The UK is set to get its first black and ethnic minority race team, as a collection of amateur racers have come together to address one of the biggest issues facing cycling.
London-based cycling club BCN, The Black Cyclists Network, has launched its own race team in the hopes of inspiring people of colour to get on the bike.
Cycling has a huge disparity in participation between different ethnic groups, with a recent study finding that 41 per cent of white people in the UK had engaged with cycling, compared with 35.8 per cent of black people and 32.5 per cent of the South Asian community.
The death of George Floyd in the United States, which resulted in a murder charge for Minneapolis ex-police officer Derek Chauvin and aiding and abetting charges for three other officers, has catalysed conversations about race and diversity around the world, including amongst the cycling community.
BCN has launched a fundraising campaign in the hopes of gathering £10,000, with donations going to support the race team’s equipment and expenses, events to raise awareness and community outreach programmes.
So far, 186 people have donated almost £5,000 in less than 24 hours.
Donate to the campaign here.
Mani Arthur, who founded BCN back in 2018 to address the lack of representation of black cyclists, said: “BCN is more than a club. We are a community built to address the lack of representation in the cycling world. There are a lot of cyclists from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in the UK and around the world yet very few resources cater for our communities. With the launch of the BCN team we aim to give much needed visibility to people of colour in the sport to inspire and engage a new audience to the physical, mental and social benefits of cycling.”
The team currently consists of nine riders – one elite rider, four category two races and four third cats – who will be ready to compete from 2021.
BCN, which currently has more than 100 members, has ambitious plans to encourage grassroots cycling with a focus on community participation, an outreach programme for beginners, and pathways for young talents to find their way into the sport.