Updated: Nov 13
Introducing the Ultra Distance Scholarship: A scholarship for BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) cyclists in Ultra Distance racing.
When we shared our version of the BLM black square back in June (we've learned a lot since then), we said: This is not enough. Our team is white. The cycling world is staggeringly white. We are part of the problem.
We also encouraged anyone we work with, the brands we stock, our distributors, our collaborators, business partners, customers and friends, to start normalising these important and uncomfortable conversations.
It was around the same time we signed the WTF Bikexplorers Cycling Industry Pledge (something that we recommend) and promised to start having more conversations about inclusivity and diversity amongst our small team in the shop.
We know there are many barriers to cycling, and funding and access to adequate equipment is a significant one. We've decided to do our part, with the resources that we have, to help bring more representation to the world of Ultra Distance Racing. We hope you’ll join us by applying for this scholarship, or passing along this opportunity to the right person or group.
Mildred Locke put it really, really well, when she wrote in her Singletrack Magazine article, 'What people mean when they say cycling has a race problem':
"There’s a saying that goes ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’ and unless I’m mistaken (please let me be), there aren’t any prominent BAME pro athletes in the UK MTB scene just yet. This lack of representation forms a feedback loop where potential future talent may be discouraged from getting into the sport, because they view the scene as a white space that’s not for them. We need to break that cycle.
We need cycling publications and brands to normalise coverage of BAME riders, telling their stories and amplifying their voices. But until they can include BAME people in their social media posts without a horde of comments labelling it ‘virtue signalling’, the sport will continue to suffer."
The same can be said of the Ultra Distance Racing corner of the cycling world. A ridiculous little corner which we absolutely adore and cherish. So when we reached out with these realities and concerns to our partners at the Pan Celtic Race, they were open to making something positive happen.
Together, we are launching the Ultra Distance Scholarship in hopes of elevating representation in the discipline, and to initiate further conversation about diversity and inclusion in the cycling world. We hope to inspire others to think about what folks, brands, and organisations can tangibly and realistically *do* to make actual change in their immediate communities. The key to this change begins right with the people you are already working with and engage with everyday. There is no one grand action that can solve the problem of inadequate diversity and representation in our beloved sport. It starts with honest communication, a will to reset your comfort zone, and pulling from the resources you already have access to, to help contribute to an industry and cycling world that includes and empowers everyone.
We are also excited to share that we have partnered with Alison Wood of Veloqi to provide a coaching aspect to this scholarship. Veloqi aims to provide professional performance coaching using a holistic body and mind approach to improving cycling performance for all disciplines and all abilities. Alison is also the first Diversity and Inclusion Officer on the British Cycling Eastern Region board. She will be providing coaching support to the successful scholarship recipient from the new year up until race day in July 2021.
The Pan Celtic Race 2021 is a 1600 mile, 100,000 ft, self-supported cycling adventure, journeying through the Celtic Nations of Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and finishing in Wales. The PCR was born from a grassroots beginning amongst friends with a common passion for the magic of cycling, timeless landscapes, and the art of Ultra Distance. You can watch the beautiful PCR film here.
The recipient of this scholarship will receive a comprehensive bike fit at Cloud 9 Cycles by Foundation Fit specific to Ultra Distance racing, a custom hand-built Cloud 9 frame, a fully custom bike build out of the Cloud 9 workshop, a spot in the Pan Celtic Race 2021, support from the Pan Celtic Race community including invitations to their infamous 'Gatherings', training support from coach Alison Wood of Veloqi, and bike maintenance from the Cloud 9 workshop up until race day. This scholarship is valued at £10,000+.
Please share this opportunity far and wide. The deadline for applications is the 11 December 2020. The recipient will be announced by 18 December 2020. Any questions can be directed to email@example.com. The recipient will be chosen by guest juror Alison Wood in conjunction with the Pan Celtic Race and Cloud 9 Cycles.