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Interview: Wesley Ferguson on Mountain Biking as a Black Man

Oct 23, 2020 at 9:44
by Brian Park  

Interview: Brian Park
Words: Wesley Ferguson
Illustrations: Taj Mihelich

Wesley Ferguson is a joyful, positive person. He's happy-go-lucky, and absolutely loving life. He works at a non-profit bike shop in a historically poor part of Minneapolis that's working to improve diversity in the cycling world. His background is in film studies, and he's recently gotten into mountain biking.

But he's angry too. Angry that he has to explain the existence of racism and justify his frustration. Angry that the sum of his experiences don't allow him to give people the benefit of the doubt—"Did that person refuse my help because they don't need it, or because I'm Black?"

We sat down with Wesley to listen to his perspective on mountain biking.

Let's start with who are you and what do you do?

Wesley Ferguson:
My name is Wesley Ferguson. Work-wise, I am the barista manager here at Venture North Bikes Walk and Coffee, which is a non-profit bike and coffee shop here in North Minneapolis. We help to get the youth out on bikes, people on lower income out on bikes, and we accept donations that we refurbish and get back out onto the streets, try to give them a second life. That's what I do for work. I went to school for film at Columbia College in Chicago, so I'm really into movies. Basically, if I'm not riding a bike I'm watching something constantly. So if I'm not doing one of those two things I'm just hanging out with my dog, Harvey.

How'd you get into mountain biking?

Wesley Ferguson:
That was kind of just by accident. I went to school in Chicago, and that's where I really got my start of love of cycling. I was on a fixie or a single-speed constantly. I moved back here after college, and I only had a single-speed. And then the manager of the shop was like, "Well, we have this single-speed mountain bike, try it out." And then I've just been kind of hooked ever since.

My go-to mountain bike right now has been either my All City Electric Queen or my Giant Trance. I've done my own little changes to it so it's no longer the stock version. It's just that frame, really. And I've been riding that, and it's so overkill for here in Minnesota. I don't need a full suspension mountain bike with 12 speeds because, one, I did start on a single-speed.

It was kind of funny. Once I finished everything on that Giant, and put on some SRAM Eagle, which had a 12 speed on it. The day before I was riding my Low Side, which is a fully rigid singlespeed, so I kind of forgot about gears and everyone was making fun of me. They're like, "Dude, you have 12 speeds, shift. You can shift now." I'm like, "Oh, yeah. I don't have to stand up or walk up this rock climb. I can just chill."

It's so overkill. [laughs]

I've never seen that All City Electric Queen before. That thing looks good.

Wesley Ferguson:
It's basically like the Karate Monkey, but without the horizontal dropouts in the rear. It's a thru axle. Plus I run 1x11 and a front fork.

I really just go out there for fun. Me and my friends, we started a YouTube page [Biking with Wesley & Friends-Ed.], and now it's easy to go out there and make new friends. And now we're even more motivated, so I can just use that kind of as an excuse for my second job of like, "I need to go riding, get some more footage. Sorry, I can't hang out guys, bummer."

It's a stress reliever, especially right now in COVID, a great way how to stay in shape and stay active. I just do it to stay happy. We have Theodore Worth Trail, which is less than a mile away from the shop. So at the end of almost every day we just go ride from the shop.

Did you ever do any racing?

Wesley Ferguson:
I used to do some road racing. Racing in general is kind of a weird climate, especially for a Black man because it's not the most inviting environment. It is fun to compete, but it is very intimidating to go there by yourself. You're the only person who looks like you skin color-wise, but then also everyone is dressed up the exact same. You have five people in a row all wearing bright blue. They have the same bike, and their bike cost more than your car.

And you're riding on a hand-me-down bike, which, my hand-me-down bike is great and everything. It's an old Tommaso, full campy Super Record and everything. But at the same time I'm seeing all these guys and thinking, "Dude, you literally walk faster than me because of your helmet design."

The racers are just so uninviting to the sport. You feel like you can't be entry-level without a $10,000 bike. So yeah, I wasn't really trying to get into that too much. But I have been watching just quick Instagram videos of cyclocross races and mountain bike races. And I've always lived in the city and haven't really been able to get out there like that, so now I'm noticing that does look like a completely different animal than what road races are. I've been talking with the Minnesota Cycling Federation and trying to do some work with that to have more representation at races.

In some ways racers' job is to be intimidating.

Wesley Ferguson:
It's more the comments of like, "Oh, how do you afford that bike?"

Is mountain biking that different from road racing in terms of an "inaccessible" vibe?

Wesley Ferguson:
Mountain biking doesn't really seem like it talks to Black communities all that much either, so how are Black people even going to know about it if you're not advertising to their main communities, and how are they going to show up?

It's really expensive too. How are people going to compete when entry fees can be up to like four or $500 dollars sometimes? And then a racing mountain bike can be like $2,000–$3,000 just at the basic level. Like, "Yo, go play basketball. That's just a ball."

The money thing is important for sure, but is it the whole story? Every time anyone talks about race in the mountain bike media, we see comments suggesting that the lack of diversity in the sport is just bikes being too expensive and downplaying any underlying race issues. Is it as simple as that?

Wesley Ferguson:
Whenever someone says, "No, I've never heard of any sort of racism in mountain biking," I ask, "Well, do you talk to Black people? Do they trust you enough to talk to you about racism in mountain biking? Do you mountain bike with them? Are you actually friends with them? Are they real? Are you making this up?"

No. There's so many more barriers (than just bikes being expensive). For example, if we want to ride more "real" trails we kind of have to drive about 30, 40 minutes to really any mountain bike place. And when you leave this area, just know that you're probably not going to see anybody who looks like you for the rest of the day at this mountain bike place. I really challenge every White person, when was the last time that happened, that you went a whole day and you saw nobody who looked like you? That's my reality a lot of the time in mountain biking. That was also my reality growing up in Minnesota and the suburbs of Minnesota. There would be days if my buddy Jared didn't show up to class, it would be like, "Hey, dad. You're the only Black guy that I saw today."


That drive up there to Elm Creek, I did it a couple of weeks ago. The amount of Blue Lives Matters flags and Back our Boys flags that I saw made me uncomfortable. And they'll pull up on their truck with Confederate flags in the back like, "All right, that's great..."

Another example, out on the trail so many people ask me how I got my bike. I tell them I work at a shop. And whenever we see someone on the side we always ask if they need help. I'm usually the one in front, and more often than not the rider on the side of the trail is like, "No, I'm good." And then I'll hear Simon or Ian (who are White) ask behind me, and all of a sudden they need help after all. What the hell? Why couldn't I help? What was wrong with me?

It's the subtly that is really noticed after a while, and when it happens so often—it's not blatant racism, when it's subtle like that you can't help just but question it at all times. So maybe that person didn't avoid my help because I'm Black; they just realized they actually do need help and changed their mind. But after enough times it's hard to give people the benefit of the doubt. I'm still questioning that guy, how can I not question it?

bigquotesJust see how things change when you really find out that other people like you are getting into it—look how many Black people got into comic books after Black Panther came out.Wesley Ferguson

Why do you think we don't see more Black mountain bikers and we do see, for example, Asian mountain bikers and Indo-Canadian mountain bikers? Or maybe that's just a Vancouver thing?

Wesley Ferguson:
I mean money plays a factor, but I think the access, information, and education are the three big things that needs to happen in Black communities. Just, one, have a store that sells mountain bikes that's ready to have that in Black communities, and see how that changes what they're riding. If it's available to them right there, people will buy it. It just literally takes the access, the know-how and the information to do it.

Just see how things change when you really find out that other people like you are getting into it—look how many Black people got into comic books after Black Panther came out. They gave you a dose of it, and Black people realized we can try this thing out. Then people who may have started off on a Black Panther story get into it more. "It was cool and everything, but now I'm actually just reading a random comic book that has nothing to do with Black Panther or Black people, just space aliens or whatever."

The downstream effect of representation has to be huge. The example I'd heard before is that how impactful the Little Mermaid was for red haired kids.

Wesley Ferguson:
I do like how they are making the Little Mermaid Black, and people were mad about that. But if you really want to stick to the original story, then she kills herself in the end.

Also she's a mermaid. She's a fictional character. We're not going for historical accuracy here...

Wesley Ferguson:
I really feel all the problems that we see of racism in society are just concentrated smaller and smaller and smaller in different ways and forms. And so when it comes to the mountain bike community, it's just like it still exists, it may exist in a different form. It's not just violent hate. It's just where is that inclusion? And that all really just starts with the invitations and letting people know what you're doing.

There's a backdrop of bigger issues outside of the mountain bike community, but I don't think anybody in good faith believes it's an either or thing. We can try and fix big-picture problems, but we can also try and improve the mountain bike world and community.

Wesley Ferguson:
It doesn't need to be big and complicated. It can be as simple as finding a high school team and POCs that need your old frame. Give somebody the start to at least get them into it. If you have a friend with young kids who ride bikes, tell them about mountain biking and about how much of a positive experience it can be—mountain biking will keep so many kids out of trouble and doing dumb stuff.

Really introduce them and maybe they will introduce somebody else. It's just kind of that string effect because it's a fun sport and not enough Black people do it.

You gotta have Black friends to be able to loan your Black friend a mountain bike though...

Wesley Ferguson:
Maybe we need that weird celebrity endorsement. Black people weren't playing golf until Tiger Woods, really. There was a huge boom with that. Go look at a tennis court now, see how many Black girls are there. If Kendrick Lamar does a song about singletrack...

Someone's got to know how we can get Kendrick a bike.

bigquotesIt's not always just cheering for anyone Black. I do go for ideas or skill, but at the end I see the struggle that they have gone through to get to this point and I recognize it, so I am cheering for them.

Do you think that if you had seen more Black pro mountain bikers that you would have come to the sport earlier?

Wesley Ferguson:
Yeah. I live in Minnesota. I own three hockey jerseys, and they're all Black hockey players. It's kind of like the unwritten rule like, "Yo, I'm cheering for anybody Black," kind of thing.

It's not always just cheering for anyone Black. I do go for ideas or skill, but at the end I see the struggle that they have gone through to get to this point and I recognize it, so I am cheering for them.

Biking is such a healthy hobby already. Obviously riding is healthy, but even just getting to the level of when you feel comfortable tinkering on your bike, having those hand skills, it does positive things for your brain and gives you a sense of accomplishment, no matter what you do on your bike. "Yeah, I just torqued-down this stem correctly. Hell, yeah. I'm going to go drink a beer now."

A huge part of growing up for me was working in a shop and getting the confidence of knowing, "Oh, yeah, I can work on this bike. Yeah, that's a $10K bike, sure, but I know how to do this. I'm not going to scratch it. It's okay."

Wesley Ferguson:
Our head mechanic built a $10,000 bike for a customer, and then he goes, "All right, Wesley, you get to ride it. You get to test ride it." I'm like, "What? That means I'm responsible if it breaks..."

Thanks for sitting down and talking with us today. Anything else you want to say to the Pinkbike community?

Wesley Ferguson:
I hope that COVID is done ASAP so we can all do a big, dumb, after-COVID ride together. At this point I feel like I've been doing a lot of bike advocacy just in Minneapolis. And then my voice is just now actually somewhat being heard thanks to Surly and y'all and just other people that I feel like we will be able to have a giant mountain bike festival once COVID is up. After COVID, everybody at Pinkbike that's going to read this, we're going to meet in some backyard for a mountain bike festival. We will.

