USA Cycling’s black eye

April 28, 2013 § 154 Comments

USA Cycling hates black people.

You think that’s an exaggeration? I don’t. And in fact, it’s hardly surprising. African-Americans have been discriminated against in the sport of cycling since its very inception. The greatest American bike racer of all time, and one of the greatest athletes ever, Major Taylor, was a black man. Virtually every race he ever started began and ended with racial epithets, threats of violence, and race hatred of the worst kind.

Cycling’s hatred of black people was global. When Taylor went to Europe and destroyed the best track racers in the world on their home turf, founder of the Tour de France Henri Desgrange, a noted racist, was so incensed that he refused to pay Taylor’s prize money in banknotes and insisted that he be paid in one-centime pieces.

Taylor quit the sport he dominated because he couldn’t take the relentless racial hatred. He died a pauper.

White people succeed, black people are a threat

The history of most major American sports goes like this: White people create the sport and set up the rules so that black people can’t play. African-Americans begin playing in segregated leagues, and they are so good that some white team somewhere decides it would rather risk the wrath of segregationists than keep losing, so it recruits a star black player.

The black player stomps the snot out of the white players, sets records, and generally blows away the competition. All the while he’s doing this, the athlete deals with death threats, constant harassment, segregated facilities, inferior wages, and grudging acceptance.

Finally, other teams begin recruiting blacks, and the African-American becomes much more highly represented in the professional league than he is as a percentage of the population. White people call this integration. Blacks call it having to be ten times better to get a fraction of the wages and benefits of their white counterparts.

Cycling’s no different

Like NASCAR, competitive cycling remains an extremely white sport in the U.S.A. Unlike stock car racers, though, there are tens of thousands of black recreational cyclists. Cities like Los Angeles have large and thriving African-American cycling clubs and riding groups. But when it comes to competition, there are few black racers compared to the number who ride recreationally.


One reason is likely cost. Unlike baseball, basketball, and football, which either have low equipment costs or are available through the schools, cycling requires kids to purchase expensive equipment that is beyond the reach of most working families.

Another reason is USA Cycling. In addition to having no blacks on its board, the organization does nothing to promote cycling among blacks. To the contrary, it goes out of its way to discourage them and to pass up opportunities to get poor children on bikes.

Remember Nelson Vails?

USA Cycling’s favorite way of passing up opportunities is by ignoring the sport’s black spokesmen. If you started racing in the 1980’s one of the guys you probably admired was Nelson Vails. In addition to his silver medal in the 1984 Olympics, he and Mark Gorski were the dominant track sprinters of their day.

Nowadays Nelson crisscrosses the country marketing his brand of cycling products and participating in “Ride with Nelly” events that bring together black cyclists as well as any others who want to chat and ride with a living legend.

USA Cycling’s interest in working together with Vails, or highlighting his contributions to the sport, or using him as an ambassador to the black community, or working with him to get more inner city kids on bikes? Zero. Vails does it on his own.

Contrast that with the old boy network at USA Cycling, an organization whose board is whiter than a Klansman’s bedsheet, and how it deals with other stars of the 80’s. Jim Ochowicz was head of USA Cycling for four years during Dopestrong’s heyday and as recently as 2012 was saying that Lance Armstrong “earned every victory he’s had” to anyone who would listen.

Mark Gorski worked for USA Cycling as director of corporate development, and Chris Carmichael, another white hero from back in the day, worked for USA Cycling from 1990-1997 as national director of coaching. Carmichael is infamous for the forced injection of drugs into junior national team cyclists, a despicable act that led to litigation and a confidential settlement in 2001.

Nelson Vails? The charismatic, gregarious, friendly Olympic silver medalist who travels year-round promoting cycling all over the USA? Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Why? In my opinion, it’s because he’s black.

Letting black racers know they’re not wanted

This policy of ignoring great black cyclists and turning a blind eye to the development of cycling in the black community isn’t limited to ignoring old heroes. The best black bike racer in cycling today, Rahsaan Bahati, former national champion and perennial force in big national crits, continues to be singled out by USA Cycling because he’s black.

Two years ago Bahati was deliberately crashed out at the Dana Point Grand Prix. The video is breathtaking. After the accident, Bahati slammed his sunglasses to the ground in anger, for which he was fined and suspended. [Update: Readers noted that Bahati actually threw his glasses at the oncoming pack, and later took responsibility for his fine and suspension.]

The rider who crashed him out received no penalty at all, even though the whole thing was on video and is one of the most brazen examples of evil and malicious bike riding you have ever seen. Check the video here if you don’t believe me. Seconds 39-42 are unbelievable, but not as unbelievable as the fact that the rider who got punished was Bahati.

Similarly, at an April race in Florida, a spectator reported Bahati as having caused a crash. USA Cycling suspended him, but not before telling him that he could “appeal” if he paid a $300 fee. As a courtesy, they provided him with the provisional ruling. Hint: After we take your money we’re still going to suspend you. Bahati has now missed three of the most important and potentially lucrative races on his calendar.

Get it? Someone intentionally crashes out the black dude and the black dude gets suspended. Someone reports that the black dude caused a crash, someone not even in the race, and the black dude gets suspended.

Get it? The black dude gets suspended.

