Kittie Knox Community Programs

All of our Kittie Knox Community Programs (bikes) are community-based and community-led and intentionally established to reach cash poor families in Black and Brown neighborhoods. Our programming is rooted in movements that build the community's power to transform the fragmentation, displacement, and loss of culture that result from histories of exploitation, genocide, and colonialism. We commune and create in ways that amplify the narratives of communities of color, cultivate solidarity in Monterey County, and center self-exploration and cultural expression.

    Who is Kittie Knox?

    It was never free and easy for you. But you did it anyway. And that’s why everyone should know your story: Born to a free Black father and white mother in Boston in 1874, when cycling was bursting out of its infancy, you fell in love with it. However, a woman—one of mixed race, no less—had no business on a bicycle. People wanted you to know your place, to focus on being a seamstress, but you refused to be limited. Rejecting women’s tricycles, you insisted on riding a man’s two-wheeled bike, and designed your own pantaloons for riding instead of the standard cumbersome skirts.

    In 1894, the year after you joined the League of American Wheelmen, the national organization voted to become whites-only (a stipulation that wasn’t officially reversed until 1999). In the face of segregation and discrimination, you persevered. When I learned that you regularly completed century rides and finished near the front of the pack at coed races, I practically pumped my fist in the air. You even showed up at the League’s big annual meeting in Asbury Park, New Jersey, in 1895, causing a scene as you showed off fancy bike turns outside the hotel and danced with a white man at the social. Despite the protests from delegates who fought to have you removed from the event, you would not stand down.
    — We Dare You: Break the Rules by Nicole Blades
     
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    I’m proud that there’s a story about such a strong woman in my own family. Despite institutional barriers, she pursued something that she enjoyed doing, that made her heart beat. It’s inspiring.
    — 71-year-old, Nan Towle-Millet whose great-aunt was Knox’s mother
    Don’t let them whitewash our history. The League of American Wheelman (now League of American Bicyclists) was as racist as every other white-dominated organization. When Kittie Knox bravely showed up to a League meeting, in 1895, they placed a race ban in their doctrine that remained there, only allowing white members, until 1999! Racism doesn’t go away by ignoring it and erasing history. Kitty Knox was courageous. There was no exception made for her. She made her own path. KNOW YOUR HISTORY!
    — Hard Knox Bikes

     

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    Help us apply for nonprofit 501(c)(3) status! We have a minimum of $2500 in major donations in progress that require a tax deduction to be completed. If you want to support our efforts and help us get access to funding so we can expand, please consider donating to help cover the fees associated with the application process for becoming nonprofit. Any amount helps!