ITHACA, N.Y.—For the second year in a row, Ithaca’s Southside Community Center will be sponsoring the Harriet Tubman Freedom Ride, an annual, lengthy bike ride around the Finger Lakes region to pay tribute to Harriet Tubman.
Participating cyclists can choose between three routes to take for the ride, either 33.2 miles, 67.9 miles or 100.2 miles — Southside will have volunteers stationed throughout each of the routes. Though the ride will take place Saturday, July 23, Southside will be organizing events for race participants and the community throughout the weekend. The ride weekend kicks off Thursday, July 21, with Southside’s welcome event for the participating cyclists.
On Friday, July 22, Southside will host keynote speakers for cyclists after they conclude their warm-up ride around Cornell University’s campus. The official ride is on Saturday, July 23, and cyclists will meet up after at Myers Park for a picnic, which is also open to the community. Following the picnic, there will be a night cruise for the cyclists which Southside has collaborated with Discover Cayuga Lake Boat Tours to present.
Kayla Matos, the deputy director of the Southside Community Center, said the picnic is a highlight of the weekend, bringing participants and community members together to reflect on the Freedom Ride.
“We typically have like two to 300 Black and brown people all in one space, celebrating this amazing ride that the majority of them just took, just talking about what it meant to them,” Matos said.
Matos said Southside wanted to continue working on the annual ride as the first year was enjoyed by both cyclists and community members.
“Its first, inaugural year was last year and that was a huge success, a huge hit,” Matos said. “So we plan on continuing this event for years to come.”