Culture

Trek, Specialized move to boost diversity

UCI defends its track record in promoting cycling in non-traditional countries.

Two of cycling’s biggest brands — Trek and Specialized — vow to promote diversity in the cycling community.

In a pair of initiatives revealed Tuesday in light of a growing conversation about inclusion and access across the bike industry, the bike manufacturers promised to deliver on a wide range of initiatives.

California-based Specialized said it will donate $10 million over the next three years to the nonprofit Outride organization as well as increase its support of the Legion of Los Angeles Elite Cycling Team.

Trek, based in Wisconsin, unfolded a series of steps, including a commitment to creating 1,000 industry jobs for people of color, building more bike shops in underserved neighborhoods, establishing a $1 million community investment fund, a scholarship program to support NICA teams with diverse backgrounds, and create a more diverse culture within the company.

Trek did not initially make a statement about its police bike program, but released a separate statement, posted on Bicycle Retailer. There’s been growing pressure for the company to end its police bike program after media reports linked police nationwide using bikes, including Treks, as weapons at protests. Last week, the North American distributor of Fuji bikes, BikeCo, announced it was suspending its police bike program.

“Recently we have seen photos and video of Trek bikes that have been used by police in ways that are abhorrent and vastly different from their intended use,” a Trek statement read. “For over 25 years, we have seen police on bikes, out of cruisers and offices, building relationships in the neighborhoods they serve. The past two weeks have turned the view of police on bikes from a community asset to a liability. A positive outcome of the recent protests is that we are starting to see real police reform being discussed at local and national levels. We believe bikes can play a positive role by continuing to get officers out of cars and armored trucks and into the community where trust can be built.”

In its statement Tuesday, Trek outlined six key steps it promises to take to in the coming months. Read the full statement here.

“At Trek, we recognize we can do much more to work towards racial equity,” a statement read. “We are dedicated to learning, changing, and taking action—and this begins with committing to a plan to address systemic racism. We believe Black lives matter and that Black, African American, and other people of color throughout this country do not have the same opportunities that white people have.”

Specialized, meanwhile, promised more money for Outride, a nonprofit group promoting youth cycling.

“As I reflect on the current protest movement, I recognize that cycling, which can have such a positive impact on people’s lives, also has a problem with race, and Specialized has contributed to that problem,” Specialized founder and CEO Mike Sinyard said in a statement announcing the donations.”But I truly believe that in moments of crisis, we have the greatest opportunity for making a change, and a difference.”

The moves come as many within the bike industry confront questions about inclusion and diversity in the wake of national protests triggered by the death of George Floyd by police. USA Cycling recently outlined new steps it promises to take, while clothing brand Rapha also said it’s committed to promoting change in the cycling culture.

UCI defends diversity programs

The UCI defended its track record Tuesday, saying its commitment to diversity is outlined in its governing body documents, such as its constitution and code of ethics. The international governing body also said it supports the development of cycling in non-traditional nations via respective federations, and highlighted how the World Cycling Center in Switzerland helps train and coach emerging international talent.

“Cycling is a universal activity and we must continue our commitment to ensuring that it is similarly accessible at all levels and in all its forms across the globe,” a UCI statement read. “While the death of George Floyd has resulted in a wave of indignation worldwide, riders’ testimonies explaining they have been subject to racism because they have black skin sends us a message concerning our responsibilities.”