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blacks and cycling(29 posts)

blacks and cyclingtruth_teller
Apr 13, 2001 7:46 AM
I'm curious, why are there so few black people that are into cycling? Blacks are on the whole gifted athletes as evidenced by their domination in running events. I would think they would also do well in cycling. Any ideas why we see so few?
Saw a story on that a few years ago.Cory
Apr 13, 2001 8:03 AM
I forget where, but somebody did a story on that maybe four or five years ago. It's largely an economic issue these days--cycling is a fairly expensive sport, like skiing, and sadly many Blacks just aren't in a position to afford it.
There are sociological and cultural problems, too, including the number of single-parent families, the low-paying jobs available to some minorities (a parent working two jobs to pay the rent doesn't have money for a nice bike or time to encourage the kids), and social pressures in other directions (basketball and football get more respect in their formative years, and everybody wants a car when they hit 16). When young, maybe poor kids are looking for something to do on a summer day, they can always find a basketball and somebody to show them how to do a layup. Bikes and cycling coaches are pretty scarce.
With any luck, Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters may help lead some of them out of this mess...
a complex issue but...Akirasho
Apr 13, 2001 9:04 AM
Cory makes the points.

Professional road cycling is already outside the mainstream of American culture... we are creatures of habit... and unless some dramatic outside forces come to bear, we usually respond within the mainstream. I'm fundamentally and oddball eclectic who reponds better to the obscure, unusual and downright weird... thus instead of football, I ride. It's probably more a result of the mainstream than the expense (though expense does play a factor). It would be hard to next to impossible (along with the psychological implications of such) for a parent to recommend or force their child into cycling in the face of such an onslaught. Still, as Cory pointed out, time will be the teller...

Locally, the city in partnership with business built and bought a minor league baseball stadium and team... I personally would have loved to have seen a world class Velodrome (long drive, but love visiting and riding at Major Taylor in Indy http://www.geocities.com/majortaylorvelodrome/)... in conjunction with local schools or universities... oh well.

One thing though... with respect to the cycling circles... I make an unforgettable impression... kinda stand out in the crowd.

Be the bike.
re: blacks and cyclingtruth_teller
Apr 13, 2001 9:31 AM
As a follow-up, would most agree that given the same access to bikes as whites, blacks would eventually replace whites as the best riders? This is what happened in track events so I would assume it would also happen with cycling.
re: blacks and whites and the rest of the worldAkirasho
Apr 13, 2001 9:52 AM
... that is a far reaching assumption... and race in sports is a volatile and ongoing topic of research (A recent issue of Scientific American (can't recall the exact issue, but was issued close to the Olymics in Sydney), approached this subject along with other genetic predispositions with regards to athleticism in general).

I would expect that the person with talent, in whatever form it applies itself, along with the person who is best able to apply said talent would succeed irregardless of race. I'm not skirting the question, but since our definition of "race" becomes blurred with time, it becomes a non-issue. Personally, I don't like being defined merely by the color of my skin, nor do I use said color to define others.

Be the bike.
re: blacks and whites and the rest of the worldtruth_teller
Apr 13, 2001 12:20 PM
It would appear that athletic talent is not present irregardless of race. The simple fact is that blacks make better runners on average that other races. They dominate the sport. What's wrong in stating that a particular race is gifted?
re: blacks and whites and the rest of the worldAkirasho
Apr 13, 2001 1:12 PM
It may not be as simple as race... cuz as I said earlier... race is becoming less "easily" defined... in order to be truely truthful... you need to look at the root cause of an effect... something that again, as stated above in the Scientific American, we're far from being conclusive about.

While it's true that blacks appear to dominate some sports, it's unclear as to why outside of morphology (which while genetic is not exclusive to race)... for instance, certain peoples of east African heritage appear to make great endurance runners... yet, could this advantage be applied racially?? Are all blacks therefore considered to be great distance runners? Indeed, many black athletes in America excel in sprint events... two opposite ends of a spectrum which "may" warrant further study, or at least call into question sweeping statements about race.

I'm suggesting that while 'tis true, sometimes the easiest answer is correct, it's not wise to assume based on surface observations. Again, in my opinion, a complex issue without an answer... as of yet.

