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Old 05-22-11, 09:28 AM   #1
Chaco
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Why is bicycling so eurocentric?

My wife and I have been watching the Giro and the Tour of California this week. She asked me why there aren't more African-Americans, Asians, etc. in the sport -- in other words, why it is so eurocentric.

I really didn't have a good answer. I know that the sport started in Europe, but it seems like now it would have much more representation from other parts of the world besides the US, Canada, Australia, NZ, and a few countries in Latin America. I can see that economics must be a part of it, just like golf. After all, basketball, football, baseball, and track just require a couple of hundred dollars at most to get started, while bicycling and golf would probably set you back a couple of thousand dollars. But there's got to be more to it than that.

I see some minorities in the club where I ride, but hardly representative of the city as a whole.

Curious about what other people think.
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Old 05-22-11, 10:24 AM   #2
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Cycling is expensive. Instead of asking why there aren't more minorities, ask why there aren't more poor people. Look at the list of top cycling countries and a list of highest GDP countries. As Americans we are trained from a young age to look at the world through the lens of race, when most of the actual differences between people have to do with money and privilege.
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Old 05-22-11, 10:26 AM   #3
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I never thought of cycling as being eurocentric. I don't think it is.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-22-11, 10:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
Curious about what other people think.
I would consider professional bicycle racing as a tiny subset of bicycling and of insignificant interest to the vast majority of bicyclists including daily cyclists in Europe. About on the same level as the Ky Derby is to the general public. Once or twice a year it is in the news and then forgotten about except for the afficiandoes who make up a tiny slice of the population.
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Old 05-22-11, 11:20 AM   #5
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Show me the money....
Its much easier for a poor promising sportsman to make big bucks in mainstream sport where you have college scholarships. Work out the number of people who make a good living in the USA from football, basketball, maybe ice hockey then do the same for running, cycling and swimming.

In the UK, all the promising sportsmen are sucked up by our proper football (soccer) system who have talent scouts, youth programmes, football academies and juicy contracts for hundreds/thousands of players every year.

The exception that proves the rule is Columbia.
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Old 05-22-11, 11:41 AM   #6
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Bicycle racing i.e. professional cycling requires lots of money. But people in Asia cycle more than those in the US because they can't afford a car.
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Old 05-22-11, 11:45 AM   #7
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Chaco, Quite possibly the race using bicycles most often are asian, only they aren't on camera too often.

I like the KY Derby reference, but differently. What you see on the tube are hyper aerobic humans within a preferable size to power ratio body, a very small percentage of humans on the whole.

Perhaps the premier reason is interest, for some surely economics is also a factor.

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Old 05-22-11, 11:57 AM   #8
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I like the KY Derby reference, but differently. What you see on the tube are hyper aerobic humans within a preferable size to power ratio body, a very small percentage of humans on the whole.

Perhaps the premier reason is interest, for some surely economics is also a factor.
Brad
Brad,

Jockeys are a very special breed of athlete, some of whom are compensated quite well.
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Old 05-22-11, 12:39 PM   #9
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MTB racing used to be dominated by Americans (a couple of the REALLY big names were of Hispanic descent), then the Euros finally figured it out in the mid 90s.

If you want some Asian persuasion there's always Keirin racing. Doesn't get much airplay here, but neither does track racing of any sort.

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Old 05-22-11, 12:43 PM   #10
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Brad,

Jockeys are a very special breed of athlete, some of whom are compensated quite well.
Wow, that chick is short and that jockey is fat
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Old 05-22-11, 02:51 PM   #11
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Asian men can't get as juiced as they will grow hair on parts of their body they are unaccustomed to it growing on. Ha Ha just kidding.
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Old 05-22-11, 04:10 PM   #12
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I don't know. In the US it's mostly that most people don't bike ride. I mean I see a lot of bikes, but that's like... yeah, 50 or 100 or 200 pedestrians per 1 bike, just 'cause I see 3 or 4 bikes a mile once or twice a week for a half hour on a sunny day... there's not a lot of bikes around, I'm just noticing when everyone comes out.

As for what other people think, the general consensus among people I've had to deal with growing up is that black people on bikes are all riding stolen bikes. No joke. This is the immediate assumption when most people I've met see a black person on a bike. I've tried pointing out that the population distribution of the city I'm in is skewed so much that there's not that many bikes to steal (there are more bicycles than white people in this city by like 200 times), but all I get is more racist comments.

