When John Shackelford discovered cycling an entirely new world opened up to him. The freedom that came with it empowered him to access opportunities and a future he’d never dreamed of before. As for many of us, 2020 has made him reconsider where Black people have come from and where they are now. Is there really a difference? Are we all truly free? John has decided to embark on a journey of endurance and determination as a medium to process this struggle. At 25 years old, the age many black men meet their demise, the New York City bike messenger will cycle 1,114 miles along the Underground Railroad, a life and death trek for those who attempted it in the early to mid-1800s.

This is adventure cycling, a discipline marked by a vast underrepresentation of POC. This is a story of activism, adventure
and deep connection to the ancestors along the way. This is a ride of protest, resistance, and hope. 

The film documenting his passage is our call to action to act as both witnesses to history while also active participants. We’ve been humbled by the outpouring of support and generosity the teaser has inspired, but we still have a long way to go. With our community behind us, we can fuel John’s dream and capture every second along the way.

Check out our teaser here: 

Follow us on Instagram:


  • Sandra Cirian
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Jillian Wasick
    • $15 
    • 4 mos
  • Timothy Snowber
    • $25 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 10 mos
  • Douglas Sell
    • $25 
    • 11 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Underground Rail Road Ride 2020
Brooklyn, NY
Underground Railroad Film

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