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  1. #1
    Senior Member billh's Avatar
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    Are bicycle racers racist?

    I know this is a hot button topic, but I raced a couple years in the St Louis area, which has local bastions of racism, perhaps like every metro area in the Midwest, or even the US, and while not apparent on the surface, there sure were some red flags, for example:

    1. crash occurs during Tue night practice crits, white racer is seriously injured, black racer is accused of riding "too aggressively"

    2. junior racer from mixed race marriage is crashed out in Tue night crit, brakes wrist; no longer racing in the area

    3. links to personal web page of my dark-skinned wife and child (I am Caucasian) are posted on local bicycle message board in retaliation for my political views; my full name, address, and phone are posted along with physical threats

    4. race promoter tells racist joke at beginning of cyclocross race; same promoter is regularly "kidded" about his Jewish heritage

    5. race promoter nicknames his January cyclocross series championship race "The All-Celtic Nations Trophy"

    6. back in 70's the St Louis Cycling Club refused membership to an African-Am cyclist based on his race; St Louis Cyclones were formed in protest; however, now the Cyclones have zero Af-Am racers

    7. out of the hundreds of local racers, there are perhaps two African-Americans who regularly participate in local races, vastly out of proportion to the local African-American population

    These may just be isolated facts, and I'm not sure if they add up to "racism", but I just wonder if you have experienced similar things in your region, maybe this is just a St Louis thing. Bill H.

  2. #2
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    #3 isn't just a red flag. You need to get the moderator/admin of that message board to remove the offending remarks and personal info. If the mod/admin is worth his or her salt, he/she will lay down some law about acceptable posts. Physical threats? Maybe a call to your local PD is in order.

    Sorry to hear of this. I hope this doesn't deter you from riding and racing.

  3. #3
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    sounds like there are some prejudiced people in your area's cycling communitiy. doesn't surprise me, unfortunantly. i can't speak for all of my area, but we seem to be more tolerate, but far from being completely open. the riders themselves tend to pack together and that kinda stuff, but i've never heard any racist jokes from a promoter or organizer. i don't think people would have it.

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    Do they all ride European or Italian bikes? Campy is the household name. Shimano what??? I think it is the people. I guess they have their own illusion of grandeur. Beside, bike racing is very European and somewhat international.


    Quote Originally Posted by billh
    I know this is a hot button topic, but I raced a couple years in the St Louis area, which has local bastions of racism, perhaps like every metro area in the Midwest, or even the US, and while not apparent on the surface, there sure were some red flags, for example:

    1. crash occurs during Tue night practice crits, white racer is seriously injured, black racer is accused of riding "too aggressively"

    2. junior racer from mixed race marriage is crashed out in Tue night crit, brakes wrist; no longer racing in the area

    3. links to personal web page of my dark-skinned wife and child (I am Caucasian) are posted on local bicycle message board in retaliation for my political views; my full name, address, and phone are posted along with physical threats

    4. race promoter tells racist joke at beginning of cyclocross race; same promoter is regularly "kidded" about his Jewish heritage

    5. race promoter nicknames his January cyclocross series championship race "The All-Celtic Nations Trophy"

    6. back in 70's the St Louis Cycling Club refused membership to an African-Am cyclist based on his race; St Louis Cyclones were formed in protest; however, now the Cyclones have zero Af-Am racers

    7. out of the hundreds of local racers, there are perhaps two African-Americans who regularly participate in local races, vastly out of proportion to the local African-American population

    These may just be isolated facts, and I'm not sure if they add up to "racism", but I just wonder if you have experienced similar things in your region, maybe this is just a St Louis thing. Bill H.

  5. #5
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Happy to say that we don't have nearly as many of these episodes to report on here in my area.
    1. riding "too aggressively" isn't a cultural difference. It's just poor judgement.

    2. Hard to prove intent.

    3. was it your marriage that got the threat? Or your politcal views ?

    4. race promoter should be disbarred.

    5. race promoter should be disbarred. Some people are still living in the Dark Ages.

    6. and 7. The only place where I've seen an active A-A club is Chicago. Not to say they don't exist elsewhere, but it seems that the sport just doesn't appeal to African Americans as much.

    Again, I'm happy to report that riders in our area welcome any rider.

    We'll never mention the color of your skin, but we reserve the right to give you a ton of grief over your choice of bikes.

  6. #6
    Senior Member billh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcasillo
    #3 isn't just a red flag. You need to get the moderator/admin of that message board to remove the offending remarks and personal info. If the mod/admin is worth his or her salt, he/she will lay down some law about acceptable posts. Physical threats? Maybe a call to your local PD is in order.

