my name is Lee Swaydis and i’m currently going to school in Meadville, PA, for Environmental and Black studies. The past two summers i’ve worked at the Massachusetts Avenue Project and lived mostly with my Grandmama in North Buffalo.
i ride an old road bicycle that a friend found two years ago in her garage. It originally was a ten speed with a navy blue paint job. After a few months i converted it into a single speed and this past summer painted it pink. Also added new wheels after the back wheel’s axel broke and put yellow tires to get a nice pink lemonade effect.
The past three years i’ve rode my bike to work “almost” every day. During the fall and spring, i work at an organic feminist farm about 9 miles from my school. The ride is crazy scenic and enchanting, apart from the 3 mile stretch where i have to ride on a truck route. Those 18-wheelers scare the crap out of me.
My other bike is a…
At school, a few friends and i started an organization called BEDS or Bicyclist for Equal and Diverse Streets. Our dream was to make the streets safe and inviting for all forms of transportation (e.g. bikes, wheelchairs, public transit) and for all people regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, or age. One of the programs We have started to reach these dreams was to create a bike share program where people could check out bikes at the local library for free.
Another was to create a community bicycle workshop (inspired by GO Bike’s shop in North Buffalo!) where people could have access to tools, parts, and mechanics to help fix their bikes and create anti-classist venues for knowledge sharing. i guess this is the long way of saying that my other bike is whatever one is still available at the bike share or that We need to test ride at the shop. For long trips i either use greyhound or my beautiful mother’s car (if she’s willing to pick me up).
Bicycling in Buffalo…
Buffalo has a really layered bike culture that’s pretty unique. Like most US cities We have the usual white guys racing on touring bikes and hipsters cruising around with their fixies. What’s exciting though is the number of people of color, women, and queer riders there are here. Unfortunately, Buffalo is still not a super safe place to ride if you’re a woman or queer person. i know i face a lot of homophobia just for riding a pink bicycle and a close friend of mine was recently chased by both a cyclist and a car simply because she was a woman riding at night. Otherwise, GO Bike has been wonderful at getting more bike lanes and sharrows in the city. my only hope is that more lanes can be painted in communities of color, such as Grant street and Massachusetts Avenue on the West side or on Jefferson and Fillmore on the East.