The travesty goes beyond the obvious. Bahati is one of the few successful pros of any color who spends significant time and money spreading the cycling gospel. In Milwaukee last year he visited an elementary school to fire up black kids about cycling. USA Cycling, rather than lending a hand, prefers to designate him as Public Enemy.

Race and the local crit

The irony is that black bike racers don’t get into the sport to make a political statement. They do it because they like racing bikes. What’s even more to the point, among local racers in Southern California there’s relatively little racial friction when blacks race with whites, although the Rule of Black still applies: You better be twice as good as your white counterpart if you want their respect.

Respect, of course, is exactly what riders like Justin Williams, Corey Williams, Charon Smith, and Kelly Henderson have earned. Guys like Rome Mubarak in NorCal, and Mike Davis and Pischon Jones in SoCal are just a few of the black bike racers who mix it up in the group rides and races every week, but for every one of them there are a hundred more black cyclists who should be racing and winning.

USA Cycling’s approach to growing the black base? Suspend the most charismatic spokesman and ambassador of fair play in a kangaroo court.

Tell ’em how you feel

If you think that your voice doesn’t matter, you’re right. If you think it does matter, you’re right.

USA Cycling deserves to know that you find its treatment of Bahati and its failure to support black cycling despicable. Email their CEO, Steve Johnson, at with this simple message: “Free Bahati.”

And you can tell him I sent you.

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§ 154 Responses to USA Cycling’s black eye

  • teamblack3 says:

    This is a frustrating read. But seriously, it’s difficult to have good judgement when you’re all hopped up on dope.

    I’ll send an email. Thanks Seth.

    • Admin says:

      Then you should get off the dope!

      Thanks for the letter.

    • TheRaceRadio says:

      Great blog. I agree. Steve Johnson still supports Lance the Doper. Cycling News and its Clinic are also full of racists and sexists. USA Cycling is a joke. We need to give blacks a chance in this sport I am leading in.

    • Jonny 0 says:

      Having grown up in Oakland, CA, which has a large black population, and having grown up lower-middle class, I think there are a lot of other reasons involved.

      I’m going to say some un-PC things but I’m just keeping it real. Be offended or not, I don’t care.

      The money issue was covered already so I won’t say anything more there.

      First, competitive cycling isn’t ‘sexy’ to the mainstream black community like football or basketball. Cycling isn’t popular on american television, so there’s less showmanship opportunity, less “dunks in the other guy’s face”, less touchdown dances, less crazy parties in blinged out mansions. It’s true that sports like cycling and golf do appeal to affluent blacks, but very rarely at a high competitive level.

      Cycling has a ‘marathon’ quality, not a ‘sprint’ quality. Again, in my experience, black people like the 100m dash, not the marathon or the Ironman. Even despite African blacks decimating the marathon, american blacks only loosely identify with them (and vice versa).

      Second, there are plenty of black kids on bikes. Drive into the poorer neighborhoods and you’ll see them. A lot of them are lower income or flat out poor. A $50 walmart bike is often a more financially practical way to get around town for them.

      But poor black kids aspire to own cars. Riding a bike past your teens is a sign of having not ‘made it’. While a nicer car is a subtle exclamation of wealth among whites, among blacks, it’s a dramatic statement. Black comedians even joke about taking out a date on your bike or using your bus pass. Bike = poor. (Conversely, affluent white people getting on bikes is viewed as some borderline rebellious, pseudo back-to-nature, save the earth, escape from the soulless corporation thing.)

      I don’t disagree that there’s racism in cycling but I think the much larger matter of black people not being involved in competitive cycling is that it simply doesn’t interest most of them.

      • Admin says:

        Sign your name and I’ll waste my time with a response.

        • Jonny 0 says:

          With hostility like that, not to mention what I’ve seen in your other responses, I don’t think so.

          • Admin says:

            That’s the funny thing about anonymity. It lets you be the person to the world that you really aren’t; i.e. someone with the courage of his convictions who actually has neither. If the fear of provoking hostility is what drives you, you must live a frightened life, indeed.

            • Jonny 0 says:

              The fear that drives me the most is engaging in further inanity with people such as yourself.

              This seems to be your thing so go ahead with the last oh-so-cutting remark so you can get that superior little tingle. I’m not playing any more.

              • Admin says:

                You posted here and made a controversial statement about race. I suggested you identify yourself, as I don’t take anonymous posts about serious matters very seriously. Rather than sign your name you ran off, but at least you don’t get to take the ball with you.

    • John Link says:

      I couldn’t see how the crash happened when playing the video at regular speed, but when I stopped it at the right moment I could see that another rider made a move that makes no sense except to cause Bahati to crash.

      I’m emailing and including a link to this article.

  • CPR says:

    I’m proud to be the first to “Like”!

  • leo says:

    very well said seth. this attitude by usacycling, along with many other aspects of usacycling is why there are so many independent cycling organizations all over our country. and what about the issue that aso has never invited any south african teams to any of their events.

  • Peter Schindler says:

    I will be sending that email. Great writing about a travesty that takes place daily in our sport.

