Cycling in the footsteps of the 1966 Farmworkers March

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In June of 2023, the writer and media artist Ivan Sigal and I spent six days cycling through California’s Central Valley meeting people, making media, and collecting stories. When the two of us set out on our 550-mile bicycle storytelling adventure in the footsteps of the 1966 Farmworkers March, we were chasing a legend, seeking a conversation, and trying to understand a region that will shape the shared future of our planet.

Personally, the ride gave me an opportunity to bring together multiple parts of my identity into a single unified project: a Guatemalan-American, an organizer of citizen science, a cyclist, and a person with a severe respiratory disability.

All told, I wrote ten articles about the journey, and we raised over seven thousand thousand dollars for the Central California Environmental Justice Network and the indigenous language program Rising Voices. I’m especially proud of the feature article I wrote for Adventure Cyclist’s fall 2023 issue on bicycles as tools for social change.

Here are two links that will give you the clearest summary of our ride. The Global Voices pages includes links to all the other articles.

For a taste of the kind of writing I did on the road, here are three of the Global Voices posts that I am most proud of. I am so grateful to the GV community for translating these into so many languages <3

Overall, the ride was exhilirating and exhausting. I also took on way too much research and writing. But I’m hooked now, and I’m already planning my next long ride!

Map of our ride through Central California

Photo: Nathan Matias rides into the Yokuts Valley, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains east of Fresno, CA. Photo by Ivan Sigal (CC BY 4.0)