    Sorry to hear of this. I hope this doesn't deter you from riding and racing.
    Unfortunately, this message board was completely anonymous, voyforums.com, located in Santa Barbara, CA. The admin of the board was complicit in the threats. The board was finally taken down about 2 months after my initial complaints to the voyforums staff. I did file a complaint with the local PD but they did not subpeona voyforums or anything, just said they would put extra patrols around my house. No further threats I'm glad to say.

  7. #7
    pedal, paddle and plod
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    Happy to say that we don't have nearly as many of these episodes to report on here in my area.
    1. riding "too aggressively" isn't a cultural difference. It's just poor judgement.

    2. Hard to prove intent.

    3. was it your marriage that got the threat? Or your politcal views ?

    4. race promoter should be disbarred.

    5. race promoter should be disbarred. Some people are still living in the Dark Ages.

    6. and 7. The only place where I've seen an active A-A club is Chicago. Not to say they don't exist elsewhere, but it seems that the sport just doesn't appeal to African Americans as much.

    Again, I'm happy to report that riders in our area welcome any rider.

    We'll never mention the color of your skin, but we reserve the right to give you a ton of grief over your choice of bikes.

    I agree with the above response. It seems that, for the most part, that the billh is seeing racism where it really doesn't exist....especially the first two where race prob had nothing to do with it. And the last one is also seeing racism in the wrong light.....blaming "whitey" for the lack of black cyclist. That being said, billh may be racist himself for seeing things only thru a racist vision. I live in a town that is infamous for racism....and believe me it applies to all sides. All I can say is that remove the racism from your own heart first before throwing any stones.



    tomcat

  8. #8
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    People are judgementalists, that's just the way it is. Whether it's against black people, white people, asian people, Campy, Serotta, Brooks Brothers or JNCO, people on the whole don't like the opposite of what they are. I'm not saying everyone dislikes every opposite, but I'll bet a lot of you have a lot of disdain for fat people. Or unthinking motorists. Or communists. Or beggars on the street. Or rich people that don't need to work to buy a Colnago. We can't all get along. It's human nature. It's nature. Get over it.

    Cole
    I like my Madone.

  9. #9
    Senior Member billh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat
    I agree with the above response. It seems that, for the most part, that the billh is seeing racism where it really doesn't exist....especially the first two where race prob had nothing to do with it. And the last one is also seeing racism in the wrong light.....blaming "whitey" for the lack of black cyclist. That being said, billh may be racist himself for seeing things only thru a racist vision. I live in a town that is infamous for racism....and believe me it applies to all sides. All I can say is that remove the racism from your own heart first before throwing any stones.



    tomcat
    My point on #1 was that there are plenty of crashes where people get seriously injured and people go off even fight, but the rage after this particular crash was up a notch on the hostility scale. I thought they were going to lynch the guy.

    Yeah, no doubt even bringing up this topic shows that I'm thinking about race, and probably have some biased racial stereotypes embedded in my psyche; it's just little things keep adding up. Maybe I should just chalk it up to chance.

  10. #10
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billh
    Yeah, no doubt even bringing up this topic shows that I'm thinking about race, and probably have some biased racial stereotypes embedded in my psyche; it's just little things keep adding up. Maybe I should just chalk it up to chance.
    don't let it eat at you too much. when i lived in a poor neighborhood in brooklyn, and got called racial slurs often, i let it cloud my judgement too much. i slowly got dragged down to their level and suddenly i was looking at race all the time. i would be way too sensitive walking around and felt like people were staring me down when they weren't doing anything at all. you have to come to terms with yourself and try not to jump to conclusions. believe me, once you look hard enough, you can convience yourself of anything.

  11. #11
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billh
    My point on #1 was that there are plenty of crashes where people get seriously injured and people go off even fight, but the rage after this particular crash was up a notch on the hostility scale. I thought they were going to lynch the guy.

    Yeah, no doubt even bringing up this topic shows that I'm thinking about race, and probably have some biased racial stereotypes embedded in my psyche; it's just little things keep adding up. Maybe I should just chalk it up to chance.
    What your post lacks is any mention (I could see anyway) as to what caused the crash. Did he (whatever ethnic or racial background) do something stupid in a practice race, for gosh sakes, to create ire amongst the other riders...I've seen guys do some really dumb stuff in practice crits because they really suck on the weekend.

    FWIW...I saw similar things happen between Flemish and French speaking riders in Belgium...same race and nationality, just different areas of the country speaking different languages...