You can follow Wesley's Youtube channel Biking with Wesley & Friends, his Instagram @bikingwithwesley, and the shop he works at Venture North Bikes Walk and Coffee.

A note on the comments section

Pinkbike's new community guidelines aren't quite ready for prime time. So in in the meantime this is the tl;dr: don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted. Don’t deadname or misgender trans people. Don’t mischaracterize or discuss in bad faith. Do be constructive and welcoming. Do try to see things from others’ perspective.

We value freedom of speech in society, and we will always remain a place that encourages unvarnished, critical discussion, but Pinkbike is not a government and we will moderate this community as necessary.

Author Info:
brianpark avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2010
217 articles

  • 388 55
 Thanks for pursuing and publishing stories like this, PB. You'll get some hate from folks that don't want their comfortable bubble burst, but it's worth the pain to keep expanding the big tent of cycling. Kudos.
  • 67 7
 Hoping to see some of the growing number of organizations looking to grow the diversity in our sport join forces. For anyone looking for a related tangent, check out Grow Cycling Foundation, founded by DH Pro Eliot Jackson
  • 115 109
 "I really challenge every White person, when was the last time that happened, that you went a whole day and you saw nobody who looked like you? "

I'm white and I rarely get a mtb ride with other white people.. because only one of my mtbing friend is white, everyone else isn't lol. And for the record none of us care of each other's skin color. I'm sure it's not the case for many here, but the US is a big country. I found this article to be in fact, inciting racial division, which I believe is bad. Downvote away, live in your bubbles!
  • 41 15
 @p1nkbike: tell us about how this incites racism
  • 31 13
 @p1nkbike: Please explain how this article incited racial division?
  • 2 1
 @teddancin: shoot. After writing and re-writing my response 5x we ended up with the same question. Will try to delete mine. edit. Can you delete on this forum?
  • 21 3
 @mtallman2: Yeah I just listened to Elliot discuss Grow Cycling on Downtime podcast... as well as the landscape of race in MTB... To me the biggest foundational idea is that America is segregated in practice, which sounds crazy to say but this is the nature of the problem... actually integrating people is so valuable and is so challenging on several levels. But as we know from many sports, nothing brings people together like a common passion and a community with purpose i.e.: more riding, more fun on bikes, more trail access. I don't think economic and social stratification will magically become more healthy just because a million non-white people take up mountain biking, but you better believe it would be a step in the right direction, and the summation of factors is what ultimately creates real change
  • 4 0
  • 20 13
 @p1nkbike: which "bubbles" are you referring to? Are you trying to say that there are only small pockets where lack of diversity is a problem in mountain biking? Do yourself a favor and look into why being "colorblind" is actually problematic. People should acknowledge other people's skin color and that their struggle may be different than yours.
  • 6 6
 @FatSanch: at the same time, being so obsessed with race that it
  • 13 12
 @FatSanch: What is wrong with being ‘colorblind’ and ALSO recognizing that any person can have struggles different than yours?
  • 13 3
 @bchampig: If you acknowledge that a person struggles due to the color of their skin, then you aren't being "colorblind."
  • 5 7
 @FatSanch: I said “any person” meaning all colors.
  • 6 3
 @bchampig: I'm honestly failing to understand your position here. Are you saying everyone has struggles, and they are all equal?
  • 14 16
 @FatSanch: I’m saying don’t presume things about anyone regardless of the color of their skin....treat people the same. Be colorblind. You could meet a black man who was born with a silver spoon, or a white guy that was born into a horrible life.
  • 11 10
 @FatSanch: Go through this guys comments. Not worth your time replying to. Lots of "X is too woke for me" comments. Just wants to die ignorant.
  • 9 5
 @bchampig: I think I see the good intention beneath your words and agree that we should strive for a world where we're healed of racism, and people can experience true equality. But the part that it sounds like you might be missing is how we're not there yet; racism still exists, and the colours of our skins still.make a big difference in our lives.To make the world equal for all, and dismantle racism, we need to see colour for what it is and everything it means.
  • 10 7
 @bchampig: You are right in some respects. It is also true that wealth is not spread equally amongst the races. With a sample the size of either my or your country if there was equal economic opportunity between races there would be an equal distribution of wealth. Because there is not an equal distribution of wealth there must be some sort of systemic bias for white people to be richer than black people. Until that is changed it doesn't matter how you see or treat others there is an invisible hand making white people have an easier time. We need to remove that invisible hand. Being colour blind on an individual level is right but on a systemic level that only allows the status quo to continue. It can be true that you are not a racist and in no way harm other individuals directly while you are supporting a system that ensures less opportunity for minority communities.
  • 9 14
flag npinder2002 (Oct 24, 2020 at 10:40) (Below Threshold)
 Who TF is downvoting this. Fuck you. This is a very good thing.
  • 16 8
 @teddancin: The first impression which I got from just glancing at the text was that author is constantly preoccupied with that matter. That quote directly confirms the fact that he is determined to believe that majority of "White persons" are programmed to be bad towards him. So how on Earth someone with such attitude can help to reduce racism? I mean I know that US is weird country so maybe it is the only suitable way for them, but in any civilized country that would be classified as "inciting racial division" indeed.
  • 13 1
 @milkdrop: I wonder what sort of life experiences have informed that view he has.
  • 25 2
 @milkdrop: One of the main problems currently is people not believing POC's when they talk about what they are experiencing. Any article on PB about race gets torn apart. Its OK to just read their opinion and think about it. It seems any time POC's talk about race, they are gaslighted by people saying its not a problem. I don't agree with every word that he spoke, but I am going to think about everything he said and try to improve what I can do in my life to welcome POC's into the community. Looking back, I myself did a lot of racist or unwelcoming shit, but I never recognized it as that, because I hadn't listened to POC voices about WHAT constitutes unwelcoming or racist. We have a great community, but it can be SO much better. Its not an accident that the community is mostly white.
  • 6 1
 @ptrcarson: That is a really excellent question.
  • 5 2
 @npinder2002: What did you do that was racist or unwelcoming that you didn't realize?
  • 27 2
 @gally-nh: I was a big supporter of 'Bro' culture. Bro culture is super unwelcoming to women and BIPOC folks a lot of the time, but not because we meant it to be. Its just intimidating. I also love doing funny accents, among a long list of other things. Some of the slang I used was pretty racist but I didn't know it. I made fun of Indiginous culture a lot, because my Indigenous friends did it, so I though it was ok. I questioned the life experience of BIPOC people. Basically all the things you read in this thread, that was my mindset. Non of it was intentionally racist, but it all adds up to unwelcoming and shitty for BIPOC folks. It was SUPER uncomfortable questioning these things within myself, since I'm not a racist guy inside. But it don't matter whats inside if I do things all day long that are shitty for BIPOC folks. I was 100% in the "grow a thicker skin, snowflake" camp.
  • 16 1
 @gally-nh: Also, I'm not suggesting the folks writing those comments are crappy people. Just that there is a lot of room for growth. I've been there, I didn't mean any harm. But I was causing harm anyway.
  • 5 5
 @JayUpNorth: I have a different opinion than you, so I’m not worth having a discussion with? So tolerant of you.
  • 8 1
 @bchampig: I think you missed the point @JayUpNorth was making. It sounded to me like he was saying you make broad generalities to write off opinions of people that disagree with you. Anyone that uses the term Woke in the way he quoted you doing so is guilty of that. It is not worth the time talking with folks that write off different opinions in that way and call it discussion.
  • 18 9
 @bchampig: When you say "any person matters" and "i don't see color" in an article like this it just shows that you are not ready to have a grown up conversation about race in North America. Might as well have said All Lives Matter. At this point in 2020, anyone spouting this bullshit isn't worth talking too. This will be my last response to you. Maybe you should watch this www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K5fbQ1-zps
  • 12 27
flag Curse-of-the-foot-long-sub (Oct 24, 2020 at 20:11) (Below Threshold)
 "im pretty much just cheering for anyone black"
sounds fine doesnt it
"im pretty much cheering for anyone white"
*gasp!* a racist!!

and hating on the blue lives matter? wtf man
  • 14 5
 @Curse-of-the-foot-long-sub: have you ever been in a city where a police officer died in service? Blue lives have always mattered. It is an unnecessary slogan that only exists to pushback against BLM. As for the hockey player, if you’ve ever been in a hockey crowd where there is a POC on the opposing team, you know those guys deserve extra support for pushing through all the barriers and abuse.
  • 8 17
flag Curse-of-the-foot-long-sub (Oct 24, 2020 at 23:53) (Below Threshold)
 @JayUpNorth So because a local police officer hasn't died in service (which mate, one has) we shouldn't support a movement that helps protect the people who's lives revolve around helping others??
Anyone who speaks against all policemen deserves to encounter hate themselves
  • 9 2
 @p1nkbike: You are focusing on one moment in your day. That's great that you ride with a bunch of non-white folks. Wesley is pointing out that he can go all day as the only person of color in his world. That is incredibly isolating. If you feel like Wesley's comments are racially divisive, are you really listening to his experience? Have you ever been in that situation? It's incredibly hard for a white American to actually experience that.
  • 9 18
flag TylerD119 (Oct 25, 2020 at 5:46) (Below Threshold)
 @Shep77: how is that incredibly isolating?! Unless you're a racist, skin color doesn't matter. That's why this article is racist and hot garbage.

I know how we can fix it. Have mountain bike companies advertise to every race. They could make ads for every race, distinguishing them from every other race, so they know they're wanted. The only way we can get rid of racism is to make sure we recognize every race and pander to them.

See how dumb that sounds. Gtfo with this woke snowflake gibberish.
  • 10 5
 @Curse-of-the-foot-long-sub: woosh dude woosh. they have always had public support. Are they helping all people equally? If the police organization publicly condemned and got rid of the bad apples, well fine. There will always be bad apples. But when they protect them, you know there is systematic problems. I'm for de-funding the police. Not disbanding, just a little bit smaller budget than they have and increasing the budget of other front line workers. Police are not the people we should be sending to mental health crisis, send a health care professional. Put money into legalising and producing safer drugs. Put money into more prevention and better mental health care so people don't need police as much. If you think I deserve hate after reading that, I don't give a f*ck.
  • 8 6
 Who are the ass hats who downvoted this comment??

To the guy who thinks this spurs racial division, get outta here and do some soul searching and fact finding based in the real work and not your little riding group. This interview only shines a light on the racial divisions that exist in the sport, even if you riding group is blind to its privilege's does not mean it is made up.
  • 16 1
 @Curse-of-the-foot-long-sub: re the difference between black people cheering for black people and white people cheering for white people, you're mischaracterizing what he said. Wesley literally explains in the next sentence that he doesn't just cheer for black people but it's his understanding of their shared struggle that makes him want to support other black people.