  • Kevin says:

    I have experienced some of these feelings through my cycling career and professional coaching business. This is a tough read because I truly believe it to be true. Living in the deep south, most of the time I am one of 2-3 racers at any level at the races. I can even feel it amongst perspective clients. It doesn’t matter how much praise people give me as a coach or racer, most whites don’t want to be coached by a black man or to be told anything from a black man. In races I’ve been spit on, relegated by officials for nothing, and had much smack talked about me. My focus isn’t on what is done to me, but on what I do to people! I know my God wants me to be above this all and that can be hard.

    • Admin says:

      Here’s another local rider who finds the whole thing really shameful:!/LetBahatiRace

    • Admin says:

      Bottom line is that USA Cycling should be working to grow and develop the sport. That includes kids who wouldn’t ordinarily ever hear about bike racing, and it includes communities where adults cycle but where they may be totally unfamiliar with cycling as a sport.

      • channel_zero says:

        Get this in your head. USA Cycling has ZERO interest in either:
        1. increasing participation unless it’s the next Lance Armstrong
        2. Making the sport more accessible.

        The number of races has only grown through acquisition. The number of events sanctioned has grown because they now sanction anything. (clinic, Bat Mitzvahs, etc.) The number of members has only grown because they have licenses for coaches and such.

        What has grown? Monetizing the sport and doping via Thom’s USACDF. Tour of California and Colorado’s (doomed) event are the goal, not grassroots anything.

  • kevin says:

    I am going to follow up with an article on hoe the black communtiy of cyclist need to get behind each other and we can’t expect anything from outside sources.


    To the admin
    I agree that USA cycling the official governing body of cycling in the united states needs to promote the sport to all kinds of people. Otherwise the developed team isn’t a true developemental team. I think the sport would reach unemaginable hieghts with sponsorship levels unheard of before in the states. I asked them about this kind of developement programs. Like seed programs and they never responded. To me it seems very unprogeessive and slow.

  • Nando says:

    This “SUCKS”….but reality…it’s the same here in Las Vegas….but at a smaller scale….

  • Thomas Byrnes says:

    Great article! Thank you.

    To: USA Cycling – Shameful!

    • How is a article great if its one sided and has zero objectivity. This article is not a accurate portrayal of any kind of reality. The author of this article has emotional baggage. aka angry black man – all societies injustices are the white mans fault

  • TheRecycler says:

    I responded and sent an email.

  • Quiche says:

    There’s a scene in “American Flyers” where John Amos’ character says to his son, “Notice how there are almost no black people [in the race]?” And this film is nearly THIRTY years old! Only a systematic effort could have insured the face of cycling didn’t change during that time. Will be sending my email.

  • Chris says:

    I saw Nelson win his Silver. Great write up. I sent an email.

  • Andrew says:

    Be fair thats all we ask. . . .

  • Tom Morgan says:

    Thank you for the education and my email will be in his in-box when turns on his computer Monday morning.

  • Sal says:

    And it is not just blacks. I see Latinos riding their bikes to their jobs every day, early in the morning and late at night. They live the bike culture because the bike isn’t a toy, it is the way they get to jobs to feed their families. Many of them could probably kick lots of ass in races, but they’ve never been invited. There are some good people at USA Cycling, but they need the support of outsiders to help them push for more inclusion in our sport. We can only get better as a result.

    • Admin says:

      There are some great people at USA Cycling, but as an institution whose mission is to develop and grow competitive cycling it is a colossal failure. Its failures in the black and Latino communities is even worse than among whites, if such a thing were possible, and it is.

    • channel_zero says:

      Except “poor people” who ride because they can’t afford a car. (do you see the multiple layers of offensiveness in that statement?) is not what the UCI or USAC are developing.

      Their job is to defend their monopoly, and find the next Lance Armstrong. (and all that another Lance Armstrong implies)

      If the poor people want to give money to USACDF, that would be great. Otherwise, tune into the Tour of Dopifornia!

  • CyclePower says:

    A part of me thinks you’re being slightly tongue-in-cheek with this whole article and its breathless hyperbole to bring attention to a worthy cause. If you were being sincere, you’re an idiot.

    The preferred leisure activity or participation in a sport is defined in large part the prevailing culture of a particular community. Where I live in Irvine, there are a lot of cyclists. Where I live in Irvine, there happens to not be large population of black folks. It is multicultural, represented by all kinds of people, just not a high percentage of black ones. The cyclists that I see out on the road reflect the population of the local community. The Palos Verdes peninsula? A lot of white people. San Diego North County – generally white. Boulder Colorado – white. These are areas that draw a lot of cyclists and that have a strong cycling community from which to influence and attract new ones. That’s how it works. If you’re going to use the lack of diversity as evidence of “systemic” racism, then perhaps that same accusation can be lodged against your own predominantly white and affluent community.

    You start building your case by describing what happened to Major Taylor one hundred years ago, when clearly opinions on race were starkly different. The rest is just a mess. Bahati wasn’t suspended for throwing his glasses to the ground. He was suspended for throwing his glasses directly into the peloton as it looped back around and hitting Pinfold, who wasn’t the guy who crashed him out, and almost causing another crash when his Oakleys got caught in the his front wheel. Even Bahati conceded that what he did was out of bounds.

    Comparing the USAC board to Klansmen, and making a spurious conspiratorial link to doping as somehow demonstrating a more spurious conspiratorial link to deliberate racist policies is just despicable smearing. …it’s just a bad, poorly thought out, poorly written article.

