photo provided courtesy of Courtney Williams
Courtney Williams, known professionally as The Brown Bike Girl, is one of only five Bicycle Mayors here in the USA as part of our 115-member consortium around the world with the Amsterdam-based social enterprise BYCS (see her BYCS profile here — note: she uses the title The People’s Bicycle Mayor). She is also a fellow League Cycling Instructor. I first met Courtney in NYC a few years ago.
We crossed paths again during National Bike Month 2020 at her Bike Bingo event, and I wrote about her as part of my You Go, Girl Series when I was trying to find hope again after almost being killed while riding my bike in the place I’ve called home the past 26 years (after growing up in NY).
Courtney was the keynote speaker at the Georgia Bike Summit last fall, and has since been featured on many other panels as well. She also had an important message in Bicycling magazine about equity, which she asked people to amplify (which I did). Plus, she teaches many online classes, including one currently, titled Understanding Urbanity, that demystifies the process for adding bike infrastructure to your community and how to ensure your voice is heard.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Courtney recently and wanted to share with you some more of her latest impacts. Once again (year 3), she taught a multi-week course (with proprietary curriculum she created) in partnership with El Barrio Bikes and NYC’s Department of Health to empower community members to lead group bike rides in East Harlem. (Last year, she taught this course in the BedStuy neighborhood.)
And this Saturday, the kickoff of National Bike Month 2021, she’ll be riding with the NYC Parks Department Commissioner Mitch Silver to previously-neglected parks that have been revitalized.
Then, Courtney is taking a multimodal trip that combines her bike Peggy (short for Pegasus — pictured above) with a train ride to a campground outside the city to rejuvenate. It will be her first time solo bike-camping.
As Courtney told me, “My goal is to make equity palpable and achievable.”
Thank you, Courtney, for all you do.