Bo knows baseball. Bo knows football. And, it turns out, Bo knows cycling, too. Bo Jackson, the only former MLB and NFL player to be named an All-Star in both leagues, has been leading the proverbial peloton when it comes to helping his home state of Alabama.
For the past seven years, Jackson has hosted Bo Bikes Bama, a charity cycling event that takes participants either 20 or 60 miles through the state to help raise money for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) and its construction of emergency storm shelters.
Jackson launched the ride after tornadoes ripped through the state on April 27, 2011, killing 243 and leaving thousands more without homes. He embarked on a five-day, 300-mile journey across Alabama, visiting many of the towns leveled by the tornadoes, and was joined by other athletes like Scottie Pippen, Ken Griffey, Jr., Picabo Street and Al Joyner.
Now a yearly fundraiser, Bo Bikes Bama has raised more than $1.54 million since its inception.
“We started this ride to help Alabama recover from a terrible natural disaster, but we continue this ride to make Alabama a safer place so that heartache never happens again,” Jackson told WTVM.
Jackson just announced that the 2019 ride will take place in Auburn, Alabama on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Online registration opens January 15.
— Bo Bikes Bama (@BoBikesBama) November 22, 2018
“Bo’s efforts have kept emergency preparedness top of mind among both private citizens and government officials. The money raised through the Bo Bikes Bama charity ride helps enable the state to be proactive and better prepared for future natural disasters,” said Governor Kay Ivey.
Bo Bikes Bama is also inspiring people like Latira Graham, a 31-year-old from South Carolina, who had not ridden a bike in decades, but decided to make Jackson’s event her first cycling race.
“All around me were people I could relate to: newbies fiddling with their setups, plus-sized riders in their matching kits, African-American riders with their dreadlocks tucked beneath stylish helmets,” she wrote on Bicycling.com. “I had never seen an event like this. Everyone I came into contact with was fascinated by my bike and happy to learn that I would be riding that day. For a few minutes, I relaxed. As a highly-educated fat black woman with an unconventional job, I’m used to sticking out like a skunk among badgers, but everyone was just excited to see me out there.”
Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a rookie rider, Bo Bikes Bama is an experience for everyone. And, should another natural disaster strike, it could very well help everyone in the region.