    Public outreach to make our sport more inclusive is a great cause. Our sport should be more diverse. You do this through positive outreach. You convince people of the worthiness of your cause through integrity, moral force through truth and appealing to people’s fundamentally good nature. If you just throw a bunch of mud against the wall, you discredit your cause, even if it’s a righteous one.

    • Admin says:

      I guess we part company when you say that what happened to Major Taylor doesn’t impact what happens to riders today.

      Perhaps you should leave Irvine and go pedal around in South Central Los Angeles, maybe even go out for a spin with the Ridazz or do an LA critical mass ride out of Lomita. You will find a vibrant and active cycling community populated by people very different from the ones you describe in Irvine, which, frankly, you don’t seem to know very much about. Orange County’s white population is not even 75%, with 18% of its residents comprised of Asian ethnicity and 2% black.

      Using your logic, we should expect to see 2% of the blacks and 18% of the Asians actively competing in bike races in the OC, but we don’t.

      Moreover, your assumption that blacks don’t cycle is incorrect. Go do the Parkway ride in LA on Tuesday nights, or any of the Major Motion rides and you’ll see that cycling as an activity is enjoyed by a wide demographic. The place where it collapses is in the competitive arena, and I lay much of the blame at USA Cycling’s feet. If it’s not their job to get out into under-served communities and encourage bike racing, whose is it?

      USA Cycling has failed these groups even at the same time that the Bahati Foundation goes into neighborhoods to talk about cycling and bike racing. Is this the guy you really want to arbitrarily punish, especially given the history of the sport?

      USA Cycling’s treatment of Bahati (“We get the black guy for throwing the glasses but don’t punish the instigator”) is the hallmark of discrimination and injustice: Different enforcement of rules based on the color of your skin.

      • Sadly Admin, I do not believe you listened to a word “CyclePower” said other than to counter with more vitorol.

        As a passionate cyclist of over 45 years, while living and growing up in a community with a fair amount of black folks (30%) in a pop. of 900,000, I will concede that the lack of African Americans (or any ethnicity ) other than whitefolks in cycling is a sad thing for me. I entered my first bike race in 1968, and didnt meet a black competitor until 1999. I here you.

        I will guess that I am much older than you, and take this time to let you know (from my perspective) as a man telling/preaching to the world about M.Taylor begining over 30 years ago, your choice of “facts” in the article here are a bit selective and uninformed.

        I have to agree with “CP” on this point and suggest you read more than the wiki page on MT’s life
        (As to the point of the fine young pro-cyclist in the video here, I can not reply as my dial up out here on vacation wont allow my veiwing of it) I can only assume by “CP’s” comment that he had the back story on this “crash out”. I know it happens, and at times those not deserving get the penalty call. “Thats racin'”.
        M. Taylor was purchased away from his slave mother to be raised in affluance as as a surrogate “brother” for a child. He was able to use this very odd and horrible juxtiposition in life to become very well educated.

        His cycling passion and prowess, not withstanding,happen to be simply the icing on the cake for the world. He was blessed, not unlike Louis Armstrong with gifts from beyond our understanding, at a time when the world needed them.

        Sadly, his name is never uttered in history lessons esp. and ironically to children of color.

        In 30 years of my personal “advocacy” for his sainthood, I have met less than 1 and 1/2 dozen black folks who even knew his name.

        Your post here, while passionate is slightly misdirected, I wish not to anger you, and although I will never know the life of being/living in a black mans world, I here why you are frustrated.

        Major Taylor was and IS perhaps our nations first and foremost “populist celebrity activist”. And sadly he himself actually discouraged young black men in his day from following him into cycling.
        His vision was for them to cast their lives and talents in a broader net.
        He was a wonderful and stange enigma.

        BTW… He died poor mostly from bad investments in the cycing industry.
        Mozart died a pauper too, as will I more than likely.

        Keep telling people about him, but remember that despite the injustice that he faced, he was a missionary for “keepin it positive”.


  • jacobfromtheinternet says:

    When I first read your premise – that USA Cycling actively discriminates against black people – I disagreed with you. My initial, gut-level response was something like “Socioeconomic factors have more to do with the absence of black people from bike racing than racial prejudice does.”

    But then I thought: Why am I ok with that? Even if my initial reaction was right, and yours was not, why would it be ok? And more importantly: Why would it be ok for USA Cycling to accept a the current lay of the land, where a vanishingly small percentage of their members are black?

    I live in Birmingham, Alabama, where almost 62% of the population is black. Statewide, the population is about 27% black. I know or would at least recognize virtually every bike racer in Alabama above a cat 5, and I know exactly one black bike racer from Alabama, black or white. That’s not 62%, or 27%, or even 2%. That’s way, way, way less than 1. That’s not ok.

    And for what it’s worth: It should not surprise you to know that the one black Alabama bike racer I know is a stone-cold badass.
    (Add to that a win in the PRO category at SERC Ft. Yargo yesterday.)

    So, again, whether it’s intentional or unintentional, this just can’t be ok. The socioeconomic issues aside — and, hey, they applied to me too: I didn’t start bike racing until I graduated law school and took a job at a corporate law firm, mostly because I couldn’t afford to race, my parents couldn’t afford to “sponsor me”, and nobody in my hick town gave a rat’s ass about bike racing, anyway — no organization that even pretends* to represent a national competitive body could be content with the sport’s current demographic makeup without being (a) corrupt, (b) lazy, or (c) actively evil. Or maybe all 3.