There's plenty worth discussing here, but you aren't having this discussion in good faith.
  • 4 2
 @npinder2002: Preach brother! That is such an important point that most of us aren't actively racist, but almost all of us suffer from internalized racism growing up during the war on drugs, etc. A couple years ago I caught myself not wanting to sit next to a black teenager on public transit and couldn't come up with any logical reason why. Paying attention to subconscious cues and admitting to yourself that you have internalized racism is the first step to making a change.
  • 4 1
 @brianpark: Cheers Brian. Appreciate you wading in, its not easy.
  • 3 0
 @FatSanch: Yeah man thanks! Growing as a person is super uncomfortable. Its really hard to just listen to stuff you might disagree with and analyze it anyway, and learn. I think its a really hard year for people to do that, since we are all very uncomfortable for various reasons at the moment.
  • 282 1
 I am a bicycle rider. I happen to be black. I just want to ride my bicycle and be known as a bicycle rider. Thank you.
  • 102 46
 Seriously, you're simply a rider just like everyone else who loves to shred. Describing someone as a "black rider" seems strange to me. Bringing mtb accessibility to more low income communities is an awesome idea, race doesn't really have anything to do with it since you'll find all colors.
  • 58 54
 @DylanH93: "Race doesn't have anything to do with it"?

Read the article man.
  • 64 2
 My skin is brown too, but people don't have to look like me to inspire me. Loads of "white" and "black" female athletes inspire me as much as white and "black" male do (and anything in between or in transition). ACC is a legend full stop, Kate Weatherly impresses me with her determination to go ahead against injury and comment sections, Ryan Leech inspires me with his skills and good vibes. None of them are anything like me from the outside, but I don't care.

But that's me. Wesley has a different experience and I respect that. The deal of people not accepting his help just plain sucks. I'm not even sure whether I have experienced anything like that. Maybe I have but I'm just too blind to notice as luckily I'm surrounded by so many more positive and respectful people. If someone is being a dick then that's fine, I can move on without them, no stress.

But again, that's me. If too many people are being dicks then it does feel unwelcoming. Which is a shame if that drives you away from something you'd otherwise love to do.

So the moral of the story everyone: don't be a dick. Thank you.
  • 22 3
 @DirkMcClerkin: Perhaps it is a bit of a woosh, but from what I got from the article there are 4 sources of friction here: 1. MTB is expensive. This affects everyone whether you're a poor kid from the city or country. 2. Access to trails. There may be some racial bias here, but is likely not the dominant factor. People drive far to do things they love and *feel comfortable* doing. 3. (now we're getting to the meat) That MTB companies market towards the current representation of the sport, creating a vicious cycle that leaves POC under/unrepresented. Then lastly, 4. that there are hateful racists in this country, ranging from the rider passing on help from Wesley while taking it from a white guy to the coal-rolling confederate flag-flying wingnut. @DylanH93 can't impact 1-3 themself, but at least it sounds like they don't fall into #4. Let's call a win a win.
  • 36 7
 There's been a shift starting, roughly, in mid-to-late millennials - mostly concentrated in college educated demographics - away from a "colorblind" ideal to reifying and essentializing race through pop-social science theories such as intersectionality, etc. Your view - of which I agree - is more along the lines of the colorblind ideal and is increasingly considered antiquated and out of fashion, unfortunately. I feel bad for young folks growing up in the current environment which invariably frames the world in an inescapably bleak and divisive racial landscape.
  • 63 66
 @burnermtb: the majority of wealth in western society, that I as a white man live on, was built on the backs of Black bodies. AKA unpaid slave labor of kidnapped Africans. 400 years of the most brutal chattel slavery in recorded history. When we have addressed and repaired that debt we can start to talk about a "colorblind" ideal.
  • 44 24
 @teddancin: rehashing the past over and over will definitely lead to zero resentment. It's like a relationship, make sure to keep bringing up problems from the past and it's sure to flourish..
  • 29 39
flag teddancin (Oct 23, 2020 at 15:17) (Below Threshold)
 @DylanH93: ok but do you deny that the wealth of this country was built on the backs of enslaved Africans? Do you think that's been addressed in a meaningful way?
  • 17 2
 Thanks for saying that @EVYJR. I have never divided riders up by color. To be honest, when I meet new riders, I often remember them by the make and model of their mountain bike :-)
  • 22 13
 Sounds good to me!

Where I live the majority of mtbers I bike with aren't actually white (in fact its just 2 of us being white). I don't care. They don't care. We just like mtbing. Labeling what you can do or not do, who gets a job, who gets funding, etc. by skin color is IMO what is racist, and yes, part of this PB article does this, and yes, more and more people agree with that mentality - I don't think I ever will.
  • 53 25
 @teddancin: No it's not. If it is, you need to prove it instead of giving us the standard narrative. (This just in: The NYT 1619 Project went down in flames.)

As far as the kidnapping goes, blacks were sold into western slavery by other blacks. IOW until the 20th century and modern medicine, whites didn't last too long in tropical Africa running around kidnapping people.

FTM the West abolished slavery, yet it still continues to this day in African, Arab and Asian countries.

Not only that, we got more Africans immigrating to America/the West than ever before. Why is that?
Because we're racist? Or they have more economic opportunity here than back home?

This is a mtb site. Let's stick to mtb instead of indulging in the latest progressive sociological fairy tales.

  • 60 10
 @teddancin: aaah dipshit you did nothing wrong. stop with the white guilt, you mignt want to look into the Ottoman Empire, here "more whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United states or the 13 Colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire decades after blacks were freed. Ottoman was over in 1922. When western slavery started they were 600 years too late. Slavery was already going from 7 century to the 17 century. OH YEAH i'm an old black Norba DH'r from the days of Shaums. we just jput our helmets on and road hard. THINGS were expensive back then. You know wnat we did,work harder for bike parts. I never knew I was black on a bike.
This is your history lesson for today. I can go deeper but will not.

That is the way.
  • 12 25
flag teddancin (Oct 23, 2020 at 16:11) (Below Threshold)
 @bsdn06: who do you think did all the work on plantations in the antebellum south? Do you think they were paid and willing workers?

As for abolishing slavery... debatable. The 14th amendment is AOK with using prisoners as slaves.

Africans, and lots of other people from the global south are immigrating because western colonialism has ruined their economies and environment. Gotta go where a living is possible.
  • 17 9
 @bsdn06: so it’s not a kidnapping or a problem if both parties are black?

Also, just because there is economic opportunity here doesn’t mean there’s no systemic racism. Perhaps it’s better here than the nations being fled, but do you really think that means there aren’t issues we can/should strive to address?

For the record, I live in a city where white people are the minority. I can not recall the last time I saw a black MTBer.
  • 22 19
 @teddancin: Stop changing the focus: "the majority of wealth in western society, that I as a white man live on, was built on the backs of Black bodies."

You might as well tell us the majority of mtbers are jerks.
OK some are, but the majority?

IOW rein in the liberal progressive white guilt, please.
The West is far from perfect, but it isn't and never was as bad as the usual suspects keep telling us it is.
  • 7 0
 @chrscshly: Back in those days at Plattekill it was a super diverse group of people racing and everyone loved each other like family. Ahhh, the good ole days. We gettin old...
  • 19 21
 @bsdn06: the majority of mtbers are pretty great in my experience! I rarely feel uncomfortable. Tall white guy that I am.

The main idea I'm trying to convey is that you can't fix systematic racism by saying "I'm colorblind" or "its all in the past".

It's not in the past. It's here and it needs to be repaired.
  • 5 0
That guy is such a badass rider. I remember the video of him bunnyhopping an Ellsworth Dare onto a picnic table back in '96.
  • 17 18
 @teddancin: who started the slave trade. Not America. So stop blaming America
  • 2 0

I can’t remember names, but when you show up on a 2 tone green and red SWORKS Enduro with a modded Pike and a DT SWISS hubs.... REMEMBERED FOR LIFE!
  • 26 7
 @teddancin: The problem with your 'main idea' is it's blatantly false. The 1619 Project that you're parroting is bullshit and plenty of Black historians have said so themselves. If you think our wealth is due entirely to slavery you've got a lot of loose ends to tie up with countries who imported more slaves and kept them longer than we did and still turned out dirt poor. Not to mention you'll need to explain why the slavery-loving Confederacy is now a collection of broken welfare states-- might have something to do with the opportunity cost they paid in depending on an evil, inefficient system of production while the north built up proper industry, which is the actual source of our wealth.

Aggrandizing the crimes of the past won't atone for your sin of being born white. Move forward and stop reveling in guilt. Go take some black kids on a bike ride.
  • 6 2
 @EVYJR I'd like to see that too, however, the reality of it is that there's still room for improvement and learning in the community before we can get to that point, as exemplified in this article. Looking at the majority of responses in this comments section is refreshing though. I'm confident that that the larger part of the mountain biking community is intent on change and we will get there eventually ????
  • 17 9
 Ty, pb needed to hear this. Its sad/funny when snowflakes think they are wiping their conscious from guilt. The reality is these white liberals hangout with whiter groups that conservatives or independents. Then lecture us on how racist we all are while unknowingly being racist. I mean only woke white liberals can save the poor people of color. Why? Because you have white privilege? Don't know understand how racist that whole concept is. I hope someday we get to look back at these bootlickers and laugh.
  • 12 8
 @Fishoholics: That’s not how anything works. Americans bought the slaves, that makes them pieces of shit just like the ones that sold them. How in the world do people like you try to justify terrible acts for some fake nationalism?!
  • 8 13
flag Fishoholics (Oct 24, 2020 at 6:27) (Below Threshold)
 @dualsuspensiondave: You really going to play that card. I bet you support China’s slaves by buying Chinese products nonstop. So you’re supporting slave labor while hating on America. People like you are clueless to life. Just jump on band wagons cause you’re a sheep. You know all colored people in this world were slaves. Get a brain not repeat you’re liberal agenda to everyone.
  • 7 0
 100% agree. It's demeaning if someone points out my race. I'm just a biker.
  • 41 6
 @DylanH93: This is the truth. I'm a black mountain biker, and I can promise you I don't give a flying f*ck what color my skin is while I'm out riding, and nobody who I'm riding with does either. Am I saying there no racist mountain bikers? I don't know and I don't care. What I can say for sure is the vast majority aren't at all racist, It's like Wesley wants other bikers to specifically care about him because he is black. Judging by the video of this guy wobbling down a green trail, I wouldn't care to ride with him because he is a joey, not because he's black. Get good and other good riders will gravitate to you, same as anything. I grew up in Indianapolis I didn't even know what a mountain bike was so I ended up riding BMX, I came into MTB from BMX in my late 20s and I have found mountain bikers to be extremely welcoming and friendly. Why do I need to see another black person who "looks like me" to go for a bike ride? We are all out in the woods doing the same thing. The whole premise of this article just looks weak and emotional to me, the political sins of the past are NOT the responsibility of mountain bikers to fix. I can get behind getting inner city kids out in the woods doing something positive, but it should be left at that. The mountain bike community is far from racist. And if somebody doesn't want your help go shred, what does that have to do with you?
  • 17 11
 @jbrown8777: hey dude I'm really glad that you feel like you can be black and be a part of the community without experiencing racism. Sadly, your experience isn't universal. What you see as weak and emotional, I see as strong and emotional. We can have different, equally valid experiences of the same thing.
  • 9 2
 @teddancin: this country was built on the backs of many cultures and races. No one's saying the past was fair and peachy, tons of f*cked up shit happened. That's why we learn so much about the mistakes in school, so we can move forward. There's no benefit to rehashing it over and over, the damage is done. But luckily these days, regardless of your skin color you have plenty od opportunities and a community who will respect you. That's about as much as we can ask for. All cultures have been f*cked in the past, how are we ever going to figure that all out? My family is mainly Latvian and we got f*cked by the Russians, then Germans, then Russians a few more times. Should I be demanding that Russia and Germany pay me for the damages they did to people who are no longer alive??
  • 7 5
 Sorry chap you are not allowed to be just a bicycle rider in 2020. You have to indentify as either a white bicycle rider or a black bicycle rider.
  • 4 3
 @Fishoholics: No, I don’t buy anything from another continent if I don’t have to. I’m not a right wing Walmart dweller. You just called people “colored people”. So racist it’s ridiculous! It’s not being a sheep, it’s called being a good human being and standing up for the truth. Something your delusional leader is completely against. By the way it’s “your” not “you’re”.
  • 4 10
flag Fishoholics (Oct 25, 2020 at 6:59) (Below Threshold)
 @dualsuspensiondave: everyOne is colored, stop being a whining cry baby. Wow, I mispelled a word. Obviously, you’re a sheep. The truth is, you’re a sheep and let people think for you. Your mindset is your issue, just people for issues. To make yourself fell like a good human. You’re one of the not my president type,, when he is your president. Who is delusional now! Go tell white people that owe a different colored skin person, Cause they’re white. You’re the closet racist.
  • 4 9
flag Fishoholics (Oct 25, 2020 at 7:06) (Below Threshold)
 @dualsuspensiondave: white, brown, black are colors. You’re just looking to start issues. I’m native Americans. You don’t hear me whining about white people. You’re a coward and a punk. You let others control, the way you think!
  • 3 10
flag Fishoholics (Oct 25, 2020 at 7:09) (Below Threshold)
 @dualsuspensiondave: one more thing fella, Donald Trump, your president. Has done more for America, than you ever will. Keep hating little one. You showed your heart is full of hate
  • 9 2
 @highcountrydh: I never knew I was black in Norba days. I was born in the Caribbean and had a burning desire to race 2 wheels, then MTB appeared. I saved my money and immigrated to N.Y. Became a messenger in the late 80's. Ran porfolios out of the Trump Tower. Trump 2020. Met Doug Hatfield in Vermount and he said he would help me out if I head to Mammoth. I did. I CAN go on and on about my journey. too many white people, Asian people, white South Africans, Mexicans that rode bikes together as one big happy family and we never thought about this diversity bullshit. if you have a burning desire to persue your dreams, you will do it. I'm still living my dream here in the HIGH SIERRA @ 54yrs barrelling down 12 MILE decents. Forced Diversity leads to Etho cultures.

