Culture

VN Podcast: The Major Taylor Iron Riders on racism, inclusion, and cycling’s diversity problem

Five members of the Major Taylor Iron Riders club discuss cycling's hurdles with racism and diversity, and explain how their club succeeds with African American, Asian, and Latino riders.

Our reporting on American cycling’s problems with racism and diversity continues this week as we speak with five board members of the Major Taylor Iron Riders club. The club members are: Patrick Merosier, Natasha Merle, Chris Hasfal, Darrell Tucker, and club president Dereka Hendon-Barnes.

Merosier, Hasfal, Tucker, and two other club members. Photo: Major Taylor Iron Riders

MTIR is based in New York City and it is comprised largely of African American, Latino, and Caribbean American riders. The club is one of the most visible ones in the tri-state region, due to its large membership and its stylish kits.

The five members of the club discuss the racism and bias they have felt in the cycling world, and how the exclusionary and clique-ish nature of the racing scene can be a turnoff to minorities. The club members also discuss the different challenges in cycling they face due to the color of their skin. Why is MTIR so successful at bringing minority cyclists to our sport? It’s a feeling of inclusion and community and comfort, say the club members.

Club president Dereka Hendon-Barnes. Photo: Major Taylor Iron Riders

This week’s episode is sponsored by Whoop, the performance tool that is changing the way people track their fitness and optimize their training. Whoop tracks your heart rate and gives you a strain scores that lets you know how strenuous your training was on your body, with additional information around your sleep and recovery to tell you how well your body rebounds from training. Right now, listeners can get 15 percent off a Whoop device by going to www.whoop.com and using the code ‘VELONEWS’ at checkout.