Be the bike.
Wait a few years...Gadfly
Apr 13, 2001 10:11 AM
...my 4-year old son, who is half black, can already rip up the sidewalk. This summer, those training wheels are coming off. Fifteen years from now, who nows?
shocking replyDon B.
Apr 13, 2001 11:43 AM
Disclaimer.. Don't mean to ruffle any feathers here but here goes. Very simple "it's too white" for them. Grew up, went to school with blacks, worked with blacks, literally lived with blacks and they are quite racial. In fact i've known less racial prejudice among whites than blacks. Look at other sports how many black hockey players do you see?? Again too white. Can't lay the economic blues on this sport. Even extends to the vehicles the black man drives look around sometime when's the last time you've seen a black man driving in a Chevrolet 4X4 pickup?? Again too white..I'd like too see a black people break some barriers like Tiger or Venus, but it's their own stubborn subculture..Lets all ride together...Don
What a bunch of liberal B.S.keith m.
Apr 13, 2001 1:51 PM
I agree with you Don, if they wanted to do it, they would be doing it. To get into this crap about "not having the socio-economics" to do it is crap. Maybe some of you libs can start an affirmitive action cycling foundation. It's time for everyone to live together, ride together, and forget about what color your ancesters were! Look at all the poor Latin riders that grew up with nothing. It's about having the will to succeed at something you have passion for.
Couple of tips for you, KeithRetro
Apr 13, 2001 4:06 PM
1. Look up "liberal" in the dictionary.
2. If you can't finish high school, try for the GED.
What a bunch of liberal B.S.n8
Apr 16, 2001 10:16 AM
hmmm
you can have passion for something and still lose out on high cost sports such as ice hockey, lacrosse, and even cycling. That's simple economics, no amount of passion will get you those pads, sticks or bikes, no matter what. Until we have the courage to change our economics system that doesn't exploit the lower classes we will not be able to offer them the same privalages allowed those with money including these sports.
I agree its time for us to ride with each other.
lets just make sure that everyone can afford bikes.
--more liberal BS
N8
re: blacks and cyclingDG
Apr 13, 2001 11:54 AM
Velonews did feature Antonio Cruz and Bahati few issues back. The article on Bahati talks about the cycling club he grew with which had predominantly black riders. There are a couple of "black" riders in the peloton. There are quite a few asian riders and south american riders (who may not be prominent cause they don't ride for Div 1, 2 teams). But the pro peloton is overwhelmingly caucasian.

I believe that if a community/ethnic group does not have "heroes" or "superstars" to emulate, like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods in the sport of cycling, it is unlikely that the parents would encourage their kids to take up cycling. And it is unlikely that kids are going to pursue cycling on their own. That is the biggest factor.

Golf is an expensive sport, so is tennis. But there are huge number of african americans who have taken up those sports because they have heroes to look up to. Don't underestimate the expendable income of middle class african-american community in the US, they are a big community. And I am sure they will take up cycling in a huge way if a black cyclist wins the Tour de France. As cycling becomes more popular in the US, it is possible that we may have a black cyclist win the tour de france.
just maybe4bykn
Apr 14, 2001 5:39 AM
Perhaps the reason there are predominately caucasian riders in the pro peloton could be that the sport is most popular in europe, where the population is largely caucasian!
just maybeSonia Alvarez
Apr 15, 2001 11:13 PM
Have you ever travelled to Europe? I am European myself and believe me, Europe is FULL of non-caucasians!
re: blacks and cyclingRick S
Apr 13, 2001 12:14 PM
Interestingly enough, whan track cycling was a huge spectator sport in the US (with attendence of 50,000+ at an event) the dominant athlete was Major Taylor, a black American. How's that for a role model!
Couple of good stories about black cycling pioneers ...Humma Hah
Apr 13, 2001 1:10 PM
... One of the foremost early track cyclists was "Major" Taylor, around 1900. He couldn't race in the South US due to Jim Crowe laws, but did well in the North and later on in Europe. Made a very good living cycling.

And PBS recently aired a program on the Bicycle Calvery, a squad of black horse-soldiers who experimented with bicycles as a replacement for horses around 1898. The did one epic ride from something like Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, basically singlespeed cyclocrossing on trails, dirt roads, and railroad grades the whole way, with 30-pound packs. They were not always treated well by the general public, but were welcomed as heros by the local "wheelman's" clubs, at a time when cycling was definitely a middle-class to wealthy white man's sport.

Just hasn't caught on, I guess. Like tennis and golf, they need an Authur Ashe or Tiger Woods to get them interested. I see a few out there.
Link for Major Taylor belowMeDotOrg
Apr 13, 2001 5:31 PM
Several months ago, I was looking at bicycle posters when I came across one of Major Taylor. Curious, I did a search on Google, and found several websites. Here's one:

http://www.majortaylorassociation.org/who.htm

Bicycle racing has its deepest roots in Europe. I could be wrong, but I haven't heard of a lot of great Asian riders either. I think cultural traditions, economics and opportunity all play roles.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm seeing more and more black riders. I think as cultural lines blur, people feel freer to tackle something outside their traditional culture...
Basketball shows the future.J.S.
Apr 13, 2001 2:24 PM
For years basketball was dominated by blacks, therefore people assumed that blacks were genetically more gifted towards this sport, which was untrue. The difference was that blacks took to basketball in the fifties, sixties and seventies in a huge way, almost every black kid grew up playing B-ball and this huge talent pool was reflected in the pro's. Now that basketball has become a huge sport with all races the numbers are evening out, don't believe me, watch an NBA game and see how many more caucasian players there are, dunking no-less. In fact notice how many crazy talented eastern european players there are these days.
Ivan DominiguezDG
Apr 13, 2001 6:56 PM
Is "black" cyclict from Cuba and rides for Saturn. He is quite a sprinter and has won a stage in the Solano classic. He has a lot of talent. I met him along with Erin Hartwell at an autoshow where our cycling club was helping Saturn hold a cyberbike race. Erin and Ivan raced on stationary bikes on a "virtual" Sidney Olympic race course for a mile or two. It was quite thrilling!! It did attract a lot of folks to Saturn's booth.
asian cyclists?Made in Taiwan
Apr 13, 2001 11:56 PM
isn't it weird how "not many" asian cyclists there are? i mean, i dare say that there are more bicycles being ridden in china then there are here in the US. or, for that matter, china vs the entire world (ok that might be a stretch, but isn't it possible?). yet, there are no pro cyclists from china (none that i have heard of that is).
asians have the stereo-typical cyclist physique: skinny and light. both of which a lot of cyclists have to work very hard to maintain. but yet there are no asian cycling stars.
so one can't chalk up the lack of blacks in cycling is due to economics.
for china, bicycle is a neccessaty (sp?), it's not "too white" so they all ride. but yet, there are no asian cycling stars. so it's not racial at all.
Lack of cycling hero? well, yes, there is no asian cycling heros. but there are tons of Gymnastic heros. China is a major contender in the gymnastics world, both men's and women's. but Gymnastic is not popular in china like basketball is for the blacks in america.
so sports' hero's is not it either.

my point is, i have no idea why there aren't a lot of black cyclists. i also have no idea why a nation with so many bicycles (china) have no cycling hero or popular bike races.

i'm chinese, and i ride a bicycle for fun and fitness. although, it's becoming a black hole for my $$. but i love it.

oh well, forgot what my point is now.
There are a lot of pro AsiansRed Dog #1
Apr 14, 2001 12:57 AM
At least in Japan. Kierin track racing is a huge national sport. It's almost like horse racing but with cyclist instead. Of course there is a huge betting industry involved. I was told by some Japanese friends that the riders stay in Japan because the money is much better than that of the Euro pro racing scene. And yes they are very good.
asian cyclists?must_pedal_harder
Apr 14, 2001 3:59 PM
And that's where I come in... watch out in the year 2003! ; )

Seriously though, I think the main reason blacks/asians haven't hit main stream racing in a big way (as someone else mentioned) is because the majority of the big races are in Europe where, of course, you have many (white) European athletes.
re: blacks and cyclingthbirks
Apr 14, 2001 11:28 AM
i gotta hand it to you for posting a message like this in the PC age we live in. First off, to say that blacks are as a whole gifted athletes is kind of a blanket statement. Isn't it? i mean there certainly are many gifted black athletes, but there are many gifted athletes from all races. However, i know what you are saying. Blacks do seem to dominate in track events and basketball and football.so here's how i see it. These sports are supported at the high-school and even grade-school levels. that makes it much easier to get involved in these sports and means that your friends are probably involved to. Which is a big factor for young people. Additionally, in the US black people tend to live at a lower income level. So it makes sense for parents to support or even push their children into these sports in hopes of a college scholarship. Have you ever seen a scholarship for cycling? I think the main thing involved here is just the enviroment that people live in. Take a look around you at your next group ride. How many of your fellow cyclists are plumbers or truck-drivers and how many are lawyers or office workers. For some reason cycling seems to appeal to white-collar, middleclass people and it's not income related. I know blue-collar workers who spend lots of money on their Harleys or Mustangs and i've seen plenty of young black men who've dropped more on a set of Phat wheels for their car than i've ever paid for a bike. Personally, i'd love to see more diversity in cycling and look forward to day when the only definition of race is a competion of speed and not a label to separate people with. later.
great post! (nm)DG
Apr 14, 2001 9:32 PM
blame it on American FlyersKCostner
Apr 15, 2001 7:32 AM
and the fat black kid that said "I want a bowling ball, dad!"
blame it on American FlyersLarry Meade
Apr 15, 2001 11:55 AM
But American Flyers also had a black actor named Robert Townsend riding on The 7-Eleven team.

Larry
blame it on American FlyersJiggy
Apr 15, 2001 2:21 PM
...who was merely a domestique for the 'animal' or whatever his name was (and not even a minor part of the story)
That was the Canibal - NMNM
Apr 15, 2001 8:52 PM