  12. #12
    Senior Member billh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior
    What your post lacks is any mention (I could see anyway) as to what caused the crash. Did he (whatever ethnic or racial background) do something stupid in a practice race, for gosh sakes, to create ire amongst the other riders...I've seen guys do some really dumb stuff in practice crits because they really suck on the weekend.

    FWIW...I saw similar things happen between Flemish and French speaking riders in Belgium...same race and nationality, just different areas of the country speaking different languages...
    I didn't witness it personally. This was the "A" race, CAt 1, 2, coming up to the final sprint, which was on a car race track so partially hid from view by a building. The claim was that the black guy made some sort of aggressive move, like cutting in front of someone. The guy was fast. I saw him come from the back of the pack in a race later that year and pass a bunch of guys to finish top 3. The guy he allegedly crashed out was a very popular racer and now a local Shimano rep. He required plastic surgery to repair his face. So . . . I don't really know who caused what. I just saw a lot of guys yelling at officials and looking like they were going to rip someone's head off. Maybe race had nothing to do with it. Then again, taken with all the other little things involving race, maybe it was a factor.

  13. #13
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    Guy you're in Missouri, I seriously doubt the problem is within the club so much as within the community at large. I've seen similar attitudes farther south and I relate it to most high end racers being white and middle class or better in income not with the hobby they choose. They may be better at disguising it and feeling confidently open-minded in their newly learned methods of political correctness but the fear remains.

  14. #14
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat
    I agree with the above response. It seems that, for the most part, that the billh is seeing racism where it really doesn't exist....especially the first two where race prob had nothing to do with it. And the last one is also seeing racism in the wrong light.....blaming "whitey" for the lack of black cyclist. That being said, billh may be racist himself for seeing things only thru a racist vision. I live in a town that is infamous for racism....and believe me it applies to all sides. All I can say is that remove the racism from your own heart first before throwing any stones.



    tomcat

    I watched the movie about little rock and those (its hard to catorgize) but african american kids with all that stuff, was pretty inyteresting.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Damn. I live in South Carolina, but that crap doesn't go on with us. We all train and race together, only separated by age, sex, and ability.

    There is an African-American cycling club in Atlanta. I rode with them for about 45 miles at the 2002 Claxton Century.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billh
    I didn't witness it personally. This was the "A" race, CAt 1, 2, coming up to the final sprint, which was on a car race track so partially hid from view by a building. The claim was that the black guy made some sort of aggressive move, like cutting in front of someone. The guy was fast. I saw him come from the back of the pack in a race later that year and pass a bunch of guys to finish top 3. The guy he allegedly crashed out was a very popular racer and now a local Shimano rep. He required plastic surgery to repair his face. So . . . I don't really know who caused what. I just saw a lot of guys yelling at officials and looking like they were going to rip someone's head off. Maybe race had nothing to do with it. Then again, taken with all the other little things involving race, maybe it was a factor.
    I guess if people were yelling racial slurs or stating that this happened, "because he's black" or something to that effect, then you might have an issue. But if he did something stupid (like cutting off someone in a sprint in a practice race and seriously injuring them) then I suspect the other riders had an issue with him...
    I'd be pretty ticked off, too, if I got seriously hurt in a practice race...and that might have been the source of everyone's irritation.
    Plastic surgery from a conditioning race on a weeknight....yeah, I'd be p!ssed off...

  17. #17
    Senior Member Cycleman1958's Avatar
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    Move to Seattle. Nothing like that here.

  18. #18
    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Are cyclist racist? Is there a section of the population that is racist? The answer is yes so I would believe that a section of the cycling population would be racist also. Just like there are some that are gay, jewish, chatholic, democrat and republican. I don't believe that that it's a systemic problem, I'm always amazed at these types of threads because it makes it seem as if cyclists are different from the rest of the population. We are all people, just people who happen to ride bikes. We are still subject to the same faults that anyother person is subject too.

