Cycling’s Ethnic Make-Up

I’m not that much of a fan of riding on weekends – I have the luxury (which I appreciate) of being able to ride during the quieter week days – but nevertheless I often end up out and about on a Saturday or Sunday, and today was one of those Sundays. Two things struck me –

Firstly, the high number of cyclists around. No, we weren’t outnumbering the cars but there were plenty of us about – individuals and groups of various sizes, organized or informal. Cycling is, surely, now a far more popular pastime than at any other point in my lifetime.

Secondly, I saw a West Indian lady, kitted out as a ‘serious’ cyclist, riding in one of those groups, and that made me realize how ‘white’ a sport/pastime cycling seems to be. I have no idea why that might be, but seeing this lady today made me realize I can only think of two other occasions in all the recent years I’ve been riding that I’ve seen anything other than white bike riders.

My knee-jerk response to the latter is to hope it’s a by-product of the former, and that as cycling grows in popularity, so how well it represents society’s make-up will improve. And as I think about that response some more, I come to the same conclusion. Everything else aside, and leaving cycling as a serious sport out of it, cycling as a pastime will become safer when cyclists aren’t seen as ‘cyclists’ but are recognised for what they are: fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brother, sisters, friends and loved-ones. And for that to happen, we all need all of society to participate.