MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - In 1965, civil rights protestors marched over 50 miles from Selma to the state Capitol in Montgomery.
Although they were faced with deadly violence, they completed the trek in three days, raising awareness for the need for a national voting rights act.
This March will be the 55th anniversary of the march, and one local club will be commemorating the journey on bicycles.
Over 600 cyclists and their bikes will be loaded into buses headed for Selma Saturday morning just to bike the over 50 miles back, all to observe the 55th Anniversary of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voters Right March.
“We’re going to start the ride on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and then follow the National Historic Trail from Selma all the way back to Montgomery with rest stops along the way at the three campsites and then finishing at the Alabama Capitol steps,” said Montgomery Bicycle Club President Robert Traphan.
This is only the second time this ride has been organized, but Traphan says it’s an empowering experience.
“The voting rights march was about unity and giving people individual power through their voting rights. I think by parallel being on a bicycle gives people that freedom where they’re powering themselves, they’re not in a car or a truck but they’re able to go 15 to 20 miles an hour just by peddling their legs,” he said.
Thirty-two states are being represented in this year’s ride. Cyclists say it’s an opportunity they couldn’t miss.
Glen Banks brought over 30 cyclists from California for the ride.
“This is something that’s about equality," said Banks. “It’s about social equality. This was one of those events that we just couldn’t and wouldn’t miss. This is our chance to say, ‘Hey, that march is a pivotal part of who we are and we want to be part of commemorating it 55 years later.’”
Earl Wigfall traveled from Indiana with five other cyclists.
“It makes you proud to be an American. When you look at it, we’re a melting pot and then you look through the line here and you see blacks, you see whites, you see Hispanics," said Wigfall. "You see every national creed, race, just like Dr. Martin Luther King wanted us to be.”
It’s too late to sign up for this year’s ride, but cyclists are expected to arrive at the Capitol steps between noon and 5 p.m. Saturday for anyone that wants to cheer them on during the last stretch up Dexter Avenue.
While riding the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, cyclists are encouraged to stop and see the sights, envision the march and take in all of the history that happened on that path.
Organizers say they will try to hold this event every five years.