    So maybe I should come off it and send that email.

    *And they’re not even doing a very good job pretending.

    • John Murphy says:

      Most stone cold badasses in Alabama are trying to make the BCS, not the TDF, n’est pas?

      • jacobfromtheinternet says:

        C’est vrai.

        But still. Plenty of those badasses don’t make it, and more than a few of them would be a little sportier on a bike than your average cat 2.

      • Admin says:

        Some are, perhaps. But what is USA Cycling doing to reach the kids who aren’t built for football or basketball? What is USA Cycling doing to develop the sport in underserved communities? They’re suspending and arbitrarily enforcing penalties against one of the nicest guys and best spokesmen out there. Not cool

    • Admin says:


  • Kim McVicars says:

    Sent my letter! Wished it helped.

  • Redvelo says:

    Doesn’t the majority of USA cycling participants skew over 34. It would seem to be in it’s best interest to grow the sport by making it more accrssible to all young riders? Golf has Tiger’s first tee program and tennis has Arthur Ashe junior development. Cycling-zilch.

    The price of racing frequently is insurmountable for a lot of the population.

  • Thomas says:

    Are you all serious??? Come on, I understand that economic limitations might be a factor in blacks getting involved in cycling, but blaming USA Cycling??? What about the Indians, Asians or other “colored” ethnicities? Is USA Cycling banishing them as well? GET OFF of the discrimination bandwagon and take a look at why these groups are not in the sport. Bring them on…I would love to race against anyone that has a heart, passion and love for this amazing sport!

    • Admin says:

      Yes, I’m serious. On Mondays. And it’s Monday.

    • Jeremy says:

      Thomas–I don’t think I understand your comment that the author should get off the discrimination bandwagon and take a look at why these groups are not in the sport. The article is clear that discrimination (actually insider-ism, as black athletes are not banned from cycling, but mostly ignored by the ruling body which acts like a ban) is why those groups are not represented.
      Also, I think it is important to look at your descriptions of your feelings for the sport: heart, passion and love. Imagine if every time you saw the sport portrayed there were no people that looked like you, every time you went into a shop nobody there looked like you or tried to help you, and you had grown up in a world where being the only one like you in a group was either a) lonely or b) dangerous (physically or psychologically). It is easy to discount institutional racism and discrimination that is not overt (like signs that say “whites only”) when you are in the dominant culture–that is the privilege of being a member of dominant culture. To you, cycling is just a fun sport. To most people of color, it is a white sport. Until the organizations that exist to grow and support the sport work to actively change that, it will remain.

      • Admin says:

        And imagine that in the sport, the greatest names who look like you are either ignored or the recipients of arbitrary rule enforcement.

  • Boom says:

    Did you watch a different race than me?

    He threw them AT the rider, not at the ground and he walked onto the course to do it a lap later. Yeah he was crashed out but he reaction didnt help the situation at all.

    • Admin says:

      My error.

      However, my point is still valid: The black guy got punished while the white instigator went free. That’s not justice in any system except USA Cycling.

    • Champs says:

      I agree on both points.

      From this video’s POV, I’m reminded of the frame pump scene in Breaking Away (just to add another cycling film reference to these comments).

      Beyond that, the reaction was nothing like the author’s characterization. From VeloNews: “[w]hen the pack came back around, I made a huge mistake by throwing my glasses at Jake Keough,” said Bahati.

  • George says:

    In regards to the Dana Point GP crash, absolutely malicious riding and the rider responsible for causing the crash should have been disciplined, but Bahati’s retaliation by returning to the course and pitching his glasses into the peloton was also unacceptable behavior.

    • Admin says:

      He was punished for it and accepted responsibility. The instigator wasn’t and didn’t. That egregious mis-enforcement of the rules, and followed with this latest absurd suspension, what kind of message does it send? Don’t ask me. Ask your black friends.

  • Alex Turner says:

    One email sent from the other side of the pond. USA Cycling is letting themselves and 1000’s of others down. Shameful.

  • Eric says:

    Not to mention Oliver Martin (some good stuff in here: and more recently Erik Saunders.

  • Nathan S says:

    This is a very provocative piece of writing with a strong appeal to pathos that confounds two very different issues, and I have some thoughts about both issues.

    First, is the issue of racism in USA Cycling. I do not believe that USA Cycling “hates” black people. I think it’s much worse than that. There is a scary neurological condition called hemiagnosia which happens when someone gets a very specific kind of brain damage (i.e., a stroke). It’s also known as “hemispheric neglect” and people who suffer from this disorder can not perceive one half of their own body. Men won’t comb the hair on one side of their head, women won’t put make up one side of their face, people will not brush the teeth in both sides of their mouth.

    USA Cycling doesn’t “hate” black people, it “simply” neglects to include and involve them in meaningful and healthy ways. Like the woman who cannot perceive the left side of her face, USA Cycling neglects to see those on bicycles who are not members (but could be members with opportunity and encouragement). It’s a Catch-22 because USA Cycling is supposed to represent it’s members first and foremost, and Blacks do not join because the predominantly White leadership of USA Cycling does not represent them.

