MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For most people, riding a bicycle 84.6 miles in a single day is a grueling athletic feat. The distance is more than halfway between Minneapolis and Duluth. But it’s what a young Black cyclist is doing for 10 days straight to honor Black people killed by police in Minnesota.
Raequan Wilson, 22, of Minneapolis, set himself the challenge of riding a total of 846 miles between Aug. 1 and Aug. 10.
Each ride is dedicated to a Black person killed by police in Minnesota over the last two decades. Every day, Wilson starts at a different location. On Wednesday, he began at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis, riding for George Floyd.
“The eight hundred and forty-six miles I ride is a demand for the right of the Black community to live FREE and FEARLESS,” Wilson wrote on his Instagram page. “This ride is not only for the fallen in our community; it is for the communities we live in now and for future communities.”
Wilson’s aim is to turn this 10-day stretch of athletic activism into a movement. He coined the hashtag #IRide4Them, and is encouraging others to funnel their passion for the outdoors toward fighting racism.
Additionally, Wilson started a GoFundMe page. The money raised will go toward providing helmets and bike lights for people in need; a portion will also be used to fund a monthly 84.6-mile bike ride to honor Black victims of police brutality. More than $13,000 has already been raised.
The number 846 stems from the death of George Floyd on May 25, as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was recorded pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin is facing murder charges.
A Black-out bike ride on Juneteenth to the George Floyd memorial inspired Wilson to create #IRide4Them.
“During the moment of silence, tears rolled down my face, and fear began to develop,” he wrote on Instagram. “I feared whose life we would mourn next. Would it be my friend, or my neighbor, or my brother? Would it be me? This fear is my fuel to fight, to resist, and to defeat racism here in my community.”
While Wilson is encouraging others to get outside –and ride 846 miles if they’re up for it — he’s not looking for partners for his daily rides. Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, he wants to maintain social distancing.