keep the rubber side down.
  • 4 4
 @jlf1200: aaah very good.Funny how that dipshit above did not even reply to my valid bullit points (white guilt liberal). Amazing he parroting the 1619 project without mentioning Trumps 1776 project and crushing C.R.T. 6% of the 13% commits 50% of the crimes. those little blacks kids might steal your shit. lol

I,m a black immigrant to the greatest country in the world and not a shit hole country.

Idiots like him will not believe in "land confiscation without compensation" that has been going on in S,A for about 10 yrs now.

Keep the rubber side down
  • 1 0
 @mcozzy: I think you are forgetting the many other preceding titles to clearly indicate where one stands in the power grid ascribed by intersectionality. Each identifier either strengths or weakens the voice.
  • 1 2
 @dualsuspensiondave: Can you please go back through the rest of the comments and correct the other instances where it doesn’t use Person Centered Language, such as a “black rider.” It does seems that most of those who are using that term are black and don’t seem to have issue with POC vs colored people.
There is a moving target in the language wars today. For example Webster labeling “Preference” as ‘dangerous.’ Tomorrow your PC response will be labeled bigoted too.
  • 4 2
 @jbrown8777: I'm an old black Norba racer who immigrated to the US from the Carribean who never knew he was black. I never knew about diversity in the 80's 90's. I race with and against guys like Pistol Pete, Shaums, Insane wayne Crossdale, 2 Jewish guys, 2 Simons from S.A and I'M still buddies with these guys. All we did was drink beer and kept the rubber side down. I think he people to care because he is slow. lol a black Joey.I did not watch the video. I knew what these things are about usually. I saw the Title and skip over it. The MTB family is about keeping the rubber side down.

PS if you live close to Whistler BC BIKE PARK. i hate you. lol. I love it up there for the riding.
  • 8 0
 @chrscshly: Hahaha, I'm 10 yrs behind you in age but we got a lot in common. I too was a bike messenger but up in Boston in the mid 90's to early 00's. Used to go to Mt Snow in the late 90's to camp at Haystack, party and watch dual slalom and the infamous Yardsale section of the DH. Started racing in 01 and learned how brutal the rest of that course was! Formed a three person team (Los Changos) consisting of my friends Gerardo, Howie, and me. Mexican, black and white. We never thought about each other in terms of race though, just friends who rode and raced bikes together. Laughing thinking about how pissed Howie would be if someone referred to him as a "black" bike rider! The races at Plattekil in the early 00's were super diverse, crews coming up from NYC, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New England. Blacks, whites, Asian, Hispanic whatever didn't matter. We were downhillers and we stuck together. Saved camp spots for each other, helped with each other's bikes, rode together, drank beer and smoked weed together...family. met Shaums in 04 at Snowshoe national after Howie and I drove overnight (12) hrs to get there from Boston. Talked to him a bit and told him I needed to get to practice, he told me I should get some sleep instead! Shoulda listened to him! Has shit reallly gone backwards from then? Feel like all this crap is getting pushed by 20 somethings that think everything should be given to them instead of having to work hard for things, and politicians who push the narrative of racial divide to further their agenda and it's not the dude the media blames for that. If you and I didn't cross paths back in the day and slam a beer, maybe we will in the future!

Rubber side down to you too bro!
  • 4 2
 @highcountrydh: wow your story almost brought a tear to my eye. To see 2 different people following along the same exact path of cycling. I still have my bike locks and my green Manhattan messenger bag. All the messengers were different and we all got along in an organic lifestyle. The politicians are trying to divide us.Sounds like your buddies were the same friends of mine. PPJ sandwiches, duck tape and chicken wire to make it to the next race. Sleeping in Parking lots hugging your bike with other riders sharing everything and bumming rides to the next race. Pros experts intermediates and beginners all hanging together. I had some lesbian girlfriends who were reall good riders who showed up at all the races. We all got along together, Snoqualmie, Mt Bachelor, Mammoth, Big Bear, Deer valley, Beckenridge to name a few. We probably crossed each other and don't even know it. Wow.
  • 1 0
 @chrscshly: thanks for the good conversation bro! If ya ever end up in Breckenridge again, hit me up!
  • 4 1
 @teddancin: if you spend some time studying philosophy, one of the most fundamental debates (to the point of being cliched) is the concept of free will/agency. Do we have it? Most say no which means that as a technical matter, you don't have agency. And this is, probably, technically true. So in that sense, the majority (actually 100%) of everything today was "built" by conditions which preceded us, going back to, well, the big bang.

However, none of this is original or particularly interesting to anyone except for a smattering of 20 somethings taking bong hits in their dorm lounges. That's because, even if it's true, it does not negate agency. Agency was never meant to be taken literally. It's a practical organizing principle that is necessitated by pragmatic considerations. In other words, common sense. If you get drunk and drive a car, causing an accident, you're responsible for that irrespective of the fact that perhaps you picked up this bad habit by observing your alcoholic parent as a child.

The most salient point is that your entire framing - which attempts to "repair" the past through collective justice/punishment - is inherently flawed. You will never succeed in your quest to "right" history. The only things we have which we have any hope of changing are the present and the future and pre-conditioning improving the future by first fixing the past is really just an excuse not to improve things. The past is instructive, sure, but inflexible. One thing we know from the past is that the reification and essentializing of race is a VERY bad way in which to organize humans. Race is perhaps the easiest, and therefore most dangerous, way in which to trigger our most base instincts - primarily because it's easily observable. It's so observable, in fact, that it even overcomes the incoherence of race at the technical level.

Lots of social, as well as empirical, study demonstrates that our entire concept of "race" breaks down at the genetic level - particularly because of now centuries of inter-racial mixing. Yet despite this, "race" - as your post alludes - is felt and perceived at a very deep level at the mere observation of another human being. Setting it as your position that we must indulge in dangerous race essentialism until you, personally, feel satisfied that the past has been fixed (an impossibility) will, if widely adopted, set race relations back by centuries.
  • 3 0
 @burnermtb: To me this makes most sense of anything posted in this thread (which indeed implies my own posts, but more on that later). Either way, in line with what you said here that it cannot be overemphasized how dangerous and destructive such a quest would (and sadly has proven to) be. More than a few big wars only this and this past century have been fought over "setting things straight". Learn from the past, fix what is now and make the future as good as it can be.

As for people telling about their own experiences and thought, I'd hope this place is more than safe enough for people to speak up. Whether you have experienced discrimination or the polar opposite. Whether you are (or at least perceive yourself) as very tolerant or indeed feel that you don't want this or that on "your" trails. And (within limits) don't request people to hold back on their opinion because it doesn't match "what needs to be told right now". I'm POC and my experiences have been (really) good overall and some others on here have felt the same. It is ok to say so then. On the other hand if you do feel discriminated, that's ok to tell too. Same with the experiences and perceptions of "white" people on here (I personally hate the distinction white/black as it feels more polarizing). Just tell. To be honest I'd be interested to read views from the riders (if any) who do find themselves discriminating. Not to downvote or anything (far from it) but to actually find out how comes and what can be done. If we can talk, we might actually get somewhere.
  • 4 1
 @vinay: Agreed. Like you, I welcome all voices. Some trends have emerged in this area though that are disturbing. Namely, the legitimacy rank ordering of voices on the basis of crude racial and other stereotypes which typically comes in the form of "white" voice (less legitimate) and POC or __aggrieved group (more legitimate). There's so much wrong with it. For one, even if we accept the premise that a POC is, per se, "marginalized" while the "white" person is, per se, "privileged" (as this framing suggests) the presumption that someone marginalized has a more legitimate voice is entirely baseless. While it "feels" correct, it wholly breaks down on closer inspection.

Say you oppose the death penalty and want to commission a panel to assess whether or not to keep it in your State. One could take the position that surviving family members of murder victims are "closer" to the issue of capital punishment and therefore you should make the panel entirely consist of surviving family members of murder victims. But this panel would be, of course, flawed (or at least biased). Being "closer" to a problem actually - and frequently - creates its own biases, over-sensitivities, problems, etc. Being further removed from a problem often allows for more objectivity. BOTH views are legitimate.

Put another way, simply because you accept a person as a victim does not translate into infallibility nor does accepting a person as privileged translate into inherently flawed. Neither status shields you from the human experience. A a highly privileged "white" person can be right on racism just as much as a highly marginalized POC can be wrong on it. And this is setting aside the obvious critique that oppressor/oppressed narratives are juvenile and crude. More often than not, it's not about right or wrong, it's about complexity.

For example, the author of this piece relies heavily on his feelings of discomfort in being in majority white spaces or seeing "blue lives matter" signs and asks white people to critique how they'd feel if it were reversed. There should be a voice for that concern. At the same time, if it is just accepted at face value with no critique, what has been accomplished? I mean, white people are a majority (though declining) in the US and obviously in cycling.