    These days racism in this country is less about the overt negative emotions of hatred and fear (although those undeniably exist) and more about the divisive institutions left in the wake of slavery and segregation. This new form of racism is in some ways more damaging because it is easier to deny it’s existence.

    It’s easy for USA Cycling to respond to the above attack with a simple parry “We don’t hate black people, here are the three things we did last year to support cycling in the Black community.” It’s much hard for them to counter the argument that “USA Cycling neglects to involve Black cyclists” because those three things they did last year can be contrasted against hundreds that support White cyclists. I believe it is perfectly right to put the burden of change on the institution, USA Cycling should be doing everything that it can to get EVERYONE in the USA Cycling regardless of skin color, age, and gender.

    The second issue is whether or not Bahati should have been suspended. I watched the video at the time of the crash as was recommended above. I don’t know whether or not it was an example of “evil and malicious bike riding” but it doesn’t matter. USA Cycling rule 1N7 clearly states that intentionality is irrelevant.

    1N7: No rider may make an abrupt motion so as to interfere with the forward progress of another rider, either intentionally or by accident.

    The rider who hit Bahati could and probably should have been sanctioned by rule.

    But in looking at the rules I also found this one. Rule 1N6 states that:

    Abuse (a) No rider or other licensee may be disrespectful toward anyone at a race.
    (b) No rider or other licensee may use foul or abusive language or conduct during a race event
    (c) No licensee may assault (an unlawful attempt, coupled with the present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another) or do battery (any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another) to anyone connected with any event held under a USA Cycling permit.

    For those outraged by the suspension I encourage you to watch the video above all the way until the confrontation at :51) as well as this video which was posted as a reply to the one linked above.

    I personally believe the behavior demonstrated in the second video (:40) and the first video at :51) violates the spirit and letter of Rule 1N6 regardless of whether or not the enforcement or disproportionate magnitude of enforcement was racially motivated.

    His suspension may be perceived as unfair in that he was singled out for punishment when others were not sanctioned for similarly egregious behavior, but this is what I call the “kid-in-the-candy-store” fallacy. Four kids go into a candy store and they all grab a candy bar and make for the door without paying. The last kid is caught by the store owner and looks up and says “It’s not fair, my friends got away.” When in actuality it is fair, because the behavior of the fourth child is being held against the rule of law and norms of society. The fact that three escaped punishment does not negate or invalidate the punishment of the fourth.

    The fair thing to do in the candy store example would be to go catch the other three kids and hold them accountable for their behavior as well.

    Can I support the movement to “Free Bahati” and acknowledge the difficulties faced by Black bicycle racers across the country without condoning Bahati’s behavior at that particular moment in time?

    I don’t want to be a part of any sport where that kind of behavior is “okay”.

    • Admin says:

      If you think that repeatedly enforcing laws against one group of people while letting another group consistently get off is the rule of law, I’m glad I don’t live in your dictatorship.

      • Nathan S says:

        First, If you think, that I think, that repeatedly enforcing laws against one group of people while letting another group consistently get off is the rule of law, then I have done a poor job of communicating what I think. My apologies.

        I was having a similar reaction to George and a few others in that the tone of the original piece made it sound like part of your defense was that he didn’t actually do anything wrong and therefore shouldn’t be punished.

        Had you included this line from your reply to George (“He was punished for it and accepted responsibility.”) in the main post, I wouldn’t have had a second issue to write about.

        Second, I appreciate the provocative yet civil discourse on a sensitive topic and your personal reply. Thanks for allowing me to clarify.

    • channel_zero says:

      USA Cycling neglects to see those on bicycles who are not members

      I hate to break it to you but USAC neglects it’s members. You, as a member have no say in how the federation is run. It’s not a democracy of any kind. You lost that right when Thom Wiesel took over.

      The rest of the comment is sufficiently broken, but that’s probably the worst assumption ever.

  • Me says:

    dude, what? even though i generally agree with everything in this post, bahati got suspended because he waited a lap and then walked out to the peloton and threw his sun glasses at the rider who crashed him as he raced by.

    • Admin says:

      Glad we agree on some things. I’ve responded below to some of the other comments that raise the same issue.

  • Dan quirk says:

    Great story but I feel you need to be a little more truthful about Bahati’s reaction to getting crashed out. That video is out there also and he throws his sunglasses at the other rider. Can’t say I blame him.

  • Jeremy says:

    Great article. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t race, but as an avid bike commuter, I can assure you there is no shortage of black cyclists. What is not mentioned in your article, but I think is essential to this conversation is the role of development teams and programs. Cycling at the top levels is often fed from highly groomed young riders that are invited into the coaching/training elite.

    I find it interesting that someone mentioned the BCS as an example of where young black athletes are looking. Of course they are, they are being ACTIVELY recruited by teams, summer programs, elite camps, agents….very few kids are ending up at the top of ANY sport without some serious grooming from a larger institution. There are examples of that rare kid that blows everyone away, but follow the history of the top 100 college recruits in nearly any NCAA sport and you will see invites to special summer programs, special training leagues, special schools.
    This is not absent in cycling, but it is almost 100% white.

