Bikepacking Roots is a non-profit dedicated to all things bikepacking. We’ve covered them before, primarily as they announced their Wild West Route, a 2,700-mile expedition-level bikepacking route from north to south of the Mountain West. We profiled co-founder Kurt Refsnider as he told the story of the route’s development in a print article; Refsnider’s also penned several articles for Adventure Journal about the nuts and bolts of bikepacking.
Refsnider is so serious about bikepacking, he left a job as a Geology professor to devote himself full-time to Bikepacking Roots and logging unfathomable miles in the saddle, pedaling through some of the West’s most beautiful dirt tracks.
So when Bikepacking Roots announced they were offering an adventure grant to BIPOC cyclists or bike packing curious, we were intrigued. (BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, & People of Color).
Here’s the deal.
On July 15, 2020, Bikepacking Roots will put out a wide call for applicants. The group will then submit the applications to a BIPOC panel and pick recipients for the grants based on their application materials, including a section describing what adventure means to them, and how bikepacking, or a cycling tour would enrich their lives. They can use the funds to plan and carryout a bike packing expedition, or for needed gear, even put it toward experiences that help them gain the bike skills and confidence necessary to dip a toe into bikepacking.
Bikepacking Roots is asking for donations to fund the grants from individuals and brands. Thus far, they’ve raised over $30,000, an impressive amount. Brands like Revelate Designs, WTB, Salsa, and many, many more have stepped up—you can see a list on the grant’s webpage, here.
If you’d like to donate, at the individual or brand level, you can do so here.
Bikepacking Roots’ full press release explaining the grant program is below.
Over the past week, we’ve witnessed the frustration, heartbreak, and exhaustion of generations of oppression and racial inequality once again boil over as protests against police brutality and racism have spread across the United States. The time is long overdue for each and every community within the country, including the overwhelmingly white outdoor recreation community and industry, to listen and respond with change.
“The outdoor industry touts outdoors for all and outside is free with respect to trails, parks, and adventuring. However, that is not the case until we address racial inequality and dismantle racial and social injustices embedded by white colonialism,” says Kaitlyn Boyle, Program Director for the Bikepacking Roots non-profit. “We need to change the outdoor narratives, create inclusive and safe spaces for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) in the outdoors, and increase our efforts to shift the racial fabric of the outdoor landscape so that the outdoors can truly be for all.”
Toward these ends, Bikepacking Roots has created the BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant, a new grant program to help reduce the barriers to bike adventure for BIPOC individuals. This grant will provide funding for recipients to pursue an adventurous experience by bicycle and help elevate their voices. The adventure could be a destination bikepacking expedition, a road bike tour, or a trip for day rides on backcountry trails. The grant could also help with gear needs and support individuals working toward a bikepacking trip by helping build skills, confidence, and experience through clinics, group events, or other programs.
“We want to leave it up to applicants to explain what adventure means to them and how we can help support their vision and goals,” explains Executive Director Kurt Refsnider. “I’ve been incredibly privileged to have my life and worldview profoundly impacted by past adventures. There needs to be equitable opportunity for empowering adventures of any scale, and that’s simply not the case.”
Beyond helping support grant recipients’ goals, Bikepacking Roots is asking more companies within the outdoor industry to break their silence, acknowledge the impacts of racism on access to outdoor experiences, and step up efforts to institute change. Each company that recognizes these impacts and contributes to the BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant fund will be featured on Bikepacking Roots’ website.
What can you as an individual do to help in this? If outdoor adventures have positively impacted your life in some way, please consider making a contribution to the grant – 100% of the donations will go to grant recipients. Ask your favorite outdoor brands and organizations to financially support this or other anti-racist causes. And most importantly, listen, be proactive, be brave, and be respectful.
Bikepacking Roots is the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing bikepacking, growing a diverse bikepacking community, advocating for the conservation of the landscapes and public lands through which we ride, and creating impactful bikepacking routes. To learn more about and contribute to the BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant, please visit the website.
Photo courtesy Bikepacking Roots.