What, precisely, can or even should be done about that anymore than any other "majority" in any other country, sport, etc.? Is the author suggesting that the mere existence of majorities is "problematic"? Is the entire history of civilization problematic then? Does this apply to majority Chinese, Japanese, Nepalese, Indian, female, etc. communities? Letting these critiques go unchallenged helps nobody - particularly because I think the author is setting up an unhealthy metric by which to gauge racism.

I think everyone in the modern political climate would be greatly benefitted by the practice of "steel-manning" (the opposite of straw manning). Take a deep dive into the opposing view's strongest, not weakest, arguments. It is an excellent path towards self-improvement. Siloing yourself in self-reinforcing circles makes one weak, lazy, and unhappy.
  • 1 0
 Thank you!
  • 91 9
 I feel the cost issue, while valid, cannot be targeted to race alone. Plenty of people of all races in lower income and even moderate incomes who struggle with the cost of equipment-based hobbies like MTB. That said, as Wes notes, you can have fun on any level of bike. To assume the stereotype 'all black people are poor' and "all white folks are rich" is doing a disservice to the cause. It's mainly an exposure issue honestly. Wes even notes that for golf, which isn't cheap by any means. I will await my down votes and beat down...
Rubber side down folks.
  • 17 2
 I def think your comment and what Wes said can coexist. I read the interview as his own experience as Black and growing up without too much money, not that he speaks for all Black or all low income peeps. There are plenty of access obstacles to MTB'ing for all kinds of people, and I think it's ok if he's just focusing on the slice that he's most familiar with.

Then hopefully that contributes in some part to solving the issues for people more broadly too? Not really sure how it all works out, but I guess it seems more realistic for me to tackle a small portion of the problem than try to take on the whole beast.
  • 52 5
 The thing is, there are other outdoor sports that really don’t cost much money. However, you see the same lack of diversity there. For instance, if you want to go hiking, you just need some boots and a backpack. So I’d say there have to be other reasons to explain the lack of diversity. Maybe cultural factors?
  • 44 0
 Voice from Russia - yes, I read Pinkbike nearly everyday and I can't associate myself with people who seriously write like "yeah such awesome value 4000$ bike" while I'm not feeling poor or something, we just live in another world here, lol. And mountain bikers in Indonesia for example probably also have different perspective (I was just searching Dartmoor Primal photos, like mine, and found out that they are popular in Indonesia and they have cool trails there).

So, Wesley's story is awesome and it's good to see it and I hope all this thing will go beyond USA society problems. World is big, diverse and a full of places to ride! Peace and Love for everyone!
  • 16 2
 @cvoc: hiking still requires travel to get to good spots. If you're growing up poor in the inner city, parents at work all day, good luck getting up to the mountains. If anything skateboarding or BMX seems like an easier option that tends to cost a lot less and they'll likely have spots within riding distance.
  • 14 0
 @DylanH93: And this is (likely) why bmx easily has the most diversity of any category of cycling. BMX's are (relatively) cheap, mostly bombproof, and simple to work on (single speed, no brakes, basic tools needed) and you don't need a trail system, track or even a skatepark to have fun or put out banger content (check out Brad Simms insta for examples everyday)

Cost and ability to travel are probably the two biggest barriers that come into play when it comes out traditional outdoor sports (hiking/backpacking, climbing, mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding).
  • 7 0
 @jsnfschr: spot on. I grew up BMX and have been MTB since mid 1990's (yes, I'm 40+). That said, BMX is the most diverse cycling category for sure
  • 3 0
 @bman33: Likewise. BMX is what kept me riding in my broke college days. I'm also from a community with a large First Nations population, which has many of the issues many minority communities have (poverty, racism, mental health, substance abuse, gang violence, domestic violence, etc) and both BMX and skateboarding have had a significant, positive impact on the youth.
  • 2 0
 @Sirflyingv: once upon a time, there was an Indonesian pinkbike (and rotorburn) POD with three Specialized Demos in it. www.pinkbike.com/photo/4839261

On the other end of the spectrum though, we also got a lot of people whining that a Deore 12s groupset is more expensive than their whole bike. Just look at some Indonesian MTB youtuber comment section. You'll understand from the amount of "Tourney-user-here" response.

I believe the situation is pretty much the same in the developed world. There are mountain bikers from all walks of life. I guided some Russian riders a few years ago, riding a couple of SC Nomads. Travelling from Russia to Indonesia is by no means cheap either. I am not saying that they are ultra rich or something. They picked the cheapest BnB to stay in (less than 10USD per night, which is also my personal pick).
  • 74 1
 PSA: All City Electric Queen is not an e-bike, it's just a tragically named 4130 steel hardtail.
  • 6 0
 Sadly, though you can still google it to find it on their site, it doesn't appear to be listed in their current range of bikes. Looks like it'd be a perfect all-rounder too.
  • 7 0
 Simpler times
  • 58 4
 Dope. First time I've read a first-hand experience of being a Black mountain biker. Thanks for putting your voice out there, and for the idea about helping underprivileged folks of all kinds get on bikes. I've had a few old frames and parts lying around for ages that don't seem like they're worth the effort to sell, but they would make perfectly decent machines. It'd be more motivating for me to put them together for someone to ride that otherwise might not, rather than trying to eke out a few bucks over the internet. It's a weird but real problem to just not even know how to get starting doing some things until you find someone that helps you open the door... or even show you the door exists in the first place. Being a minority or poor or both just makes that even harder. Keep huckin' those drops, m8!
  • 62 10
 “I really challenge every White person, when was the last time that happened, that you went a whole day and you saw nobody who looked like you? That's my reality a lot of the time in mountain biking.”

Never thought about quite like this before but drives home the point that representation matters. I’ve done dozens of races and there are always people who look like me, dress like, talk like me, etc. And sometimes I’m still uncomfortable at races. Can only imagine what it’s like for someone who doesn’t fit the mold.
  • 23 11
 Challenge accepted, I lived in Korea haha! I definitely went without seeing people who looked like me. They were still people though, and so was I.
  • 7 9
 Me too on the challenge accepted. I lived in Japan for 3 years, The only thing that troubled me is not being able to have a conversation in my first language as my Japanese wasn't very good. And note that he is only challenging white people here - A rose by any other name...
  • 22 3
 @TheLoamDeranger: 15 Year expat here and while yes those of us fortunate enough to live and work abroad may know what it's like to be in places no one looks like us, inside we frame it as a very different thing. It's an adventure and one of our choosing, not our own home area where we are left feeling like we don't fit the mold of the place we grew up in.
  • 17 3
 Yeah, Wesley did an excellent job giving real life examples of the nuances of racism that still largely exist for us in the US. Props to him for having the wherewithal to have those examples in the middle of an interview. Compassion, respect and good communication skills go such a long way with discussions such as racial inequality. Thanks for posting this PB!
  • 12 1
 @TheLoamDeranger: having lived in Asia for 8 years my experience is that being white literally opens doors. If you are white and speak the local language then even better.
  • 19 1
 Out of the small sample size of the 2 races I've been to 5 years ago, I've definitely felt this sentiment echoed in my own experiences. It's definitely weird when the only POC at the race are you and Elliot Jackson. As a 16 year old, I found that pretty intimidating. While I know its not intentional, its hard to avoid the side eyes from people you don't know and don't look like you. It's hard to put the feeling into words, but it was discouraging it was to not have the connections through your parents a lot of kids my age had being first gen and my parents knowing very little English. While I look up to a lot of people in the scene, its hard to not notice that none of them look like you. I really believe that representation and diversity does matter a lot and I hope more light is shed even though it may seem like a small issue.
  • 2 5
 @CONomad: I don't know why you seem qualified to speak on behalf of people you have never met.
  • 10 5
 This one got me thinking as well. Not just in biking. In biking we're all-white, mostly German males and females. None with Turkish background (biggest group in Germany), Russian, Polish, French, nothing.
  • 6 5
 @muletron: I experienced overt, unabashed racism directed at me by the Koreans on more than one occasion. Occasionally to the point of being barred every from a restaurant, being given the worst table, being asked to move from one table to another so Koreans could sit where I was, people literally using racial slurs for white people right in front of my face thinking I didn't understand, etc.
  • 1 4
 @muletron: Barred entry*
  • 4 0
 @Tamasz: What are you taking about? That only Germans ride mtb in Germany? ????
  • 6 4
 @goroncy: do you have Turkish buddies in biking? Or Russian? Or anyone from abroad? I don't, and thus for me thinking
  • 6 5
 @JoshieK: I'm not trying to speak on anyone's behalf but no one forced him to go to Korea, unless he is US military which then his comment is even more off target. It wasn't his home community, or even region of the world. It's very different being labeled as an outsider in a place you actually are an outsider rather than your home.
  • 7 9
 @CONomad: So what you're saying is that discrimination is more acceptable as long as we're doing it to people who voluntarily immigrate or visit from another country? What the?
  • 4 0
 @Tamasz: Your personal experience says nothing more than that you live in a bubble. I do have Polish and Turkish buddies riding BBS and trail with me ????.
  • 1 2
 @CONomad: xenophobia is ok then?
  • 4 1
 @TheLoamDeranger: it's not acceptable in any setting, but I imagine that it hurts much more when you're not accepted and feel an alien in your own home.
  • 2 1
 @goroncy: I think you missed my point, we're on the same page. This interview got me thinking. And I realized that indeed my biking community is non-diverse and a bubble (this is not true for other parts of my life).
  • 37 5
 Great piece! I can tell you from experience it can be weird being the only black guy in the crew, or the lift line. Glad to see more of us getting into the sport!!
  • 34 7
 My colleagues and i were discussing racism in general the other morning. And just for context. I am the only white person at work. We all came to the same conclusion in the end. Although this is the shortened answer and not as straight forward as it is said here... So long as we label someone as either- black,white or whatever racism will persist or at least continue to provide a preformed notion of a person based on colour.
  • 16 7
 @norcal77: And critical race theory is working hard to make sure everyone is constantly aware of everyone else's race. It's destructive.

How should mixed race individuals, like my children, feel in an environment that this trash philosophy is creating?
  • 2 6
flag TheLoamDeranger (Oct 24, 2020 at 1:33) (Below Threshold)
 Unsure why my response tagged norcal77
  • 6 5
 @TheLoamDeranger: They hate reason and the truth unfortunately
  • 7 5
 You can’t achieve equality through annihilation of category
  • 7 5
 @jbrown8777: hey I love that you and your colleagues were talking about racism. That's great. I believe that we need to talk about it openly.

I can see how you got to your conclusion. How can we expect racism to be dismantled if we continue to look at and categorize people based on the colour of their skin?

But it feels like you might have skipped a few steps. Unfortunately, we can't just start not seeing colour to dismantle racism. The key word there is "dismantle"; it's a built structure. A. system. Though our individual choices matter, it's much more than that. It'd be great if we could just skip to the not seeing colour and colour not mattering part. But we can't.

If you're interested in learning more about how to go about solving the problem of racism, the "How To Be An Antiracist" book is a good place to start. You can sign up for an Audible trial and get the audiobook for free.
  • 11 6
 @dratm: You realize he lives in South Africa, right? Like the center of power there is mostly all black, so your woke North American propaganda might not be the most relevant to him.
  • 4 2
 @TheLoamDeranger: sorry man accidentally downvoted.meant to upvote
I too have a beautifull mixed baby girl.
  • 4 3
 @Portulacaria-afra: ha no worries my man
  • 4 3
 @TheLoamDeranger: i see where the other commenters are coming from and so took no offence to their contributions.