    As an educator, I confront people daily that tell me I am the crazy one for seeing racism in our institutions. It is only be exploring HOW people get to the top of a sport that you can expose how deeply rooted it is in who you know, what opportunities you have for specialized training and coaching, and what access you have to top level events.

    Thanks for doing this good work.

  • TTT says:

    Has USA Cycling ever explained why the rider who crashed Bahati wasn’t sanctioned?

  • Jim says:

    Lost in all this is Jake Keough. Bahati was suspended for throwing his glasses, potentially causing harm to fellow riders. Fair enough.

    Keough actively and maliciously crashed him out…AND A BUNCH OF OTHER PEOPLE AND WAS NOT SANCTIONED!

    No that’s not racing, it’s lifetime ban-worthy. Still pisses me off to this day.

  • Young says:

    Thanks for the enlightening post. Sent an email

  • Anthony Jackson says:

    I think the authors’ criticism of USA Cycling is fair and accurate. However, I urge readers to think critically about WHAT, rather than who, is being labled racist. That way no one individual personalizes the author’s remarks as being directed at her/him. Yes, institutional racism is alive and well in America. The author’s intent is to challenge one of those institutions – the one that sanctions competitive cycling in our country and seemingly hasn’t approached racing incidents involving Rahsaan Bahati either equitably or fairly.

    It’s interesting that so many of the comments focus on the author’s incorrect assessment of the reason for Bahati’s suspension at Dana Point (a mistake he has acknowledged) but completely ignore why Rahsaan’s commendable work as an ambassador for the sport, especially in terms of outreach to underserved communities, occurs with nary an assist from USAC. Methinks it peculiar given that he is the most accomplished black professional road cyclist in the modern era with a strong palmares on the domestic cycling scene. (Likewise for Nelson Vails, another accomplished black cyclist and Olympian.)

    Seems like a strategic blunder from a development perspective. And just the sort of behavior that an institution crippled by narrow perspective is bound to historically repeat, thereby causing it’s institutional practices to be critically examined and deemed stupid, misguided, myopic, and, yes, even racist.

    • Admin says:

      What an awesome post. Thank you.

      I have yet to get a single message, email, comment, or phone call that goes like this: “Seth, I’m black and you’re wrong on this.”

      Funny, huh?

  • Noel says:

    Seth, I totally love and respect you and I think of Rahsaan as family.. certainly part of my cycling family. I’d move mountains for him. I disagree with the notion of racism or institutional racism as being a factor in these incidents. I think when one uses ‘racism’ in this manner one demeans the power of that word. I abhor racism in all it’s forms and try to be honest with myself when my own biases show up in all the tiny ways that they do reveal…. But i think there is both more and less going on wrt to Rahsaan and his coming up short in these calls. I also think cycling as a culture or sport is so deeply outside of the American psyche that it’s really more that ‘we are the sport’ and it’s upon us to bring it into the fold for all (rather than relying on the institution of USA Cycling). And so… when I’m a little more cash flush post taxes.. I’ll see if I can donate a little to Dave and Major Motion…
    When I helped run a team we did Big Brother Big Sister events at Encino Velodrome to get kids riding the track with us. I doubt any of those kids ventured back. It did feel good on the day. Cycling isn’t a sport to most people.
    I’d go so far as implying that bike racing is the least meaningful part of our sport (I say that having spent years dedicating myself to race at my talent free level). It’s really about the riding and the shedding of the self. It’s unique to our sport.
    I have a lot to write and say about it. But no desire to say or write more. I do thank you for giving words to Rahsaan’s dilemma and all the bias against him (bias rather than racism). I hope USA Cycling is compelled to review how they’ve punished him and create more fair sanctioning of dangerous riding or race incidents. I like seeing the strongest guy win. I’ve never seen Rahsaan ride dirty or unfairly.

    • Admin says:

      The best comment I’ve gotten over this post was from a friend who read them and called me. “What a civil, thoughtful bunch of readers.”

      I love you too, Noel, but we don’t agree on this one.

      Group hug.

  • Erik says:

    People do stupid, rash, thoughtless, and immediately regrettable shit in the heat of the moment. In the midst of intense competition those reactions are only magnified. I would guess that Bahati’s reaction, which was incorrect and potentially dangerous, was motivated by years of frustration, as well as a hyper emotional state brought on by racing and crashing. Race officials should have removed him from the course before something like this happened.

    The rider who took him out? That appears to be cold, calculated brutality. The kind we’ve witnessed for many years from another, more famous, professional cyclist.

  • […] in the South Bay offers a hard-hitting, and very disturbing, look at racism in bike racing, including accusations that L.A.’s own former National Crit champ is being unfairly singled […]

  • roberthurst says:

    This post is worth a read for the Carmichael shot alone. Good stuff man.

    Who was it who crashed Bahati? Keough? Or did he just suffer the wrath of the glasses?

    • Admin says:

      Keough, apparently, from the comments.

      • Jim says:

        Same Jim as above…Nobody suffered anything from the glasses.

        Keough, to Seth’s point, is part of the brahmin clan of cyclists, perhaps untouchable. Who cares who some guy from Compton is a victim, I mean they’re used to it right?

        I remember reading a lot about that race; to be sure there was a lot of banging before the crash, Keough not wanting Rahsaan to get his team’s wheel, Bahati wanting to show his stuff on home turf. Both are alpha sprinters.

