Reginald “Doc” Wilson seeks positive racial change and hopes a Fall Foliage Funraiser bicycle ride in Bainbridge Island Saturday will help with that endeavor.
“People who look like me, black and brown, are disenfranchised,” he said by phone this week. “But throwing rocks and stones to get your point across” is not my preferred way to go.
He said racial injustice “filmed for all to see is hard to ignore,” but he prefers to raise awareness positively.
Many of his friends are cyclists, so on June 6 he started these Peace Peloton bike rides to raise awareness of Economic Reform for Black People. The one this weekend starting with staging from 10 a.m. to noon at the Bainbridge Island ferry dock is already his 11th event.
He’s putting his full-time job as a life coach on hold for now. “I’m the only full-time volunteer” with Peace Peloton, he said. “I’m the CEO, bottle washer and garbage guy.”
Wilson loves cycling. “I haven’t owned a car since 2012,” he said, adding he enjoys living in downtown Seattle. “In city centers cars are a liability.”
Wilson, 52, said he has many volunteers to help and businesses who want to sponsor the events, which are a peaceful demonstration on bicycles to support black-owned businesses.
“A lot of people are coming together to make this happen. People want to be a part of positive change,” he said.
Cyclists are not charged to participate.
“That would prohibit quite a few communities. We want to make this inclusive,” he said. “We don’t want any barriers (to people participating) and money is one of the main ones.”
Wilson said that for marginalized people any cost might be out of reach. “They have to pay their light bill or for food.”
Instead, funds are brought in through donations, sponsorships, merchandizing and even a drawing for a Tour de France bicycle.
As for Saturday’s ride, it’s not a race. From 150 to 500 cyclists have been showing up for the rides. This one will be 15 miles with a 1,000-foot elevation gain.
“It’s tough for some people. Our rides go very slow,” he said, adding volunteers will help with flat tires, mechanical and logistical support along the way.
He expects it to end about 2:30 p.m. at Bainbridge Vineyard, where participants enjoy a wine and dining experience.
There, invited speakers will talk about historical black significance in the area. Cyclists also are encouraged to support local food trucks owned by minorities. People can also donate $10 to get a small pumpkin that they can write positive messages on.
Wilson said because of COVID-19 some people may not be ready to ride yet, even while the event supports coronavirus safety measures. But they could still help out.
He said, “I’m not ready to be around other people, but how about a check for one-hundred dollars?” they might say.
For more on the ride, go to peacepeloton.com
Bicycle rides aren’t the only things in Wilson’s portfolio. By December he hopes to launch an umbrella business incubator program that will include mentorships and internships. The goal is to create business entrepreneurs.
Wilson said the difference between a stock worker at Amazon and a Wall Street banker who makes millions is “access to resources.”
“There are not enough black-owned businesses in Seattle,” he said.
He said if he can get people to take that first step they could be on their way. He said if they continue to work and participate there can be seed money at the end to start a business.
“We are all gathered here to advance change,” he told a crowd at Alki Beach Park at one of the earlier rides. “Change in the American Dream that was promised to all but only made possible for a few and not people who look like me. Change that transforms our color blindness into an appreciation for what makes each of us unique.”