Diversity In Cycling began life as a conversation because there seemed to be more people from black and Asian backgrounds in Lycra and riding bikes, but not necessarily represented within cycling clubs, the cycling media or the cycling community as a whole. Why was this?
The conversation grew and more people joined, with over sixty people contributing to what became the Diversity In Cycling report. Black and Asian men and women, including many Muslim men and women all of whom enjoyed the sport of cycling, but had their own perspectives to share and stories to tell.
What started as a small grass roots project amongst the London club cycling scene grew to national prominence with the thoughtful support of Chidi Onuhoa, a communications executive at British Cycling. Chidi mobilised British Cycling’s support to help distribute the report to every cycling club across the UK. British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington wrote a foreword to the report admitting that while BC had many successes as a governing body, they had fallen short on diversity. This foreword serves as an excellent template for a CEO taking responsibility for an organisation’s lack of progress. The truth is cycling as a whole is way behind on this issue, including most governing bodies around the world, the UCI and World Tour level teams.
The Diversity In Cycling report remains fiercely independent. It is an entirely pro bono project, propelled by the collective goodwill of everyone who contributed and those who are willing to share and advocate for these beliefs. British Cycling remains supportive, but they are also joined by Science In Sport, Milltag, Look Mum No Hands and many others to help spread the word.
Diversity In Cycling continues as an online community both in Twitter and Instagram, celebrating, sharing and connecting those bringing diversity to the sport of cycling around the world. Anyone can make a difference and anyone can be an advocate for an inclusive sport. This includes world champions, professional and elite amateurs, local clubs, charities and community organisations some of whom wear Lycra and some of whom do not. If you ride a bike, then you are a cyclist.
Cycling is universal and so are the themes in this report. Since publication, more groups and individuals have emerged, sharing their experiences. What is evident is that every single name in the report could be replaced by completely different names, but the substance of the report remains the same. There are, clearly, cultural nuances that vary from one country to another around the world, but the basic human need to feel connected and belonging is constant. Cycling is a beautiful sport we can all share.
Click on the link below to read the Diversity In Cycling Report.