The response to ALL IN racing's rainbow socks campaign has been "tremendous" and the uptake so far has been "fantastic", its founder, Josh Jones, has said.
Last week's Clanfield Cross saw the majority of the women's and men's fields sporting rainbow socks, and the small run of 120 pairs has already sold out.
ALL IN racing partnered with Rapha to produce a limited run of the socks, encouraging cyclists to help make their sport more inclusive for the LGBT+ community. The idea was to tie in with Stonewall's rainbow laces campaign.
Jones said: "The wider response to the rainbow socks, both at the Clanfield Cross and beyond has been tremendous.
"It is enormously confidence inspiring, and has given me a number of ideas for future project to come next year."
The winner of the men's elite race, Cameron Mason, was one of the riders who wore ALL IN racing's socks.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly earlier this week, the Trinity Racing rider said: "Every year through British Cycling I see [the rainbow laces campaign] getting shared around, and it was nice this year that someone offered me the chance wear the rainbow socks in an actual race in the UK, at the front. It's important that it was shown off, not just on social media. On social media, a lot of people's eyes just glaze over it, actually in real life and it made it normal that a rider can just have the rainbow colours on.
"Cycling is not particularly forward, but it does have people from all walks of life, and all sides of everything. The top end of cyclo-cross racing is just a small part of that, so it's not going to have total representation, but the more we can encourage representation the better."
Jones said that the campaign was "not about seeing one prominent racer wearing the socks". He explained: "The overarching point is that the rainbow socks at Clanfield Cross was all about mass participation. It’s about the engagement throughout the racing community and showing that we all have the ability to effect positive change."
"For me it’s an enormously positive sign," Jones said. "We had national champions, pros and foreign riders as well as elite domestic riders and club racers all in the socks and I really appreciate everyone who stepped up, showed their allyship and got involved."
Bruce Dalton, General Manager of Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus, one of the teams who took part in the Clanfield Cross, said that he was "proud" to work with ALL IN racing.
"We were proud to work with Josh and ALL IN racing to support the cause, and values that we deeply share within Team Spectra. We are gender balanced and open to all, much like we feel racing should be. We're looking forward to working with ALL IN racing for 2022 to make racing and riding as open as possible."
Cycling Weekly's 2021 feature 'Why is the peloton hiding its true colours?' showed a conspicuous absence of openly LGBTQ+ riders in the pro peloton, suggesting more needs to be done to encourage representation
ALL IN racing will formally launch in Spring 2022, and will work with teams, clubs and brands with the goal of improving LGBTQ+ inclusion in amateur and professional racing.
"The initiative will formally launch in the spring with announcements of partner brands and teams," Jones explained. "But I wanted to kick things off early by bringing Stonewall’s rainbow laces campaign to the cycling scene."
Cyclo-cross was a good place to start, Jones argued. "I think that cyclo-cross is inherently a more inclusive and welcoming discipline, mainly due to the family-friendly structure of race days and to the decreased impact teams have on the race results compared to road racing."
Jones' aim with ALL IN racing is to "make it as easy as possible for individuals, clubs and teams to engage with LGBT+ inclusion".
He said he wanted to make it easy for people "to be good allies, and to have a positive impact on their own corner of the sport".
"It’s a community focussed initiative that everyone can get involved with."
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