To ad to your post. Our country at the moment is a racist poop show.

Just do a quick news search of current affairs and political happenings...circus
  • 4 6
 @TheLoamDeranger: lol, so it seems like you're saying that race doesn't matter and shouldn't be seen. Unless it's white people without power, then it's really important and makes a difference? Your cards are showing...
  • 3 2
 @Portulacaria-afra: I'm glad to hear you didn't take any offense. I didn't intend any. Really appreciate you sharing your experience!
  • 6 5
 @dratm: No, I'm saying that the typical left trope of systemic white man bad has no relevance in South Africa. If you agree that a black power system which is racist against whites is as abhorrent as a white power system racist against blacks, then all is good. This sort of consistency is rare though.
  • 3 0
 @dratm: no worries. We without doubt agree that it's not just as simple as not seeing colour. Hence me pointing to it in my comment as not being as straight forward as that.
It being a structure a system is true. Just look at what apartheid did for us...
  • 7 1
 @TheLoamDeranger: tell me more about how it has no relevance in South Africa?
  • 1 3
 @dratm: I might be wrong, won't be the first time.
  • 3 0
 @TheLoamDeranger: jesus brah have a little google of South Africa
  • 37 8
 Kudos Pinkbike. Way to go! Let do more of this. Keep the conversation front and center!
  • 29 6
 This is excellent, and very insightful. Thanks Pinkbike and thanks most of all to Wesley. Shame I’m in Scotland, I’d join you at post-Covid bike party for sure. Take it easy, stay safe.
  • 29 5
 Good read, good points. Also never though of the confederate flag having that kind of personal impact on someone before. That's shitty.
  • 26 3
 I am Metis and I also cycle, I think as a Canadian there is a huge issue with access to this sport and many other sports within our native communities.
  • 30 8
 This is a really positive story. Dont get rascists. Just dont get it. In scotland, we dont see many bikers of colour. Hope it changes. This is your country too.
  • 24 8
 I feel like I’m the only Asian person on the mountain on most of the days that I’m riding. I’m not disagreeing with the interview at all, but I’ve seen dozens of black riders and legit zero Asian riders in person.

Probably has a lot to do with population centers and access to trails. It looks like the majority of black Americans live in the southeast. The big question is, would there be more black riders if the trails in the south east didn’t suck so much
  • 2 3
 Windrock (major trail and international DH center) along with the rest of Eastern TN, North Georgia, Asheville and the surrounding Pisgah forest (Cane Creek, Industry 9, etc.), Bentonville, etc. Yeah the SE trails are so horrible...
  • 3 4
 western NC is not heavily populated by black Americans. Bentonville is in the Ozarks, and is in the Midwest and not Southeast. I spend a month in Oak Ridge every year and ride Windrock basically everyday. I definitely am not going riding in some podunk town in southeast unless someone is forcing me to
  • 14 1
 Might be your location dude. Hella Philippinos in the bay are riding tricked out bikes.
  • 4 1
 @Mntneer: I quote the guy "...if the trails in the south east didn’t suck so much". Plenty of rad SE trails. I am native there, Colorado for 10 years and now Bentonville (yes splitting hairs on that locale but a southern state), ridden Windrock 20 or so times. There are plenty of hidden gems out there that are not major on the map, but they are there..even in 'podunk'. The sh*t talking is out of control. Sure some folks must apologize if we cannot all live up to the superior folks like yourself in Sedona...
  • 2 0
 Greensboro, NC. 2.5 hours from Pisgah, 3 from the coast. Population 300,000, and 45+ miles of rolling terrain, IMBA-spec singletrack in the city limits, all interconnected by greenways. Much of the Southeast is great for MTB.
  • 7 0
 Lots of Asian mountain bikers in socal. On Saturday mornings, I often run into this massive group of older Vietnamese folks, 50s, 60s... There will be 15 or more. All laughing and having the time of their lives. All have dope ass bikes. They don't invite me on their rides though. But they'll cheer and whoop when you climb the tough hill or whatever.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: You can find all the most popular trails on Garmin heat map. Strava has something similar. if you have a bit of intelligence and put in some effort you can find these trails.
  • 2 0
 Haha at my trails Asians are probably the second biggest demographic I see. There's a huge group of Filipinos who have weekly evening rides. I've never really thought about race when I see other riders but I suppose it's interesting to consider. Everyone I see is pretty cool though, race kinda melts away when we're all out having fun on cool bikes.
  • 3 0
 Hey Haroldhotdog456...I am here in the northeast, and I am in a Mtb group in which I am the only black guy...all other members are Asians. Geographic location may play a part in that...
  • 2 0
 Not where I ride, my friend. Many, many times I'm like that Black Flag song name: White Minority.
  • 5 0
 I'm asian as well. Been mtb-ing since late 80s. The only other asians I knew or saw that mtb-ed were my cousins and a few friends that were filipino. We got into mtb because we were into BMX like most kids in 70s-80s. Asians just started to get into mtb-ing the last few years. Most asians just were not into mtb-ing and were into other sports and hobbies.
  • 6 0
 "The big question is, would there be more black riders if the trails in the south east didn’t suck so much"

Hey, that's enough trailcism out of you, pal.
  • 9 1
 I find it interesting that the Asian community has largely been left out of this whole discussion. For a long time here in the UK the Asian community were subject to attacks from both black and white racists. My sister dated a black guy for years who was very discriminatory towards the Asian community. Go figure. I also don't see much acknowledgement of the fact that Kenyatta forced the Asian community out of Kenya when they won independence. Racism is not the sole domain of any one colour.
  • 1 0
 There are definitely some areas out west that it's hard for the SE to compete with, but we have some really good riding too, and one of the best things about our trails is that they are not overcrowded with people like you.
  • 1 0
 And before anyone misconstrues that comment, "people like you" has nothing to do with skin color or race.
  • 2 1
 @muscogeemasher: the southeast doesn’t have a high density of good riding options. There are plenty of great options, but driving an hour to ride isn’t considered a great option for most. Can’t really argue that getting people to drop thousand of dollars for the sake of driving two hours round trip for awesome trails, in a sport that they’re not already in love with, is going to be a feasible option.

I know that “you people” in the Southwest are passionate about your trails and mountain biking, but that doesn’t change the fact that the need to travel to get to inspiring trail systems is prohibitive to new riders.
  • 10 0
 @commental: I’m not sure how things are in the UK, but Asians are extremely de-masculinized and considered a “good” minority in the US. On average, we are the highest earning demographic, have strong ties to our heritage and family support systems, and aren’t seen as we need help because of our ability to assimilate and succeed. There seems to be plenty of overt unchecked, innocuous racism towards Asians, with smaller amounts of all out violence towards us. If you look at the attacks against Asians in the US, most are committed by black Americans. In pop culture, black Americans love referring to Asians as “ling ling.” I think that this kind of behavior is hurtful, but I also think that having a family history of fighting for success, surviving wars, and supporting each other has given a lot of us a foundation to not give a shit about what weak and insecure people think about Asians.
  • 3 0
 @Haroldhotdog456: I guess a major difference between the UK and the US is when we talk about Asians here we are generally referring to people predominantly from the Indian subcontinent, who are very much exposed to overt racism. Especially if they are, or are perceived to be, Muslim.
  • 4 4
 @commental: Sadly I bet many Americans think Asia is just Japan, Korea, and China. And Iran is an Arab state, and.....
  • 4 4
 @suspended-flesh: just as Asia isn’t a monolith, you shouldn’t view Americans as such. Makes you seem as dumb as you’re trying to make people seem
  • 1 1
 @Haroldhotdog456: I upvoted your remark, but I am of average stupidity.
  • 2 3
 @suspended-flesh: As a citizen of The United States of America. I can solidly say that MOST US kids (more so public school educated) have no idea that "Americans" is indicative of TWO entire continents with many nations. "Canadians" are also "Americans" as are "Mexicans". In traveling the world...the comment and question is "your from the States", not "American". Here, in the US ignorance certainly is bliss....
  • 2 1
 @JustAnotherRiderHere: Good god, get a grip.
  • 5 3
 @pistol2ne: fo REAL! How many Canadians and Mexicans thinks of themselves as Americans because they share the continent of North America. Unbelievable how crazy people have gotten in hatred of their own country. Never been the "love it or leave it" type, but maybe these folk should give up their cushy existence and try out Pakistan or Somolia for a change of pace. Holiday in Cambodia?
  • 1 7
flag JustAnotherRiderHere (Oct 25, 2020 at 11:15) (Below Threshold)
 @pistol2ne: "Good god, get a grip."

Get a grip? You happen to have any stamps in your passport?

Seriously, while I am a fan of the statement "you are American or you are not, there are no hyphens in American", the inference is "Citizen of the United States", for me.

Every Canadian SHOULD be proud to be Canadian, same with Mexican, Honduran, Cuban and on and on. I have not once met a person from another country (including those who have had a massive influx of immigrants, legal and otherwise) offer the nomenclature of adding two Countries to indicate a state of being. More so, in the US we for some ignorant reason use the terms for two continents to infer a color and more so, a class of society. Shameful.
  • 18 2
 Wesley, three things:

1) Awesome interview.

2) MTB and Cyclocross races are way different vibe than road racing. You have to get into the MN MTB Series if/when the Plague is done going around. 2021? Hopefully? Anyway, the MN MTB Series are run by amazing individuals that shut down anything *-ist from the racers/staff/spectators. Entrance fees are low too. www.mnmtbseries.com

3) While it might make the whole "there is no one here that looks like me" frustration a little (lot?) worse, you got to get up to Northern MN. The trails are bigger, obviously. But, the towns with mountain biking trails are way chiller than the Metro area too.
  • 6 0
 All of these things. Get to Duluth, enter some races and have a blast.
  • 16 2
 Good story! I presonally feel like it's good idea to share more stories of different MTB people from all over the world, not only competing athlets and other stars.
  • 1 2
 yeah pb needs more representation of regular riders
  • 13 1
 As a hispanic man (who was adopted and talks/acts "white") I am usually the only brown person I see on the trails. I have been racing for a number of years and it's been nothing but inclusive. I have not been met with overt racism and have made friends with all types of people. I do, however, feel out of place sometimes when initially trying to make friends in a new place or going to race venues alone. That's ok, though - I get over it and I do my race - I have just as much of a right to be there as anyone else. I see more and more brown and black faces on the trail every year just like I see more female faces on the trail compared to when I started in 2013. I have hope for this sport and that the white people in this sport will react well to changes that are, albeit slowly, coming. The most judgement I've ever gotten was for owning a DH bike in new england "There's mountains there??" "Yeah, dude, there are."
  • 19 8
 Keep it up PB. This topic needs to be brought up till everyone “gets it”. MTB riding and racing should be accessible. We’ve got the greatest sport going. Let’s make sure it’s shared with others that want it. Philly pump track is a great example.
  • 11 0
 "more often than not the rider on the side of the trail is like, "No, I'm good." And then I'll hear Simon or Ian (who are White) ask behind me, and all of a sudden they need help after all. What the hell? Why couldn't I help? What was wrong with me?"

