Big thanks to all who made our Memorial Day Ride the biggest yet this season, and to the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park for hosting us for the fourth straight Memorial Day.

Memorial Day in the Naval Park began with a big crowd by morning for the dedication of “The Battle Within” monument to soldiers lost to PTSD, believed to be the first of its kind. Among many moving tributes from some of the people who made the monument happen was that of Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY President Cas Rodriguez, who later welcomed Slow Rollers to the West Side while we stopped at Connecticut Street Armory.

Cas in The Buffalo News – “Memorial Day, veteran suicides and a monument to hope”

Video of Cas speaking to Slow Roll at Connecticut Street Armory

Thanks to our presenting partner Independent Health for their constant support and last night’s drawstring bag giveaway, and big ups to our volunteer squad for holding it down with a big crowd, including many first-time Slow Rollers as the weather is finally shining. Appreciation also to motorists for their patience and well-wishes as we passed them, and to the BPD for helping the ride proceed.

We started beside the Naval Park with George Miller’s booming rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner, rolled through downtown and Allentown to the armory, then back downtown through Niagara Square to Jesse Clipper Square along the Michigan Avenue African-American Heritage Corridor in the Copper Town section of Willert Park, where the incomparable Eva Doyle shared the history of Private Clipper going from the founding of the nearby Colored Musicians Club to becoming the first African-American solider from Buffalo to make the ultimate sacrifice in World War I. Also joining us were Copper Town Block Club leaders Gail Wells and Geneva Johnson, who enlightened riders on history and current events in their neighborhood.

Stakeholder Spotlight from 2018 – Eva Doyle

Copper Town in Challenger Community News – “Neighborhood Residents Take Legal Action Against City and Developers”

Repeating a message delivered during last night’s stops – larger crowds make for longer mass-ups, as the primary purpose of these stops is regrouping for safety, including returning the juniors and joyriders to the front of the pack as they inevitably fall back. These mass-ups provide opportunities to pass the mic to neighborhood stakeholders who share stories about the area we’re stopped in, as well as to connect with whomever we’re riding alongside – strangers before the ride often become friends during and afterward. With respect for this attention to safety comes patience; any participant unable to wait patiently during the mass-up is welcome to ride off in any direction.

From Jesse Clipper Square down Michigan into the First Ward, we rode along the Buffalo River and back downtown past Canalside to the Naval Park, where the USS Little Rock was kept open late for our Buffalocal afterparty with food and drinks from Liberty Hound and music from DJs Milk and Yes.

Thanks to Clay Davies, Fr. Jud Weiksnar and Doc Thomas for these photos, and again to all who joined us for a meaningful Memorial Day Ride.

We have a wild week ahead of us with three free and inclusive community bike rides between now and next Monday night:

– Wednesday, May 29th, 6:30pm – our first Pride Ride, with a route tracing history of Buffalo’s Pride movement as part of 2019 Buffalo Pride Week! Presented with support from KeyBank and hosted by Community Beer Works, 520 7th Street.

– Saturday, June 1st, 1pm – another Lydia T. Wright Bike Stampede, part of BestSelf Behavioral Health’s Saturday Academy at Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence, 106 Appenheimer Avenue – free and open to all, Saturday Academy runs from 10am-1am including two hot meals, swimming lessons and haircuts, and programming prepared for Slow Rollers by BestSelf – “we’ve arranged an adult-based activity to cater to the Slow Roll crowd called the ‘Community Social Meet & Greet’ where adult participants can play fun icebreaker games to learn more about themselves, their neighbors, and fellow community. We’ve also planned ‘the Great Book Barter’ activity where a host of philosophical, political, academic, art appreciation, and instructional books will be available to Saturday Academy participants.”

– Monday, June 3rd, 6:30pm – our debut at beautiful Walden Park, thanks to an invitation from the North Lovejoy Coalition of block clubs. The park is tucked off of Walden Avenue where the East Side meets Cheektowaga, on Bakos Boulevard between Bailey and Harlem.

Our 10-mile roundtrip route includes stops in Lovejoy and Babcock; neighborhoods on this route include Lovejoy, Schiller Park, Kaisertown, Babcock, Broadway-Fillmore and Emerson along major streets Walden, Bailey, Broadway, Ogden, William, Clinton and Sycamore.

Buffalocal afterparty in Walden Park will include fellowship, food trucks and homemade grub from the block club; drinks from Big Ditch Brewing Company, Community Beer Works, Resurgence Brewing Company, Chateau Buffalo, Ashker’s Juice Bar – Bistro – Gallery & Snowy Owl Kombucha; and music from Doc Thomas Promotions.

As with every first Monday ride of the month, we’ll have another pre-ride giveaway from our presenting partner Independent Health, while supplies last.

Get in gear and join us!