Introducing Streets Calling, a new bike group for Black Chicagoans

A Streets Calling ride. Photo: Genius Media Company
A Streets Calling ride. Photo: Genius Media Company

Streets Calling Bike Club is a Black cycling group formed a few months ago whose rides have been drawing dozens and even hundreds of participants, but so far they’ve kept a low profile in the larger bike community. In fact, Streetsblog Chicago only recently learned of their existence after editor John Greenfield spotted a large group of club members visiting Ire Jerk Bar and Grill in Wrigleyville.

Streets Calling Bike Club’s Chicago chapter is is led by Ronald King, Daphnay Sagaille, and Diamond Allen. Diamond said the club grew out of the desire to provide a platform for a socially-distant connection and to promote health and wellness. The ride quickly ride grew from a few dozen riders to hundreds. Streets Calling leadership decided it would be great to use their strength-in-numbers to help out Black-owned businesses and other POC-owned establishments by making a stop to patronize one during every ride.

Streets Calling visits Irie Jerk Bar and Grill in Wrigleyville. Photo: John Greenfield

Diamond said the group’s most memorable event so far has been the Juneteenth ride. “We had over 300 riders,” she said. “Everyone was so proud and drivers were honking at us, cheering us on. It was such a powerful moment.” 

The ride mostly draws a plethora of people of all backgrounds, but mostly African Americans around the Chicago Metropolitan region that would like to support the community. Diamond said. “It’s wild because there are a lot of people that have extensive schedules that make time to not only come to our bike rides but also volunteer their network and recommend new businesses to support.” Unlike many Chicago group bike rides that skew heavily male, Streets Calling events have a good gender balance, she said.

Streets Calling riders in front of DuSable Museum of African American History celebrating Juneteenth 2020. Photo taken by Genius Media Company.
Streets Calling riders in front of DuSable Museum of African American History celebrating Juneteenth. Photo: Genius Media Company.

If you’re interested in joining one of the Streets Calling events, there’s a ride every Saturday, meeting at 10:30am a.m. at Ellis Park, 3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave. There are weekday morning and night rides to accommodates schedules. To get the details on these rides, it’s best to join the group’s GroupMe chat. To get access to the GroupMe chat, you can join the Streets Calling Facebook group or reach out to Streets Calling Bike Club on their Instagram page.

It would be great if the group added their ride schedule to their Instagram page to eliminate the extra steps. On the other hand, respect the fact that a Black cycling group may feel the need to maintain some boundaries to help keep riders safe. Lastly, if you happen to have friends and family in Washington D.C. or there’s a Streets Calling Bike Club DC Chapter as well.