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Participants in the 2022 Black Unity Bike Ride

Pedal power

The 2022 Black Unity Bike Ride

In August 2022, the third annual edition of the Black Unity Bike Ride (BURB) took place, offering a welcoming, safe space to inspire cyclists and riders from diverse backgrounds to get active.

The first-ever BURB was launched in the summer of 2020 by Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, Chief Executive of the charity Career Ready, to support several anti-racism campaigns during a period of mourning and reflection after the murder of George Floyd.

As a strategic partner of the event, London Marathon Events has worked with the core team since the start to organise the BUBR each year – and the strength and success of this partnership continues to grow.

The BUBR is owned by New Initiatives Youth & Community Association and managed by a small team of passionate volunteers. Alongside the event itself, the BUBR Alliance consists of 20-plus black-led cycling collectives that utilise their collaborative power, network and influence to bring about positive change in the Black community.

The aim of the BUBR

Explaining his reasons for setting up the event, Ajasa-Oluwu said in an interview with The Voice: “The Black Unity Bike Ride is a community ride that was created with the aim of inspiring more unity and a sense of empowerment.

“It’s an awesome, vibrant day where we get participants aged seven to 70, riding side-by-side and enjoying some of London’s most iconic landmarks. BUBR is a perfect example of the positivity that can be achieved when we choose to unite.

“We make sure each ride is a joyful experience that feels empowering, all within a safe space, where our riders can be their unapologetic selves without judgement.”

“We make sure each ride is a joyful experience that feels empowering, all within a safe space, where our riders can be their unapologetic selves without judgement.”

Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa

Chief Executive of Career Ready and founder of the Black Unity Bike Ride

For the third edition of the event in August 2022, around 1,500 riders covered a 15-mile route through the capital from Leyton Sports Ground in east London to Brockwell Park in south London, stopping off in Hackney and Lincoln’s Inn Fields in central London to meet up along the way.

The 2022 event also featured BUBRFest for the first time – a festival area where riders could celebrate completing the 15-mile ride.

Thanks to a partnership with Black Eats LDN, who provided music, entertainment and vendors selling food and arts celebrating black culture, this festival area in Brockwell Park was buzzing all afternoon and into the early evening, packed with riders and their friends and families.

Take a look at the short film below to get a flavour of the 2022 event!

How we got involved

A 19-strong group of staff from London Marathon Events and The London Marathon Charitable Trust joined volunteers in a variety of roles to support the event. We asked them to reflect on their roles on the day…

Eleanor Grant was at the Start:

“I arrived at Leyton Sports Ground shortly after 07:00 and was soon briefed and ready to start checking in and registering riders, ensuring that they had the right coloured wristband.

“By 08:30 hundreds of riders were starting to arrive, the atmosphere was starting to build and we moved out into the queue to check them in swiftly. The Ride Marshal briefing took place and the bike repair stall was busy throughout.

“Once the riders had left, we cleared the site and handed it back in time for the cricket match taking place that afternoon. It was a great day, with riders expressing lots of thanks and blessings.”

Emily Lewis supported riders at the Lincoln’s Inn Fields rest stop:

“My colleague Layla, Reyss from BURB and I arrived at 07:30 to set up. We were soon ready, with the other volunteers who had joined us, to welcome the ride. From 11:00 a few riders who were joining in at Lincoln’s Inn Fields started to arrive for check in. Shortly after 12:30 we heard whistles and music – the carnival had arrived!

“The park was full of happy vibes and a buzzing atmosphere and before we knew it, the riders were off again, heading south towards Brockwell Park for the event’s finale!”

Alison Hamlett was stationed at the Finish:

“The finish area at Brockwell Park proved to be a huge success as hundreds of riders of all ages arrived over a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon.

“A team of BUBR volunteers and LME staff set up the festival area from scratch on Saturday morning, which involved creating a water station, medical point, site office and merchandise stand; siting picnic tables, bins, bike racks and toilets; and welcoming wonderful food vendors as part of the Black Eats LDN collective, who sold everything from curried goat to mango smoothies.

“The Black Unity Bike Ride’s values of unity, empowerment, love and fun combined to create an amazing atmosphere, as groups of cyclists enjoyed moving speeches, great music and the chance to celebrate a good day in the saddle. I’d recommend volunteering to anyone – it was fun and really rewarding.”

Next year’s Black Unity Bike Ride will take place on Saturday 5 August 2023. To find out more and get involved, visit