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This June, swrve ambassador Erick Cedeño, aka Bicycle Nomad, will be set out on a solo journey from Missoula, MT to St. Louis, MO to retrace the 1897 route that was pedaled by the volunteer Bicycle Corps of the all Black 25th Infantry Regiment known as the Buffalo Soldiers. This monumental 1,900 mile ride was a test by the Army to see if the newly popular bicycle could be a feasible means of transport for troops. Along the way, the Buffalo Soldiers collected geographic and topographic data, documented route conditions, sources of supplies, and other information that could be useful to the military.
Erick is using his 125th anniversary ride as an opportunity to acknowledge the role Black soldiers played in our nation’s history by retracing their journey. Erick will again use his bicycle as a conduit to another era, drawing upon curiosity and a desire to surface stories that have yet to be told.
Curiosity leads to unearthing truth and opportunities to inform our current reality. When we understand the experience of those that came before us and tell their stories, we can heal wounds of the past and dignify the individuals who otherwise remain forgotten.
Today we find ourselves in a moment to reclaim historical narratives that have either been sanitized or continue on with missing storylines. Too often, these are the narratives of sacrifice, pain, injustice, and the harmful effects of racism. This is a journey that embodies the spirt of Bicycle Nomad and will be an American West companion to his 2,200 mile ride that followed the path of the Underground Railroad from New Orleans, LA to Niagara Falls, NY.
“Curiosity drives me. It fuels my insatiable desire to know what’s beyond the next bend of the road, to discover what’s there beyond the edges of the map. If it’s my muscles that propel me to move forward physically, it’s my curiosity and the hope to reclaim dignity and truth that propels me mentally," says Erick.
Staying true to the original ride of the Buffalo Soldiers, Erick plans to complete the route in the same 41 days as his predecessors, albeit on a contemporary steel and carbon fiber steed from Niner Bikes that's loaded with everything he needs to complete the voyage.
Click here if you'd like to help support Erick on his historic ride. We're matching donations up to $500 total so your generous contribution will be doubled by us.
If you want to donate directly to Erick you can go to his GoFundMe here.
Photos: Josh Caffrey