How can the cycling community (as a whole) be more inclusive moving forward?
Jools: When I got back on a bike and into cycling over a decade ago, the community that I ended up falling in with had been incredible. They welcomed me with open arms. There was the encouragement to try different disciplines of cycling. There was the meeting of other people through cycling groups but I didn’t know that anything like that existed. But there is always going to be more work to be done and more ways in which to be inclusive. And this is something that I along with some other folks out there have been talking about a lot. Because it’s a hot topic of conversation that’s not just going to go away. And having met people who are allies in cycling is amazing. But to be an ally you need to do something more than just acting performatively.
For example, the black squares on social media. What happens beyond them? There’s the element of doing something like that. It’s all good—you’ve shown your solidarity and then a couple of weeks later you just move on. Everything gets back to normal. Whatever normal is for you. So being an ally, doing it more than just performatively you need to call out inequality and you need to call out the problems when you see them. And you need to hold people, including companies and the industry as a whole, to account for it. You can’t just stick your head above the power pit and then just be like ‘right, I’ve done what I need to do’ and I’m gone. You need to mean it and stand by it... It’s impossible not to feel skeptical when there is this sudden outpower of talk with buzzwords like, ‘diversity’ and ‘equality’ and ‘inclusion’ and ‘mission statement’ that you’re going to put out there and all of these strategies that you’re going to work with to make you as a company or as a brand or whatever better. And then you don’t follow through with it. That’s the thing that gets very painful and very exhausting.
You shouldn’t have to wait for a terrible tragic event or some marker to happen before you feel like you need to do something. But if you’re going to do something, keep the momentum going. Don’t just revert back to what you were doing before. You have to say it with your whole chest.