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Creating equity and strengthening community: Darbo Council and BikEquity to host biking event at Worthington Park

Darbo Council and BikEquity host community bike ride at Worthington Park May 16.

A community bike repair and bike ride event will take place at Worthington Park on Madison’s east side on Wednesday, June 15. The event will be hosted by Darbo Council and BikEquity, a non-profit organization that provides resources, mentorship, and education so that everyone can enjoy cycling for recreation, fitness, and transportation, regardless of income, age, race, or ability. 

Mentoring Positives founder and CEO Will Green, who has had a longtime presence and influence in the Darbo-Worthington, is looking forward to the event.

Francisco Sayu

“A lot of credit goes to Francisco [Sayu] from BikEquity … he does these community events. He wants to get more kids of color out riding bikes,” Green tells Madison365. “And so that’s kind of been a big thing for people right now is get kids outside. And so he’s just partnered with Planet Bike and Target and us and Wheels for Winners for this event.”

A successful bike equity event was recently held at Worthington Park on May 16.

“Normally what happens is the bike organizations will put up repair stations and residents from the neighborhood community bring a bike over and they can do minor bike repairs for people with a flat tire or something wrong with their bike … and then we take a community ride,” Green says. “They have different individuals that go out and take the ride with us and keep it safe. They carve out a little path on the bike path by Goodman [Community Center] there and last time we headed over to the Chocolate Shoppe for some ice cream and circled back to the neighborhood.”

The city of Madison consistently ranks as one of the top biking cities in the nation. But that doesn’t mean that all sections of the city are enjoying those accolades.

“If you look at Darbo itself and our streets … we have a good path but a lot of people don’t always have the access to get out. A lot of people don’t even realize they can get to work quicker on the bike path than driving in this city. So we got to make it accessible for everyone,” Green says. “Especially for neighborhoods like Darbo because sometimes we don’t even have sidewalks. We don’t have the access to the street for people to ride a bike safely in the neighborhood.”

Green says he remembers biking as a kid in the mean streets of Gary, Indiana, where he grew up … and it was kind of a free-for-all.

“It was different for us. We just roamed the streets. We didn’t think about bike paths and things like that. So it’s just really important that we think about our people in that way that they are doing now with bike equity,” Green says.

And it doesn’t hurt to get out on the bikes more often with gas prices so high. 

“I feel like we have a lot of power as people and as a community and the COVID pandemic helped us see it,” Green says. “We have the power to just not get gas and send a message to the oil companies, What if we did something like that? They would bring their gas prices down if we stopped buying gas. But sometimes convenience kills our power.

Will Green (bottom) and young people from Darbo-Worthington go on a bike ride at the last BikEquity event.

“But I do think it’s very important for us, in a city that is a number-one biking city, to also have equity in every neighborhood,” Green adds. “I created a little Darbo Council with moms in the neighborhood and given them a leadership role and they have coordinated this bike event with Francisco. One of the things that the Council really wants to do is to get more neighbors out into Darbo and into Worthington Park and let’s bring ourselves together over different events.”

Wednesday’s Bike Repair and Bike Ride will take place from 5-7 p.m. in Worthington Park.

“This will be a great event for us because we’ve got a lot of people that are into bikes,” Green says. “We have a lot of neighbors that you wouldn’t even think are into bikes, but they are … especially kids in the neighborhood.

“It’s going to be a fun event. We’ll have some activities and music and snacks. We are looking to get the neighborhood out and to get people involved. The more people that come, the better,” Green adds.