Author Topic: Racism  (Read 9952 times)

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Offline rubytopaz

« on: February 03, 2006, 10:17:00 am »
I am very interested in traveling by bike in the US. My biggest fear in
doing this is that of racism. I usually travel alone when I tour and this
is what keeps me from doing this in your country. Are there any
African American Cyclists (AAC) traveling by bike? And if so perhaps
could share your stories.

This message was edited by rubytopaz on 2-5-06 @ 12:41 PM


  • Guest
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2006, 02:30:21 pm »
White on black, black on white, black on black, and white on white crimes are always possible, though in rural areas not likely.

Some people will always resent those with the time and money to spend months bicycle touring.  Others are just mean.  In rural areas, white on black crime is likely not meaningfully more prevalent than black on white crime.  It is not useful to debate the relative likelihood of two improbable events.

IMHO, if you were to be attacked, it would be more because you were a vulnerable target, than solely because of your race.  If you are still concerned for your safety you should not tour alone.  Plenty of people will tour with you if you are flexible about your itinerary.    

Offline rubytopaz

« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2006, 03:02:14 pm »
Cyclesafe: Thanks for your response. However, it's not a debate that I was looking to start here. As my post stated, I'm looking for stories from AAC with regard to their experience of racism whle cycling in America. It is my sincere hope that I will receive posts that are positive which would help curtail my fears not exacerbate them.

The possibility of being hit up-side-the-head because I'm traveling alone with an expensive rig is something that I'm always on the look out for, even while commuting to work. I guess my point is, is that I don't see many AAC when I'm on the road. And I would like to hear from men and women that do. You know, like, "Black people don't skate!".

Offline DaveB

« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2006, 04:55:00 pm »
There are several chapters of the "Major Taylor Bicycle Club" that you could contact.  I expect their members would have the information you are looking for.

Offline rubytopaz

« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2006, 07:54:49 pm »
Thank you so much for the info. I'll let you know how it goes...

Offline ptaylor

« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2006, 03:49:58 pm »
This could be an interesting discussion. Im Caucasian, so I have never walked in your shoes. It is true that there are very few African American recreational cyclists in the US.  The local recreational club I am in is perhaps only 2% black. Those riders are accepted as equals by their fellow members. Interestingly, there are no Hispanics in the club; Hispanics are the second largest minority group in the US.

Your post has gotten me to wondering why.  Im guessing that it is a matter of economics. Recreational cycling is an expensive sport, and these two minority groups (on average) have below average income levels in the US.

To address your original post, I dont think you should have any concerns about safety due to your race.  Although America is sometimes a violent place, acts of aggression due simply to race are virtually unheard of.  

One other thing I will mention which may alleviate your concerns: most touring is done in rural areas and small towns. These parts of America are second to none in hospitality.

I would love to have you as a riding partner.


Offline rubytopaz

« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2006, 04:33:09 pm »
Hi "Gramps",
Thank you for your encouraging comments. The economic thing is
something that my riding partner and I have often discussed. And
you're right it's not a cheap sport to launch into financially or time
wise. It reminded me of a conversation that I had with my niece just 3
days ago. She's heard of my long distance riding and asked me to help
her choose a bike and then do some riding/training with her in prep to
accompany me on a trip. She said, so, I should be able to get a good
bike for what about $200.00? As you know, even a reasonably priced
bike's wheel can cost more than that. I did, however, get her use to the
idea of shelling out about $500.00 for a decent bike. I'm hoping to get
some other family members interested in the sport as well. Apparently
it's tax time and the rebates are flowing.

Should any of your riding partners of colour decide to share any
experiences I'd be grateful to hear form them.

I'm a grandfather too. Perhaps we will ride together sometime...

This message was edited by rubytopaz on 2-5-06 @ 12:41 PM

Offline ptaylor

« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2006, 05:48:43 pm »
If your tour takes you through South Bend, Indiana, let me know:

South Bends's claim to fame is The University of Notre Dame. I'll have a hot shower and a soft bed awaiting you. Maybe even some Texas Chili!


Offline mbrowne

« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2006, 07:10:03 am »

Thank you for your post. I am a "neebee" to the cycling world, but I am fast becoming a fan and a believer of the liberating power of cycling. Your comments put me in the mind of a movie I have seen, twice,called "Crash". I think this is a must see for all people, especially Americans.
I wanted to share an email I got recently, followed by a link to my jobs website.

Check out this site people;

Major Taylor Cycling Clubs are growing!

Keep the Faith!
Mario (aka Freedom Rider)

Offline ptaylor

« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2006, 07:38:53 pm »
Interesting comments. I have ridden the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis Indiana (USA). I was not racing - I'm scared !@#$$%^& of racing, but it was inspiring. If you are ever in Indianapolis (the world capitol of amature athletics), contact The Indiana Bicycle Coalition, and they may be able to get you some track time. They even have some fixed gear bikes you can borrow!


Offline geegee

« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2006, 06:36:59 pm »
RubyTopaz, I'd like to know where you are from and where you've
toured. I'm not sure where you get your impressions and fears
regarding touring in the US. I'm not downplaying the dangers but the
USA is so diverse. If you travelled across the north, I'd say your
encounters with racism would be very slim.

I had the same concerns when I toured eastern Europe. I'm Asian and
the chances of seeing an oriental face in Slovenia and Croatia are pretty
rare. Add to that my complete ignorance of any slavic language and the
fact that my rig probably totalled a year's wages in some of those
countries. Aside from some rude service I got in eastern Germany and
some guy in the czech republic staring at me and humming a
stereotypical pentatonic scale, I encountered no harm and had a really
great time. I realized a lot of my fears were imagined.

This message was edited by geeg on 2-23-06 @ 6:23 AM

Offline valygrl

« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2006, 08:05:21 pm »
Sad to hear our reputation abroad is so poor. I hope we don't live up to it.  

As a white jewish woman, I can't contribute any relevant anecdotes, but I could suggest a route:  The Pacific Coast takes you through some of the most beautiful terrain the USA has to offer, as well as through some of the more liberal / progressive / hopefully less racist areas.  It's hard to imagine you would encounter much overt or dangerous racism.  The camping is stellar - lots of state park campgrounds with hiker/biker sites, often right on the beach - and the scenery unparalleled.  Services are plentiful, weather is excellent.  The 4 big cities you will encounter are progressive and cycle friendly.  The redneck factor is low, except perhaps in a few parts of northern california.

The deep south might be anther matter.  I personally have avoided the TransAm because I don't want to ride there, due to social and canine concerns.  In addition, just in terms of cycling (not locals), I personally wouldn't bother crossing the great plains ever again - too flat and uniform for my taste.

Anyway, I hope our reputation doesn't scare you off.  


This message was edited by valygrl on 2-25-06 @ 4:09 PM