The inaugural event was conceived and executed in just 10 days in July 2020 and attracted 1,500 riders on a hot summer’s day. By contrast the 2021 version on 7 August will definitely be remembered for the torrential downpours that continued with hardly a break until after 1pm. Indeed, for safety reasons the start time was pushed back to 11am. Undaunted, about 800‑900 of the 1,800 cyclists who’d registered put on the free ponchos and braved the challenging conditions. In ‘normal’ conditions the organisers would have expected 3,000!
Founded by Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, aka Toks, the Black Unity Bike Ride (BUBR) is an alliance of London’s Black cycling groups. This year’s 24k final route, which had been altered to comply with Covid restrictions, started at Walthamstow’s Low Hall Sports Ground and went via the Shoreditch Park pit stop, past London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminister, finishing back at Shoreditch Park.
With Notting Hill Carnival cancelled this year, the cyclists created their own carnival atmosphere with their whistles and music as they rode through the capital with their positive vibes. When Soca News asked Toks how he felt the day went, he responded:
“The weather was biblical, but the vibe was tropical. We celebrated unity and empowerment within our community, and it was truly inspiring experience, seeing such a spectrum of people all cycling across London.“
With their army of volunteers out from 7.30am the weather was the only thing that challenged their precision planning. To find out more and get involved in future events, see https://blackunitybikeride.com/