The Grind is a weekly column on all things gravel.
Ride for Racial Justice and SBT GRVL partnered to expand diversity and equity in cycling by reserving 25 entries for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) cyclists for the 2021 gravel race in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The 2020 edition of SBT GRVL sold out all 2,500 spots in 22 minutes.
Additionally, the SBT GRVL X RFRJ BIPOC Athlete Program will include financial help for each of the 25 riders for related costs like transportation, lodging, coaching, and gear.
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Ride for Racial Justice is a Colorado non-profit founded this June by Marcus Robinson and Neal Henderson.
“In cycling, we often say that everyone is welcome at the race start line, but that is not always the case,” Robinson said. “So many athletes from the BIPOC community express that they often feel marginalized or have experienced overt racism at cycling races and events, and it’s our duty to collectively change that. Our new partnership and program between our organizations set a precedent in creating a tone of inclusivity, equity, and safety not only at SBT GRVL, but for other race directors to follow suit and create a model for change and diversity from local to national race level.”
BIPOC cyclists of all disciplines are invited to apply to the SBT GRVL X RFRJ BIPOC Athlete Program.
“We are honored to partner with the Ride for Racial Justice team and excited to be a part of this unique opportunity to foster inclusivity in the gravel community,” said SBT GRVL co-founder Amy Charity, who has made a point of expanding female participation at the event. “Growing from our core values of parity and inclusivity, the RFRJ program continues to build upon our initial goal and commitment to increase diversity at our event. This is another step towards driving lasting positive change in cycling.”
The application program will be open from November 18 through December 2 via at the SBT GRVL website. Submissions will be reviewed by the Ride for Racial Justice team based on select criteria, including being a BIPOC cyclist who is 18 or older, working towards change in the sport, and a history of being an active community member and steward with goals to use the opportunity to make a profound impact. Recipients will be announced in mid-December 2020.
Ride for Racial Justice and SBT GRVL are also accepting donations to help fund the program via GoFundMe.
SBT GRVL held its inaugural race in August 2019. It made such a splash that U.S. gravel racers and VeloNews nominated it as one of five Monuments of Gravel. It was not held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Next year the race is scheduled to again have four route distances, from 37 to 145 miles.