Over the past few days Singletracks has shared news about the current dialogue around racial justice and equality as it intersects with the cycling world, and frankly I’m feeling disappointed and discouraged. Disappointed by the negative comments and emails sent by readers. Discouraged that people of color continue to struggle for equality and basic empathy despite so many wake up calls over the years, not unlike the one we’re experiencing right now. Again.
Perhaps the most discouraging part to me is that none of this is news, even when it comes to our relatively insulated world of mountain biking. Four years ago we talked about just how white and male mountain biking is. In 2018 we explored why that’s the case, exposing the barriers to mountain biking for African Americans like Donna Iannicelli. We’ve highlighted communities where groups like NICA and Trips for Kids are doing their part to make mountain biking more accessible to people from all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. But it hasn’t been nearly enough.
Ever since serving in the US military, I’ve believed in fighting for freedom and justice for all, and as the editor of Singletracks I’ll continue to lead and do the same within the context of covering what’s happening in the mountain bike industry and culture. We work hard to remain unbiased in our coverage of the mountain bike world, but racial injustice and discrimination is one area where we’ll proudly wear our bias for inclusivity, empathy, and compassion, especially for those who are marginalized.
And there’s still a lot of work to be done. While Singletracks may not have a pile of money to donate or bikes to give away, we do have a voice and will use it to more clearly support those who are treated unfairly. I’m optimistic that perspectives can be changed through hearing each others’ stories and learning about the world around us. As journalists, sharing stories what we do best. And we all have much to learn.
So many of us turn to mountain biking to escape from the turmoil and current events in the world around us, and we know many of you read Singletracks and listen to our podcast for a similar escape. But racism isn’t something we can just put on mute; unfortunately it still exists everywhere, even within our sport and industry. If reading about these issues in your favorite mountain bike publication makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s a good thing. That’s how progression works, in mountain biking and in life.
And if you’re fortunate enough to have the time, energy, money, and freedom to go for a bike ride this weekend, use the opportunity to clear your head and think about the current situation and how you can help.
At the very least, let’s all consider what we can do to “love one another.”