  • 17 3
 I really appreciated this perspective. Communication is numero uno.
  • 13 1
 Thank you for doing this interview Wesley, it was great to hear your perspective, and is wonderful to be a part of the cycling community with you.
  • 11 1
 Interesting to hear you say "give Kendrick Lamar a mountain bike". That might be what does it. I remember watching a video years ago about a black pro skateboarder who said the song Kick, Push was why he started skating- he didn't realize it was an option to him before then
  • 10 0
 I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the diameters of their wheel size, I have a dream today!
  • 9 1
 Just in case you don‘t know about this, worth to watch:


I‘m frustrated that we still have issues like this in 2020
Just to let you know, in Switzerland for example, the right for females to vote was allowed in 1971, what makes us the latest country in europa to do this, it‘s a f***ing shame.
About racism, to me there are just two types of humans, a*sholes and non a*sholes, you will find then in any race, gender, religion, culture, poor or rich.
  • 2 0
 That was a powerful video. Thanks for sharing.
  • 1 0
Another topic, but as dramatic as can be
Do you know about Red Map?

  • 1 0
 @deucecomposite: I can't watch it now because it's geolocked. Quick search says it's about gerrymandering. I'll watch it later on vpn when I have time. I have read that republican presidents have only won the popular vote once or twice since the 80's but this practice has allowed them to take a few elections. I'm spending this morning wondering how, after the science denouncing rants, fairly overt racism, and fawning over dictators more of my neighbours to the south voted for Trump this time around.
  • 13 3
 Thanks for the article Brian & Wesley! I enjoyed it a bunch. This kind of content feels really important to me to read personally, and see in this community.
  • 9 2
 In NYC, the number of black and hispanic people on Medicaid is huge. There certainly exists a socioeconomic gap in the sport of cycling. One can get hurt while cycling, but one can get a scholarship to a high school or college playing traditional sports. Although groups worked with NYC Parks for more trails and access, until Hyper comes out with some halfway decent MTBs, people will not know how to differentiate a true good mtb vs. big box garbage. The same issue exists in snowboarding and skiing, but it's the travel, lodging, and lift tickets that is probably more of a deterrent. Former NBA hall of famer Reggie Miller is a serious XC rider who now competes. Several NBA players bought custom bikes with super large frames and wheels. More exposure of athletes and entertainers riding mtbs will go a long way to attract a more diverse ridership. I always rooted for Eliot Jackson to do well on the WC scene, first because he is such a chill, happy dude, second because he is an outlier ambassador for the sport. Props to you, Wesley Ferguson, for doing what you love and spreading the 2 wheeled-love.
  • 7 0
 Thanks for using your platform to shed light on this issue. What some people seem to forget, or take for granted, is the intrinsic need of people to "belong" in a social group. I'm from the same area as Wesley and you often see posts from new riders on local facebook groups reaching out for support because they feel intimated by our sport. This is the case for white people, I can't imagine adding the layer of race on top of all of that. As a white person all I can do is listen, and articles like these provide me the opportunity to do that and ultimately come to a better understanding of what people with different backgrounds than me experience.

Shout out to Wesley and everything he's doing. It's been so cool to see what's going on at Theo and coming across group rides made up of kids from all backgrounds who are enjoying this great sport. Hopefully I run into you on one of my rides and we can shred a lap!
  • 30 20
 ❤ More content like this please
  • 12 6
 Thanks Wesley for standing up to tell this. If any black mountain bikers in here also feel like it, it would be good to hear from your voices In the comments also. I’d upvote you.

And for what it’s worth, if you are thinking about taking to the trails, I‘ll be super stoked to see you out there.
  • 13 4
 My associate is african american. And he rides a bike. And he is a dentist. Never going to feel welcome on Pinkbike.
  • 13 7
 This representation component comes up a lot... in many contexts. On average we can expect a sample size to include 13% Black... 17% Latino... 7% Asian... 3% Other... and 60% White (+ or -). That’s US average... subject to geographic fluctuations. Should we expect a higher representation... why?

Sports and recreational activities are very culturally bound. Some cultures have greater interest in soccer, some greater in football, some in water sports, and yes some in biking. There are no barriers to entry into biking... anyone can buy a cheap bike on Craigslist or Walmart... some people give them away to make space.

If you’re looking for something all the time, you will find it.
  • 2 4
 Its not just cultural, geography plays a huge role. You won't find many mountain bikers in Belarus - no hills...
  • 2 2
 I agree that sports are not based on any racial boundaries. Who is into a particular sport is based on behaviorial, cultural, location, and what people are just exposed to. I live between Santa Cruz and Marin, arguably the birthplace of mountain biking and still not many people were into mountain biking since the 80s. MTB only has gotten popular in the last decade and really ramped up during coronavirus. Way more people are into road biking here.
  • 8 1
 I will say, covid has probably done more for MTB participation across the board. Instead of wishing it over to make progress, lets use it as fuel for the fire
  • 9 4
 Good read. Honestly, it's nice to get a different perspective from the typical bros that are ubiquitous in MTBing.

It's a disappointing reminder even for this middle-aged whotenguy that the bike industry (like all the others) is primarily interested in image over actual change.
  • 5 0
 Good article...

I think a majority of the MTB riders are open to people of other races and nationalities being out on the trails.. Out here where I'm at, we have a pretty good group of Hispanic riders, a large group of Filipinos (Mostly on the road) and we are starting to see more Black riders.. More butts on bikes is never a bad thing, IMO..

Phil did a great job explaining the geographic issues during the Downtime podcast.. SE bikes is really tapping into the inner city market right now..Hopefully, some of those riders get the opportunity to try other forms of riding..

In regards to racing in this article, if you're going to race, it's never going to be cheap... But, you don't need racing to enjoy riding..

Wesley, keep doing what you are doing... With people like yourself showing the way locally and people like Elliot Jackson setting an example with a bigger audience, only good things can happen ..

Ride on!
  • 7 2
 Thanks for addressing subjects like this. Mountain biking is about more than gear and racing and the more PB reflects that the better. Getting POC riding and otherwise expanding who rides is important. It's not about guilt. Ultimately, riding ought to be about creating happier, more fulfilling lives. Articles like this are an important part of that. Signed a very privileged white guy in the southeast.
  • 5 1
 An interesting article and props to this guy for working to expand the sports audience. The only bone i have to pick with it really is his comparison of biking being expensive to basketball (or any sport for that matter). Sure, you can play ball with a $15 basketball and any shoes on your feet. You can also mtb with any $40 garage sale bike. At the same time, you can easily drop 5k on a bike and gear, but there are plenty of basketball (or any team sports) players out there who drop that kind of coin on expensive footwear (or pads, gear), travel leagues, private coaching in order to play competitively in their sports. My point is not to dismiss what he is saying, but to compare the expensive side of biking to the cheapest version of basketball is a bit dishonest and does not further the interest of getting people in to the sport (which he seems to be working so hard to do). Sure, you probably won't be winning many races or setting lap records on the garage sale bike, but you can still benefit from all the best aspects of the sport (health, skills, acomplishment, friendships) as much as the guy on a 10k bike.
  • 6 2
 I think this is simplifying matters a bit. Are not going to take Geography into account? I mean I don't live in the States, but I do have family there, in Florida, and when I went to Santos Bike Park in OCALA wich is like the whitest part of FL, I saw a lot of black people riding there, I may be mistaken but I think there are a lot more black people in FL than in Minnesota, I saw a lot of black riders in Miami too, at Markham park. Second, there a lot of black people in the BMX side of cycling specially street, isn't one of the biggest BMX stars a black guy? I don't know much about BMX either so I maybe wrong again. Third, I never saw any latin people on MTB ads, or not that I knew when I started riding, I just grabbed my stepdad old as hell mountainbike and went for a spin, I got hooked after that, and ust started getting into MTBing, no one spoke to me, I didn't need any ad campaings directed at latino people, I just rode my bike. Granted most MTB trails (in the USA, wich are the ones that I know outside of my own country) are in areas where mostly white people live, and YES you do get that feeling like people look at you like you're an alien to them, but i think that in those smaller towns people are just suspicious of anyone that doesn't seem like it's from the area, and not for nothing but as foreigner that doesn't have much of an accent (most people would assume I'm american just by listening to me talk) I've felt that exact feeling of being an alien in black neighborhoods too in Florida (again most of what I know in the USA is Florida) but never felt that in, say, New York City or Atlanta, or any other major city in the states. This are my two cents as a foreigner, and also part of my experience with riding MTBikes and looking a little different to everyone because I dont't like like a white guy nor is my skin dark enough to be considered whote, so I guess I'm what people call brown? but I don't know if that's racist.. things are different where I live. Cheers everyone, no matter the color of your skin just go out and ride, whatever kinf of bike you feel like speaks to you.
  • 7 0
 Awesome! Love Venture North. I lived a few blocks from there. Amazing coffee, too.
  • 6 0
 That's all me black man mountain biking in Finland and bike repairs but I don't have the coffee shop yet ????????????
  • 8 5
 Very good, I grew up in Canada, which is supposedly a, "cultural melting pot"; and, I don't know, it never really came as something we talked about. In terms of, you had lots of freedom, and nobody really cared.
  • 9 0

Canada’s federal government policy from the 60s and 70s is multiculturalism, where many cultures are supposed to come together and we celebrate/appreciate the various attributes of each distinct culture and live harmoniously.

The policy of the United States was to be a melting pot, where everyone came together to create a singular culture from the many parts, an American culture, so to speak.
  • 3 5
 @mungbean: I went to school broham, and that's what they told us, and they said the United States was culturally segregated. As in, the Mexicans live in one portion, the Chinese in another, etcetera, etcetera.
  • 6 0
 @Kramz: you may have went to school, but you didn’t learn about this subject. The US is a melting pot. Canadian multiculturalism, in theory, is referred to as either a kaleidoscope or mosaic indicating that the unique aspects of different cultures makes up Canadian culture. May want to make sure of your definitions before stridently demanding you are correct. Wether Canada has been successful in this is debatable, but the expressed goal of the multiculturalism act is literally to make the opposite of a melting pot.
  • 3 0
 @Kramz: And many do. Some years ago the city (former city for me) was trying to get those in public housing to "assimilate" more. A Mexican man, leader of a community center and church was on the news saying clearly...."know why the Mexicans live near one another? They WANT to live near one another! Stop trying to force us to live where we do not want to live"....he had a VERY valid point. Oddly, every mammal on the planet likes to live with an associate with similar mammals. We associate, hang out with and yes....mountain bike with....you guessed it, similar mammals.
  • 2 0
 @mungbean: I too remember "learning" this in school but I was super confused with the concept. I later concluded that I was confused because I thought of it as a cooking pot, like a stew, where we add stuff to make it better, but the beef is still beef, just now part of the mix, and added to the stew, making the entire stew better. To kid me that made sense as what I thought of "Canada", but I think the melting pot idea for the US was more of a smelting pot, aka everything becomes homogeneous and in the case of smelting, possibly tossing the bits that didn't melt properly out... Either way, what ever the policies are, I like fusion food as much as I like "authentic" food.
  • 1 1
 @MartyFluxMcFly: As a business owner...I am over it.
  • 6 4
 oh my... we are all mountainbikers !! Who cares who you are, or where you're from ? It's all about "look at how he do that awesome whip, or how he ride that berm" not look, he's black, white, yellow, red or pink or what...
No excuses for racist a*sholes, doesn't matter skin color. Yes, also black, yellow, white, or whatever can be stupid a*shole racist.I say NO to this stupid people no matter their skin tone......
Ride your fu... bike guys :-)
  • 4 2
 As a brit, where racism is way less prevalent (so admittedly I may be off the mark in relation to the US) is there not a danger that suggesting a sport is racist will actually create an issue and alienate these minority groups straight away? By which I mean, sports aren't racist, people are racist but not everyone, to state a sport is racist suggests everyone associated is as well.
That would seriously piss me off. I am not racist, the only way I evaluate people as to how I interact with them is how they conduct themselves. So if I were considered racist, homophobic, xenophobic or anything else, honestly, that person is gone, but that would then potentially appear as though I am whatever they have accused me of when I avoid interacting with that person just like I would a white guy who'd wronged me.
I'm not sure this article helps much, the only slur I read was asking how he afforded a bike and being intimidated at a competition. Road cycling is like that, mtb has way more comradeship imo. And was he asked if he could afford that because he is black or because it's an achievement to own something like that??
Cycling as a whole isn't diverse, there's no denying, but I'm not sure articles like this will build the bridges wanted.
  • 7 5
 Identity politics is used to divide people. Leave this poison out of our sport. Stupid cultural Marxism.