  19. #19
    pedal, paddle and plod
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    Bicycling is just another of many sports that doesn't have many African Americans. I also paddle whitewater kayaks and there are very few Afro-Americans. Does that make kayakers racist? No. It's simply issues of socio-economics, culture, etc. Different strokes for different folks. I have found that when I see blacks or other minorities involved in these sports that most people go out of their way to be open and friendly.


    tomcat

  20. #20
    Boffin TitaniuMerlin's Avatar
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    I think you have to take several things into account. In general, African-Americans have lower incomes then most whites so cant neccesarily afford a road bike, let alone be on a team and whatnot. I am not racist or anything, but if you look at the groups of people who live in poverty and the such, they are mostly minorities. There was one famous black-cyclist in the states 60 - 80 years ago, forget his name, but he was around when velodrome (not circular tracks, but crisscrossing ones) were very big in the US (Pre-WWII i believe) and the tracks were made out of wood. There was one in MSG too. Cycling doesnt get as much publicity as sports such as Soccer and Football in the US, so that can contribute to it too. Back in the day, many sports were only for rich-white-people, and some still are (golfing, for example, is predominantly white - golf club memberships, sweaters, etc) so i think that is why there are very few black people who race.
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  21. #21
    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TitaniuMerlin
    I think you have to take several things into account. In general, African-Americans have lower incomes then most whites so cant neccesarily afford a road bike, let alone be on a team and whatnot. I am not racist or anything, but if you look at the groups of people who live in poverty and the such, they are mostly minorities. There was one famous black-cyclist in the states 60 - 80 years ago, forget his name, but he was around when velodrome (not circular tracks, but crisscrossing ones) were very big in the US (Pre-WWII i believe) and the tracks were made out of wood. There was one in MSG too. Cycling doesnt get as much publicity as sports such as Soccer and Football in the US, so that can contribute to it too. Back in the day, many sports were only for rich-white-people, and some still are (golfing, for example, is predominantly white - golf club memberships, sweaters, etc) so i think that is why there are very few black people who race.
    His name was Major Taylor and he was a world champion track rider. It's more than just the economic issue. Look at who an African American kid or an Latin American kid has as a sports role model. African Americans dominate football and basketball while Latin athletes are very prominent in baseball. Also there is the fact that cyclings farm league doesn't start untill a kid is in his or her teens. By that time most kids have played soccer, pee-wee football, basketball or softball. No matter what your ethnic background there is little on no exposure to cycling at a very young age. Add to that the fact that for the most part cycling is sport that is hard to understand from a team aspect. Most people look at it as an individual sport which, after years of playing team sports, doesn't appeal to many kids. It's hard to walk around campus in your team kit as opposed to a lettermans jacket. Then there is the reward factor. When a kid practicing his free-throws thinks that he can sign a "LeBron James contract" right out of high school that's pretty enticing.

    I would also be very curious as to how many of us who took up cycling were not very good at stick and ball sports. If I had been a good football player (my favorite s&b sport) I may never have developed an interest in bike racing. The fact of the matter is I'm a dog slow runner but for some reason I'm reasonably fast on a bike (I know different muscle groups). I was also a 135# in high school with about 3" vertical leap and I hate baseball.

    I can think of several sports that minorities have very low participation in. Auto racing, golf, tennis, swimming, water polo, gynastics the list goes on. With exception of golf and tennis, due to the "clubs" associated with those sports, I don't see that it's rasism that keeps minorities from participating. BTW if it matters I'm hispanic.
    Last edited by 2Rodies; 02-04-05 at 10:43 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat
    Bicycling is just another of many sports that doesn't have many African Americans. I also paddle whitewater kayaks and there are very few Afro-Americans. Does that make kayakers racist? No. It's simply issues of socio-economics, culture, etc. Different strokes for different folks. I have found that when I see blacks or other minorities involved in these sports that most people go out of their way to be open and friendly.


    tomcat
    Kayakers are racist, man... They really scare me.

    Koffee

  23. #23
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    The fact is that the world is full of bigots. Take me for example.... or all the black preachers railing against gays and lesbians....

    However, I think that socio-economic disparities contribute to some sports continuing to be 'white' long after other sports have successfully integrated...cycling is one of those sports. Another is lacrosse (mid-western & western cyclist may not be familiar with this sport). On the eastern seaboard, lacrosse is a big-time club, high school and college sport. Public schools have teams, but the private schools live and breath lacrosse and hence, the Division I college teams are almost 100 percent white. Local Baltimore private high schools routinely send 10 or so kids per year to full-boat scholarships to Ivy League schools to play lacrosse.

    I would pay to see a 275 lbs, 5 percent body-fat, pro draft material division I linebacker play lacrosse. Those white boys would run the other way….

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    Kayakers are racist, man... They really scare me.

    Koffee
    hey...just because we're men who wear skirts, talk about ferries (or worse...blowing ferries), doing enders and squirts, and the length of our shafts doesn't mean with bigots.

    tomcat

  25. #25
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    Man, that's inflammatory talk! You better watch that mouth of yours!



    Koffee

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