and you’re running around town blasting some gay music, some queer music, it is so much fun! And you feel, at least I feel, so good!” said Shames. 

Don’t worry if you missed the ride, because it sounds like there will be more opportunities on the horizon! 

“Hopefully next year, hopefully also maybe even before that, maybe a monthly thing. Halloween is kind of like pride 2.0, so watch out on the road for some queer bike riders around Halloween, but yeah, we’d love to do more of this!” said Shames.

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