A long and meandering ride to anarchy and liberation - Arya Namdol (104 mins)


Happy Sunday! Excited to share this long, sometimes heavy, mostly rambunctious conversation recorded last week (April 4). Gelek speaks with cyclist, entrepreneur and activist Arya Namdol about her early life in India and America (07:00); anti Asian racism (22:25); being an anarchist (36:06); what cycling means to her (47:00); creating BIPOC spaces and voices in cycling (56:16); plus tips on biking, memorable rides, etc. (89:25).


Arya Namdol is a first generation Tibetan settler on Turtle Island currently tending space in Machimoodus historically tended by the Wangunk people. The colonizers call this land East Haddam, Connecticut. She is a proprietor of RonsBikes.com and is a founder of WTF BX, now called RAR. Arya recognizes the bicycle as a vehicle for inner and outer peace, and works toward expanding what it means to be a cyclist in today's world. She loves decolonial frameworks, buddhism (with a lower case b), and wants to give deep thanks to the friends, family and peers who give her the courage to be courageous.


Episode notes

  • Arya intro, Machik talk, checking in with friends and relations lately. [01:10]

  • Early life in India and America: environmental justice work, activism, burnout. [07:00]

  • First bike, political formation, pushing leftist Tibetan discourse, Dalai Lama identifying as a Marxist, etc. [13:30]

  • Anti-Asian racism, reconciling identities (Tibetan and Asian) and values that aren’t always in sync with Stop Asian Hate. [22:25]

  • Responding vs reacting to traumas and oppressions (Highlander Center). [30:20]

  • An anarchist response to COVID, collectivism and community. [36:06]

  • Cycling as a lifestyle, a solace and a part of Asian identity. [47:00]

  • Creating bike packs and starting ronsbikes.com. [52:20]

  • Creating BIPOC spaces and confronting racism, anti-oppression in the cycling world, forming Radical Adventure Riders. [56:16]

  • Riding solo in America and around the world, full moon rides, avoiding wildlife and training courtesy of special Tibetan genes. [66:47]

  • Putting together a BIPOC team for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route,  [81:40]

  • Craziest bike, tips for new cyclists, nastiest fall, most memorable ride, bike recommendations, Lance Armstrong being an ass. [89:25]

Recommended reading

Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin Wall Kimmerer

A People’s History of the United States - Howard Zinn

The Conquest of Bread - Peter Kropotkin

Humankind: A Hopeful History - Rutger Bregman

Asia's Unknown Uprisings Volume 1 & Volume 2

The Black Foxes (all Black cycling team)

Cycling Industry Pledge