I’d like to share a quick story about how and why I started Bikerumor. Mainly, it’s because I didn’t want to get a real job. But as I mapped it out, I knew it could become a platform for anyone, not just my voice. So I designed it from the ground up to allow for other voices, opinions and writing styles.
So far, it’s worked. Our team has grown to include men and women from around the world. I’m proud to say that Bikerumor was one of the first mainstream digital cycling media outlets to have a full time female editor. Our team is small, but it’s a healthy mix of men and women, from freelancers to “full time”, who come from a variety of locations, backgrounds and lifestyles.
That’s by design, and I’m always on the lookout for talented riders who can also write, regardless of ethnicity, gender, orientation. And lately I’ve been actively reaching out to more people from a variety of communities with writing opportunities. Which is a good start. We can’t hire everyone, but we can still find ways to include a more diverse group of faces and voices, and that’s what we plan to do.
What Bikerumor will do
We acknowledge our part in upholding the status-quo. By not actively seeking out Black and People of Color to highlight in our posts and stories. By not actively seeking out companies owned by BlPOC.
That’s tough to do in an industry dominated by white people, but we will look a little harder. And we can extend this invitation: no matter who you are, if you’re making a cool cycling product, let us know about it. We want to share all the stories.
Why is this good? Diversity and inclusion helps all of us. Sure, it expands the potential market for our industry. But more importantly, it opens it up to new ideas and energy. Bringing in new perspectives and enthusiasm means better products and experiences for all of us.
Bikerumor was built on a love of all things cycling, and we want to share that with everyone by showing that it is for everyone.
A few ideas for the Cycling Industry
I like solutions, and I realize the limitations of what we can do on our own. So here are a few ideas I came up with for the industry:
Often times, the images we use are provided by the brands. Increasingly, brands are including more women and people of color. Keep ’em coming and we will incorporate more of them into our stories.
Bigger brands with demo fleets can extend their scheduled stops to add a day for diverse community groups to come try their bikes. Work with the local bike shop to reach out to groups that wouldn’t otherwise consider mountain biking and give them the opportunity to test a bike. Think this would hook some folks on the sport? While we’re at it, could your demo drivers be people of color?
Think about cycling from a different perspective. I’ve made my Peak Content Summit session by Emmy nominee Nzinga C. Blake free to watch (free registration required, only takes a sec), and I’d highly recommend it for any brand trying to figure out how to speak authentically to a more diverse audience.
Host press launch dinners and events at locations owned by people of color. We all post a lot of pics and videos on social media when we’re on these press junkets, and we have an audience. It’s subtle, but these things all add up to make diversity seem normal. Which is what it should be…normal.
What you can do
Start by listening to our recent podcasts with Rahsaan Bahati – which ends with some great advice on how to be more inclusive in cycling, and our friend Christian – a Black cyclist who’s worked in the cycling industry for more than a decade who speaks about his experience as a Black person in a White dominated industry. We also interviewed Ayesha McGowan a few months ago, who helps explain why a more diverse peloton helps everyone.
Diversify your IG feed
This is a small selection of people to follow. Don’t just take our word for it, find local groups and people to follow as well, use the Google.
- Ayesha McGowan – pro road cyclist and advocate for representation of people of color in cycling. Check out A Quick Brown Fox for her blog and podcast.
- Justin Williams – pro cyclist and founder of an elite cycling team in Los Angeles, L39ION, dedicated to increasing diversity and encouraging inclusion.
- Rahsaan Bahati – 10x National Cycling Champ and founder of the Bahati Foundation dedicated to introducing youth to the joy cycling.
- Black Girls Do Bike – Growing and supporting a community of black women who share a passion for cycling.
- Black Men Bike – Celebrating the work and style of men of color who ride.
- Black Cyclists Network – Whose mission is to connect & encourage cyclists of color & the wider community to take up cycling.
- The Black Foxes – “an international collective of unapologetically Black cyclists and outdoors-people that are reclaiming our narratives and roles in the outdoors.” Read more about this collective on their website.
- Pedal 2 the People – Telling the cycling stories of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Kind of like Humans of New York, but for cycling and centering BlPOC.
- Diné Composite NICA Team – Diné Bikéyah, Navajo Nation, Middle School and High School NICA Team. Support them.
- Melanin Base Camp – People of color in the outdoors. Read their guide to outdoor allyship.
- WTF Bike Explorers – Read, follow, and sign the cycling industry pledge.
Spread the wealth
Like beer? Search “black owned breweries” and you’ll find this list. Find a real Mexican restaurant, not Chiles or Taco Bell. Find an ethnic food market in your town. Wherever you like to end your rides, a quick Google search will almost assuredly give you new options. You might even find a new favorite!
Got spare bike parts laying around? Donate them to a local co-op that rebuilds bikes for people who need transportation. Invite a more diverse group to meet you for a social ride after work, or maybe take someone who’s interested out for a mountain bike ride if you have a spare bike to lend.
What do you think?
Got an idea for the industry? Follow a black cyclist or black-owned cycling brand we should know about? Drop your ideas and any links in the comments!
Thank you for reading this. We’re looking forward to the long ride ahead, together!