November 24, 2020

Group plans Selma-to-Montgomery bike ride for civil rights

Bicyclists are planning a ride from the west Alabama city of Selma to Montgomery to commemorate a landmark civil rights event.

The Montgomery Bicycle Club will stage a Selma-to-Montgomery bicycle ride later this month along the same 51-mile route that voting rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. walked in 1965.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported that riders from around the nation are expected to participate in the event, set for Feb. 22. Nearly 500 riders from more than 30 states have registered.

“It’s important to show that we can all come together from diverse backgrounds and diverse geographic places and remember the people who worked so hard 55 years ago to ensure everyone had an equal voice in voting, getting people elected and making people feel they had power in the politicians that would be representing them,” said Robert Traphan, president of the Montgomery Bicycle Club.

Alabama state troopers beat marchers attempting the walk on March 7, 1965. Two weeks later, after court intervention, thousands of people led by King made the march to the Alabama Capitol.

The bike ride will also end at the Capitol.

The Montgomery Bicycle Club is an affiliate of the Major Taylor Association, named for American bicycle racer Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor.

In 1899, the cyclist was the first black athlete to win a world championship.