In Montezuma County, a new group aims to provide an inclusive outdoor space for biking. Queer Byke Brigade, started by Clara Moulton and Kit Jones, aims to provide a safe, accessible, inclusive outdoor community for LGBTQ+ people in Montezuma and La Plata counties. By Ilana Newman. This story is sponsored by FASTSIGNS and Southwest Health System
Queer Byke Brigade - https://www.instagram.com/queerbykebrigade/
In Montezuma County, a new group aims to provide an inclusive space within the bike industry. Queer Byke Brigade started by locals Clara Moulton and Kit Jones strives to provide an accessible, safe, and inclusive space for LGBTQ Plus people in Montezuma and La Plata Counties. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Fastsigns and Southwest Health Systems. I'm Connor Shreve.
So we went to Roam Fest down in Sedona last November. And that was awesome. And there was a bunch of queers there, and there was a queer-only ride, and it was amazing. And we were like, "How do we get more of this, please?" And we wanted the ride part for sure, but we also wanted the social networking thing 'cause it's rural out here. And there's a lot more queer folks than there used to be, but there's still not a lot of queer folks! And so just creating that really inclusive, supportive network too was a priority.
Being LGBTQ Plus in rural areas might not always be easy, but there are more LGBTQ Plus people than you may think. Approximately 3 million LGBTQ Plus people live in rural America. So having gathering spaces that bring people together away from urban gay bars and clubs is vital.
That's what I love about queer community. Is 'cause everyone in it has gone through some sort of to be who they are because this world, even though it's changing, still doesn't love queer people all the time. And so there's this intentionality around safeness, and inclusivity, and acceptance that is beautiful and helps foster along wherever folks are at because everyone was at that point at some point, you know? And so I think that there's beauty in that. And that's why it feels so good to me to be in a queer community, why that feels safe. And I can really be myself and be authentic to who I am,
In Southwest Colorado, biking is a big deal. From mountain biking, to gravel biking, to road biking, there's a large community that revolves around bicycles, but being outside on a bike doesn't necessarily feel safe to everyone, depending on their background. Many LGBTQ Plus people don't feel safe going outside on their own or presenting as LGBTQ Plus when they do go outside.
Being able to have that ability to be authentically yourself in outdoor spaces is paramount. And I think I've taken that for granted, I think a lot of outdoor recreationists take that for granted because that's not the case for everyone. And and it's based on background upbringing, so many different components. And so simply just having the awareness that not everyone feels that safety in outdoor spaces is step one. And then I think creating more and more visibility and like power in numbers too. So, yeah, maybe it's super scary for a trans masked human to go bike by themselves in a rural space. But if they're doing it with 15 other queers that are hooting, and hollering, and being weird, all of a sudden it feels a little bit better and a little more safe.
Queer Byke Brigade strives to make biking accessible to any ability and experience level. Their rides are not more about developing a strong LGBT Plus community than they are about going fast. Moulton hopes that this allows space for more people to get into biking and come on group rides, even if they're worried about being too slow.
But I said on the first couple rides, I was like, "You all can go ride your bike fast "and get gnarly anytime you want." These trails that are in our backyard, they're awesome. We're here to be with each other. So let's be with each other in whatever way that looks like. And that's lots of chatty Cathy time, trailside, and lots of breaks. Awesome. Let's do that.
Queer Byke Brigade is currently hosting LGBT Plus bike rides once a month. They plan to also host other LGBTQ Plus social gatherings around Montezuma and La Plata Counties. To learn more and participate, follow them on Instagram. Learn more about this story and others at montezumalocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreve.