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Cycling group Bbikes is encouraging more Denver minorities to pedal

Eboni Powers.
Eboni Powers.

"B" is for brown. And bicycle.

At least that's the logic behind the name of a new social group called Bbikes (pronounced bee-bikes) that aims to get more minorities to hop on bikes in Denver.

First step? Making the weekly Denver Cruisers ride more diverse.

The idea comes from Eboni Powers, a 31-year-old Highlands resident who works in event consulting. She officially started promoting Bbikes last year and hopes to spread the word more widely this summer in anticipation of a full-force launch in 2013.

Eboni Powers, in white and black dress, as Nicki Minaj for Denver Cruisers celebrity-themed ride.EXPAND
Eboni Powers, in white and black dress, as Nicki Minaj for Denver Cruisers celebrity-themed ride.
Courtesy of Eboni Powers

At this point, the group is just starting to form. She says it's mostly a gathering of friends and others for the Denver Cruisers weekly ride on Wednesday night. (Last week, about eight of them took part in the Cruisers' celebrity-themed night.)

"I've never seen any black people do this all together," she says. "The four times I went riding last year, I saw two black people...out of everyone."

She wanted to see Cruisers become more of a diverse event, so last year, she encouraged some friends to go out with her -- and then decided it might be fun to make it a bit more of a formal group.

Denver Cruisers out on a recent night.
Denver Cruisers out on a recent night.
Sam Levin

"I've found groups of black, mixed, bilingual [individuals] that wanted to do these activities. That's kind of new," she says. "So I thought we might as well grab this bull by the horn...and we started planning."

She thought of the name Bbikes, because it plays off of B-Cycle, the city's bike share program, and has the double meaning of "brown skin," she says.

Not that she wants to limit her group to those with brown skin or even minorities, she adds.

"Brown skin encompasses a conglomerate of things," she says. "This is for...groups that might not have as many resources."

Continue reading for more about Powers and her plan for Bbikes.  

Eboni Powers and friends at Cruisers last week.
Eboni Powers and friends at Cruisers last week.
Courtesy of Eboni Powers

Denver and Colorado are outdoorsy and athletic, but those activities end up being dominated by a pretty homogenous crowd, she says.

"It's very, very, very white," she says of the cycling community locally. "A lot of the materials are expensive. You don't know what to get.... You don't know they have rental bikes.... In planning these sort of bike rides, I come with information."

She adds, "It's just not necessarily in our culture.... We haven't grabbed upon that.... Culturally, ethnic people, as far as just even working out, it's not in the lifestyle to get out on bikes.... It will pick up, but it's a new concept."

Powers, who's pursuing a degree in Computer Information Systems from Metropolitan State University of Denver when not planning, marketing and event-consulting with her company ConneX Strategy Firm, says that for now, she sees Bbikes as a social meetup group aimed at bringing more minorities into cycling, but she hopes to expand it.

Eventually, she sees Bbikes as being one component of different social gatherings she organizes, all of them aimed at encouraging minorities to do more physical activities, such as group hikes.

"Colorado needs to become more diverse," she says.

More from our Things to Do archive: "Photos: Missy Franklin dances at Olympic-sized welcome home ceremony"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.


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