So I would ignore what other people think, because growing up has taught me that other people are dumb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikephoros View Post
Instead of asking why there aren't more minorities, ask why there aren't more poor people.
See? Immediate insinuation that the answer is "black people are all poor." QED.

Is there a corollary to Godwin's Law for this?


Bonus points: When I bought a bike, my dad's first 30 comments were 30 different ways to say I was going to get jumped by black people and have my bike stolen in the first week. Welcome to America, the never-ending race war. I hope we never forget that we're different; I just want everyone to figure out how very little those differences matter.

Issues of race are only significant when they involve a hot Asian chick...
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Old 05-22-11, 04:18 PM   #13
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And of course Bicycles are #61 on the list of Stuff That White People Like.
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Old 05-22-11, 05:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
My wife and I have been watching the Giro and the Tour of California this week. She asked me why there aren't more African-Americans, Asians, etc. in the sport -- in other words, why it is so eurocentric.
Why not visit Atlanta? You may change your mind.
---> http://www.maccattack.com/
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Old 05-22-11, 06:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Nikephoros View Post
As Americans we are trained from a young age to look at the world through the lens of race, when most of the actual differences between people have to do with money and privilege.
Please speak for yourself. I know many other Americans, in addition to myself where that is not true. Such stereotypes are the basis of racism and most other "isms"
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Old 05-22-11, 08:06 PM   #16
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Why not visit Atlanta? You may change your mind.
---> http://www.maccattack.com/
Now that was very encouraging!
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Old 05-22-11, 09:27 PM   #17
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cycling is huge in asian countries and in south america...but probably the "euro" peloton is more 'white'.
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Old 05-22-11, 09:47 PM   #18
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White people just don't like to be beaten by black people in anything so naturally they fix the game to exclude the athletically superior blacks or just abandon the sport alltogether once the athletically superior blacks can no longer be excluded. The practice was far more out in the open in the past when racial segregation was commonplace and legal, but these days it has to be undertaken covertly.
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Old 05-22-11, 10:55 PM   #19
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I just got done watching UCI MTB World Cup #2 and there was some Asian action towards the top of the ladies field.

#5 was Chinese
#25 was Japanese.
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Old 05-22-11, 11:03 PM   #20
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interesting, how does this work now?
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Old 05-23-11, 12:07 AM   #21
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And of course Bicycles are #61 on the list of Stuff That White People Like.
Combined with the fact that most Americans are "The Wrong Kind of White People"....
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Old 05-23-11, 12:19 AM   #22
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Before there was Lance Armstrong, before there was Greg Lemond, there was Major Taylor. The first American cycling superstar was black.

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Old 05-23-11, 02:32 PM   #23
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Your issue is with Television Coverage of Cycling by a US Television cable channel.

the perception is that no one rides bikes anywhere

if they are not being carried on your local ,TV provider?

You have to go to the other countrys to know what they cover on their TV stations.
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Old 05-23-11, 02:47 PM   #24
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Your issue is with Television Coverage of Cycling by a US Television cable channel.

the perception is that no one rides bikes anywhere

if they are not being carried on your local ,TV provider?

You have to go to the other countrys to know what they cover on their TV stations.
OK, I see I should have asked about bicycle racing, not just bicycling. That said, should I infer from your statement that other countries besides the ones we see in the TDF, GDI, TOC, etc. are producing lots of racers? Or should I infer that the other countries like biking -- just not the kind I was asking about? I could certainly understand that - similar to American football vs. football in the rest of the world, which we call soccer.
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Old 05-23-11, 05:53 PM   #25
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Have you ever seen Japanese track racing, it is huge! It is just not popular here in the states. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keirin

You may also want to consider cultural differences as well. Although most asian countries dominate with public bike riding, historically it was frowned upon to be different or "competitive" amongst others in your own country. It wasn't until 10 yrs ago that this viewpoint has shifted i.e. Yao Ming, Ichiro Suzuki, etc.

One other advantage other regions have is weather. Australia, New Zealand, North America - all have temperant weathers with some months being realistic for competitive cycling. Try going to Southeast Asia and cycling competitively 9 months out of the year - unheard of.
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