It is ones free choice to start this sport, isn't it?
There is no law that hinders a black person to get on a mountainbike, is it?
No one goes to a black person and threatens him with violence to get from the MTB horse as it is only allowed for white people to ride this mtb horse, does somebody?
I only do not go mtb with a black person, because I do not know one. If I would know one and we would like each other we'd enjoy mtb together.
I do not care your skin color, origin, religion or whatever, as long as we get along and you are peaceful.

The only thing I really do not like is, if you are really are a racist (no matter which skin color you have) or if you are a totalitarian nationtional socialist, an international socialist, communist, globalist, technocrat, globalist or religious fundamentalist who wants to force your views and system upon the world and violently upon others if they do not have the right opinion... in your view.

To few people of color on MTB? Force them or show them how fun it is. If they want or dislike it, it is their choice.
  • 2 0
 I love cycling. Ill cycle with anyone, brown, white, black, straight, gay and everything in between. I think cycling is a fantastic medium to mix with people that you'd not normally speak to. Inner city schools don't push cycling and thats a prime location to get all races hooked onto bikes.
  • 3 1
 I used to live in North Minneapolis, near Broadway and Lyndale. Never felt safe driving through to get to the highway or heaven forbid, ride my bike around the block. Btw, I'm not white. Just calling it the way I saw it. I did what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr says to do, judge a person not but the color of their skin, but by their character.....the characters speaks for itself.
  • 13 7
 Awesome article.
  • 4 3
 People seem to forget that it was the world wars that aloud the west to get rich by selling and lending money to those countries (doesn’t mater whether u where a slave or a soldier very similar) if we forget this cycle will continue in every community there is hardship and wrong doing wake up being a human is hard don’t let the media control the narrative and control your thoughts from what’s really going on debt is real slavery today we can’t forget the past but we must move on as money won’t heal wounds time does let’s not focus on the problem but the solution as long as we associate our selfs with a group of people we will not see all sheep produce wool
  • 1 0
 i've been fortunate to live in different countries. racism is not US exclusive. I'm brown n do see it against me but a small minority do it compared to what i have seen for my black friends. Outside US I think its much tougher for black people. I had black friends who were outright told to get lost from skateboarding parks, on public transport people moving away from my friends, asian women holding their noses right in front of my friend, i felt like exploding every time but my friend just accepted it as part of everyday life. moving around with them made me realise that most humans irrespective of country require an education in equality.
  • 1 1
 Please don't bring this interviews about racism...or machist...or homo...or whatever!

Let's only talk bikes.

Yes, I'm "whiteish", tall blond guy, that isn't racist, but I'm only tolerante, because, when I question myself:

Would you like to see your daugther with a yellow/dark/black/green guy?
My first reptical answer is NO!
But deap down, all I want is that she gets love and respect, no matter gender or color!

Peace, and keep turning those pedals
  • 9 10
 Well, historically many blacks feel unsafe in the woods for the fear of being lynched and that may explain in part why there are so few mtn’ing.

  • 5 5
 You just posted an article by someone who stated that a trump sign gave them anxiety... lol.
  • 7 6
 Imma gonna take a punt here and make an assumption that most of the people arguing up in here are white... ...oh the irony.
  • 2 4
 You are sounding a little racist...
  • 4 1
 NO racism GO MTB
  • 5 3
 Dont call me white... Dont call Me White....
  • 2 1
 I heard they suck live.
  • 2 0
 @fruitsd79: I remember when Punk rock was anti establishment.
  • 9 7
 I think it's structural racism
  • 5 4
 Yep..he's black and a man..
  • 16 19
 @ryd-or-die: I do respect your opinion and if you have never experienced discrimination then I should consider UT. I am on the fence about Romney.

Like you, I am white. I have been told that I have white privilege. I have also been told that there is systemic racism or racism that is normal practice in society. Does privilege only apply to whites and systemic racism only apply to POC? I think not. Do I have generational wealth? No. My father is a liability that I have to support financially. Did I get preference when going to school? No. I was in the era where affirmative action was all the rage and my white privilege meant it was more difficult to get into college and get financial aid, which I needed. Fast forward 20+ years. Now, I go into a neighborhood where I own property and I get stared down as if I don't belong because of the color of my skin. I get asked what I am doing here. Is that racist and systemic because any white person in that neighborhood gets singled out like a black person might on a MTB trail. Also, the argument that we need to lift anyone's boat is nonsense. We had a black president, supreme court justices, generals, billionaires, CEOs, etc. People just need to work harder to do better, not get a bigger handout or have someone denounce the color of their skin.

Almost forgot to address the media. Yes, they are F**cking biased. Los Angeles is different from Utah, but we "celebrate" a basketball victory by rioting and looting. The large gathering is not condemned as irresponsible or a super-spreader event. The people that lost their businesses are not given reparations. Instead, our sh*tty governor says please get tested and we move on. Our president comes to town and they gasp at the atrocities his supporters are committing by not wearing a mask.
  • 5 3
 This one is for you.

  • 3 0
 @fruitsd79: Ah good clip. If that explanation is too complicated there's no hope.
  • 1 1
 @fruitsd79: Its almost like you didn't read his comment
  • 3 1
 @JoshieK: or you didn't pick up on the tone of the comment
  • 1 2
 @fruitsd79: What tone would that be sweetheart
  • 8 11
 The racism is definitely a lot worse in the US. I've never ridden with anyone of my kind or seen anyone like me on the trails. I'm Indian (India, not native), but race has never crossed my mind and no one has ever commented on me being Indian. I just ride my bike. I'm guessing it wouldn't be the same across the border.
  • 9 11
 You'd have almost equal odds of running into some white liberals who'd celebrate you for accomplishing a simple feat like riding a bike while being brown. It's demeaning, but that's how they do.
  • 2 0

Just down the highway from sweet trails in Arkansas is the home of the KKK.

  • 1 0
 @TheLoamDeranger: actually you are correct. I forgot that it did happen to me once. Vancouver is a tourist destination for bikers and we get a lot of Americans since it's so close to the Border. I was on the chair lift with an American in whistler and he commended me for being a brown biker. I wasn't offended though, nice guy. I understood the diversity in whistler was different for him.
  • 1 0
 @TheLoamDeranger: I’m not interested in taking any sides here, but just from an argument perspective, allow me to ask a simple follow up...you state hat OP has almost equal odds of running into white liberals who’d celebrate...it’s demeaning, but that’s how they do. OP acknowledges the chance of this happening, and shares a story when it did-fair play to them for honesty as the overall policy. However, even in your comment, you are admitting that they are more likely to be harassed in racist ways than be molly-coddled by liberals. Is that the point your trying to make?
  • 1 0
 @VwHarman: No, just making the argument that America isn't the racist redneck paradise that foreigners (including the guy I replied to) imagine it to be. It's equally a liberal fruitcake paradise.
  • 20 23
 Who cares if you don't see anyone that looks like you on the trail? How does that impact anything?! If the people on the trails are welcoming it shouldn't matter what color their skin is. And I GUARANf*ckENTEEEE that 99% of trail users are decent people, who will be welcoming. Except for people like that douche couple that tried to shame that guy riding and ebike trike who was paralyzed. The best part is where the guy says mountain biking doesn't speak to the black community, ummmm what?! That sounds kinda racist. Should there MTB community speak to every race?! That's racist AF and this pity party needs to end
  • 1 0
 Your life bro, I couldn't be black when I was choosing my life, so I just opted the fuck out.
  • 6 1
 I don't think anyone's saying that mountain biking should appeal to everyone. Just that it should be accessible to anyone who's interested in it, and a safe community for anyone to be a part of. It's not about pity. It about justice and equality.
  • 9 10
 @dratm: there's absolutely nothing stopping ANYONE from taking this sport up other than money. Money has NOTHING to do with race and that's why this article and whole argument is hot garbage.
  • 8 2
 @TylerD119: "Money has NOTHING to do with race...."

It does when race contributes to decades of economic disadvantage and the inability to grow and perpetuate wealth. Again, a vast grey area not easy to navigate.
  • 1 3
You’ve entirely missed the point of the article as it seems to have gone straight over your head. Try reading more around the subject and gaining some empathy whilst you’re at it
  • 5 4
 Is this twitter then? Americans are funny as hell.
  • 6 5
 Pinkbike is more like reddit. its comment section is full of cringe wokeness.
  • 1 2
 Cycling be it road or MTB, racing or just an uplift day or whatever is VERY elitist at the best of times, an racism is far from the best of times.
  • 11 12
 Wasn’t there a time when we just rode bikes and didn’t care about anything else? Ya.. I miss that.
  • 1 1
 I like the story but the title suck eggs
  • 2 4
 Mountain bike companies need to start catering to every race!!! White, black, Asian, brown, red, all of them. That's the only way to get rid of racism!!!
  • 4 3
  • 3 0
 One thing that the bike industry is really good at is marketing to the customer that they already have..
  • 7 9
 Get it out of your mind...no one is stopping you...ride a bike...if that is your dream.
  • 21 24
 brian park pushing his political agendas again i see, this is an MTB site keep that shit for twitter.
  • 10 10
 Bian Park and woke PB stories. Name a more perfect pair.
  • 6 8
 Exactly what I thought as soon as I saw it ,I knew who had posted it
  • 17 9
 So many snowflakes crying about an interview about a guy’s real life experience.

Thanks, Brian, for a great article. ????
  • 9 2
 I don't recall politics even being mentioned in this article. I think it's normal to be uncomfortable talking about race issues in a sport that a lot of us use to get away from it all, but calling anything that makes you uncomfortable a "political agenda" just makes you a huge snowflake. You don't have to agree with the guy, but you certainly can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and listen to what he has to say. You did click on the article and even took the time to comment on it, after all.
  • 8 7
 @Agleck7: if it read like an interview that would be fine, but it's a 100% victimhood piece, "is that person refusing my help because i'm black" 99% of people i offer help to at the trail side say no, i don't rush home and weep about it wondering if its a racist attack.

dude needs to read rule 5.
  • 1 1
 @b45her: Are you black?
  • 2 4
 @Agleck7: thanks agleck, for a shit comment
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