Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, ‘est 1865’) celebrates the true emancipation of the enslaved in America. On June 19th, Schwinn is proud to continue their partnership with Good Co. Bike Club to help celebrate this day in the best way possible, through biking together. Last year, Good Co. hit the streets with over 1,500 cyclists to enjoy a fun ride through Brooklyn. This year, we expect that same energy and invite you to celebrate a day of FREEDOM and LOVE by hopping on your bicycle, and riding in your community.
To learn more, we sat down with the founders of Good Co., Drew, Shari, Marv, and Milly, to ask them about how Good Co. started this event and their hopes for the future.
For those who aren’t familiar, can you please describe what Juneteenth is?
Juneteenth is the celebration of the emancipation of slaves who were in bondage 2 years after slavery had been outlawed. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or a Jubilee, is a celebration not only all of lives lost, but also Black lives today
What does the holiday represent to each of the Good Co. founding members?
Milly: Good Co was started during the height of the pandemic, rife with civil unrest. The Juneteenth holiday represents the founding of Good Company (Good Co.) and an homage to our ancestors where we prove that even our most trying times, we can overcome, and find joy.
Marv: Juneteenth was the catalyst that made us realize we had something special. The outpouring of support, sense of community, and demand for more bike rides of this caliber made us strongly consider legitimizing this club as a business all the while filling a gap that was present in our community.
Andrew: For Good Co., Juneteenth is really when the club took off. In 2020, despite there only being about 4 official rides prior to the event, the now E-Board, executed a successful event and galvanized 1500 people. That momentum propelled us into the summer and to where we are now. We decided to do the event because Juneteenth is a day about freedom and there are few feelings more freeing than riding a bike.
Shari: This holiday represents the change of a nation and the launch of our brand. While we cycle for fun with our peers, it is not missed upon us that without this day we would not have the chance to do what we do. This day of freedom afforded us the rights we have now as Black Americans, and because of that we will continue to pay homage by way of the work we do through Good Co.
Why is the Juneteenth ride important?
It is our way to celebrate our community, remember our ancestors and push forward!
What was last year’s Juneteenth event like?
Milly: I still get chills thinking about it! The energy in the air, the warm smiles, and the joy! It was also the first time that we, the executive board, came together to produce such an amazing event. Juneteenth is special and will always be celebrated.
Marv: It's difficult to describe in a few sentences but last year's ride is something I've never seen done before. Remarkable isn't a strong enough word to describe it. People needed a sense of camaraderie and unity; the timing couldn't have been better. We were able to successfully bring out 1,500 riders, establish long lasting business partnerships, and foster over 200 members because of this ride.
Andrew: Last year…was a movie. It was amazing to see an idea, with less than 9 days of planning, come to fruition. With only 250 RSVPs, but a 1,500-person crowd, felt amazing. It was also the first time many people were around their friends and loved ones since the beginning of the pandemic. Everything about the day reflected our theme of Freedom. The icing on the cake was the riveting speech from our Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams.
Shari: It's hard to put in words and even as I reminisce, a feeling of awe and pride come over me. To see 1,500 cyclists on the rode on the same accord to celebrate freedom because of Good Co. really brings me joy to know our purpose was being fulfilled.
What was your favorite part of last year’s event?
Milly: Do I have to choose one? Lol. Being at the top of the Brooklyn Museum steps and being surprised and overjoyed by the 1,500 riders that showed up!
Marv: My favorite part was the last stretch riding down Ocean parkway. It's a pretty broad street with 3 lanes for both going and oncoming traffic, totaling 6 lanes. We took over one side of the parkway entirely. From a production standpoint it allowed me to capture the best clip in the recap video. Everything from the pedestrians out with their phones trying to record, to cars honking in support, was something straight out of a film.
Andrew: My favorite part, aside from Eric Adams, had to be the Boardwalk. It was the first time since March many people saw a familiar face. Even through the masks, you recognized faces, exchanged ‘COVID fist bumps’, some hugs, and plenty of ‘eye smiles.’ We also lead a huge group Electric Slide, which will become an annual tradition.
Shari: Definitely the start of the ride was my favorite part. We didn't know what to expect. So when I saw the crowd and their excitement to join us on the day...whew!!
What were some things you heard about the 2020 Juneteenth ride from those who attended?
2020 was pretty rough all around. As a society we experienced a lot of change (and trauma). We needed something positive, and we didn't realize how many other people needed it too. It had been months since we heard collective laughter, and hugs. And the Freedom Ride gave us just that. Not to mention, there were so many allies. It still brings tears to our eyes.
How is the 2021 ride going to be different than the 2020 event
This year will be bigger and better (we always strive to beat our own standards). It is really important we give our community a great experience. We have local partnerships with Fulton Bikes, a local bike shop in Brooklyn as well as, Schwinn Bicycles, our national partner (both who have been incredible partners). Who knows, there may be a giveaway..sshhh.
What are you most looking forward to in the 2021 Juneteenth event?
Milly: I'm looking forward to the smiling faces, positive energy, and of course, being around Good Company!
Marv: I'm looking forward to seeing familiar and new faces this Juneteenth, as well as the sea of bikes as we embark on this route
Andrew: This year I’m looking forward to celebrating a year of Good Co. & continued progress with our hundreds of members and riders.
Shari: It's going to feel like a reunion. Some riders we haven't seen since the last Juneteenth celebration so I'm excited to see them!
What are your hopes for this event in the future?
National growth, where we host satellite rides in various cities and expand the network of Black-owned businesses so we can partner.
How can people follow along with and support the 2021Juneteenth event if they aren’t in Brooklyn?
We welcome everyone to follow our Instagram @goodcobikeclub and visit our website goodcobikeclub.com where we will post content throughout the ride and a recap video. We also have memberships and merchandise that can be purchased as a gift for yourself or a loved one. And if those aren't an option for you, we encourage you to support your local community and Black-owned businesses.
If you are in the Brooklyn area, click here to learn more about how you can get involved: https://goodcobikeclub.com/gcbc-events/