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Representation Matters: Check out These Inspiring Black Cyclists
Lindsay Goldman shares the mic by sharing the Black endurance sport voices she is following.
By Lindsay Goldman, pro-cyclist
If you’ve visited the Saris blog before, you’ve probably read about my experiences, tips, and tricks for life on the trainer. If you’re new here, here’s the short version: I ride the trainer a lot even in non-pandemic times, it’s a great training tool, it’s definitely tedious and challenging on the best of days, there are ways you can make it more enjoyable but like Novocain at the dentist’s office, there’s only so much that can be done so embrace the suffering and reap the benefits.
But mine is not the voice we need now. The endurance sports community is filled with strong, passionate Black voices worth hearing and many of them haven’t gotten the attention they deserve. Conversations about riding, training, sweating, suffering, commuting, communing, and everything else we do around bikes are not complete without including everybody who rides.
With that in mind, I’d like to introduce some of my favorite Black riders, some of whom I’ve met in real life and others I’ve only known through social media. Following their stories makes my cycling world a bigger, brighter place and I’d encourage you to check them out and look for other awesome riders to support across our community. Inclusiveness starts with each of us welcoming and supporting each other equally, and surely we can all unite around the common belief that indoor riding is uncomfortable.
Patricia McNeal made headlines when she – a stroke survivor and grandmother of four – rode from Panama City, Florida, to Los Angeles. And while that remains a nearly unbeatable feat even in the face of what seems like today’s nonstop Everesting efforts, what really shines about Patricia is her attitude. She always has a smiling photo, an uplifting message, and a kind word to share. Even when her bike was stolen from inside a Target a few months ago, she kept up her positive spirits, borrowed a bike to keep pedaling, and didn’t miss a beat in promoting Stroke Awareness Month. As soon as the threat of COVID dies down, she’s planning to take on a ride up the whole East Coast, so give her follow and send some encouraging messages her way.
I saw Yusef Logan as he commented on a few posts around the cycling community and his fierce determination and positive attitude led me to check out his profile. Now I’m one of his biggest fans – he went from being 300 pounds to going all in on a fitness journey with a goal of being the best track cyclist in the world and what’s not to love about that level of determination? His goal is to come into the cycling world on a skeleton budget and make an impact, showing people that anyone can get into cycling and have a great time while getting in shape. Yusef shares stories and motivational bits from his nonstop training efforts, including weightlifting, running, and regular trainer sessions. While I’ll never understand his love of burning scented candles during trainer rides (I would definitely barf), I’ll never get tired of watching him burn a candle at both ends chasing his dream.
Charon Smith is a legend in the SoCal cycling community and the greater American cycling scene known for his killer sprint and his work with Methods to Winning alongside Rahsaan Bahati and Justin Williams. I seek out his posts across social media for a regular dose of wisdom, strength, and positivity. He shared a thought on Instagram a few weeks back saying, “One other last thing I always do before hitting share is say a quick prayer: help this post to help someone.” Charon doesn’t shy away from hard topics or hard rides, but takes both on with a grace and power few people achieve and his wise words often inspire me to be a tougher rider and a better human. If you haven’t seen the trailer for Chocolate Rockets yet, check it out because this will surely be one of best, most exciting cycling documentaries of the decade.
Elijah Hughley is a young cyclist out of Atlanta, GA, who was kind enough to keep me company on a group ride with his Mission Devo Cycling team last Thanksgiving. Although we disagreed strongly about the virtues of Swiss cheese (Elijah, I’m sorry, but it’s disgusting), it was great to meet an up-and-coming road and track cyclist and it’s always inspiring to follow the next generation of American riders.
Jools Walker is worth following for the eye candy of her gorgeous style alone but she also offers up passionate, frank thoughts on her Instagram and VeloCityGirl blog. Off the Internet, she’s an award-winning public speaker and the author of Back in the Frame (How to get back on your bike, whatever life throws at you). Jools serves up smart, engaging insights to educate and motivate riders around the world, make cycling accessible for all, and advocate for women to have a voice and place in the sport.
Dani Johnson is a pro downhill racer and her Instagram is full of photos of videos of impressive mountain biking feats that would land me in the hospital or at least cost me a few teeth and broken bones. But she’s not just skilled on the bike; she also runs track for University of Colorado, making her a fierce athlete on and off the bike.
Black Girls Do Bike is an organization with chapters across America with the purpose of growing and supporting a community of women of color who share a passion for cycling. Each chapter is led by a “Shero” who takes the lead during rides and events and engages the group online to support riders, motivate the group, and build the community. The BGDB Instagram page showcases the strength and excitement of these women around the country and offers a welcoming, inspiring space for girls and women to join the community.
Lindsay Goldman is now the Director of Marketing for Eliel and Wattie Ink. after spending 2015-2019 managing and racing for the Hagens Berman Women’s Pro Cycling team. This year would have marked her eighth year racing professionally on the road, had there actually been any races. Instead, Lindsay has focused on training on road and gravel, diving into a new role at a cycling and triathlon apparel company based in Southern California, and navigating the sometimes terrible twos with her toddler. She splits her time between Oceanside, CA, and Scottsdale, AZ, and – despite living in two of the most pleasant climates in the world – still rides her Saris trainer several days a week. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @thedirtfield.