        Anyway the way USA Cycling administered that race immediately raised the red flag to me that it isn’t color blind, to say the least.

  • […] via USA Cycling’s black eye | Cycling in the South Bay. […]

  • I can’t even get past the title. Major Tylor raced in the 1800’s. We really have moved beyond that. I guess this is what liberals do for fun. This is nonsense taken to the enth degree. How racist is it to imply that black people can’t afford nice bikes. All my black friends have car rims that cost more than a light speed titanium. I’m sure if they were interested in cycling they’d have nice rides.

  • Josh says:

    Great article! Absolutely, there’s a systemic problem and the complexion of the peloton needs some more color of all shades.

    I only wish that the most prominent current black racers were better role models. The Bahati Foundation is a great concept, but both Bahati and his protege, Justin Williams, are two of the most unnecessarily aggressive and dangerous riders I’ve ever raced with. Even that Dana Point crash story has much more to it — Bahati is sketchy; he rode dangerously in that race and hundreds before that.

    As a whole, black cyclists and other bike racers of color deserve WAY more support and better treatment. Unfortunately, Bahati and Williams themselves probably deserve to have been disqualified from more races than they have been. But maybe with better treatment along the way, they would have been cleaner racers too.

    • Admin says:

      Well, your criticisms are pretty weak since you obviously don’t believe them strongly enough to sign your name. I’ve ridden with Rahsaan a zillion times and feel safer on his wheel than in my mother’s womb. I’ve never ridden with Justin so I can’t comment other than to say that you’re off the mark with Rahsaan, so it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that you’re off the mark with Justin, too.

  • FREE BAHATI? says:

    […] for his permission. No sooner than I could hit send, the following blog post began to circulate. “USA Cycling’s Black Eye”. The fist line in the post, “USA Cycling hates black people”. Only a few days ago I was […]

  • MBogus says:

    I don’t know really what to say except that I’m flabbergasted…

    We got to let go of the race card bruh… the lack of black cyclists isn’t due to racism, but more so to cultural norms. I’m a black Cat 3 cyclist in Indiana, and the strange looks and jeers I get when I throw on a kit and jump on my Bianchi doesn’t come from white people or the apathy of the sports’ governing institution; it comes from other black people.

    Black America has an aversion to doing things that it considers “not black” and if you were to walk down any street in my neighborhood here in Indianapolis, the city where Major Taylor won his first race, the black people here wouldn’t have a clue to who he was or what he did (although we named our velodrome after him).

    For a second, you need to consider the question of what sports other than basketball, football, and track and field are specifically populated by a large number of black athletes at an elite level, disproportionate to our 13% population rate. I’ll provide an answer for you… none.

    Even in those sports where black athletes are underrepresented, but still representing, you will find very little support from the black community in their endeavor. Think Gabby Douglas; she achieved greatness in one of the most technically challenging sports competing against the best gymnasts from around the world and the black community talked about her hair instead of her triumph.

    This lack of support from the people closest to black kids who dare to endeavor something different is more than likely the culprit in why there’s only a handful of black pro cyclists. If not for my parents saving $400 to buy me a Haro and letting me race competitive BMX in the 80’s I might not have the love for this sport that I do today… just as Rasaan’s parents put him on a track bike. That scenario is seldom repeated in the hood man; black people are the ones who hate black cyclists.

    • Admin says:

      Just because the black community doesn’t support cycling doesn’t mean that there aren’t institutional biases at the top level of the sport’s organization.

      • MBogus says:

        Conversely, just because you’ve chronicled the negative experiences of one or two black riders doesn’t mean that there’s an institutional bias toward all blacks participating in the sport.

        Your premise clearly stated that this bias was due to a “policy of ignoring great black cyclists and turning a blind eye to the development of cycling in the black community” on the part of USA Cycling. Seriously, what kind of support and development initiatives can you expect from the governing body of a sport toward a certain racial group when the racial group mostly views the sport with apathy?

        • Admin says:

          I think your premise is completely boneheaded. SoCal is filled with black riders. NorCal, too. Come check out the NPR or any of MM rides on Tuesday PM at the Parkway. Lots of black dudes ride. Your idea that the black community doesn’t support cycling is wrong, at least as far as SoCal is concerned. The riders here getting the shit end of the stick are the ONLY black riders who are at the top of the sport. Quit being an apologist for racism and discrimination. The old schtick of “we have to try harder” is a proven path to failure. USA Cycling needs to step up its outreach.

          • MBogus says:

            Again we’re only talking about one or two riders at the most that are black and in the elite ranks of pro cycling in America. You’ve made an assumption that the two incidences that occurred with Rasaan are proof of some systemic and surreptitiously devised plan of USA Cycling to keep the black man down. That’s boneheaded my friend, and your response is purely emotional.

            If your claims aren’t emotional, I’m sure you have some sort of statistical evidence you could provide that proves pro riders of other races/ethnicities have avoided the same sanctions or treatment that have been levied against Rasaan. If you can do that, I’m 100% on board with racism-as-the-reason, and will be the first to donate to an attorney to sue.

            In the meantime, I stand by my assertion that USA Cycling owes nothing in outreach to a community that apparently outside of Cali cares little about the sport it promotes.

            • Admin says:

              Well, by punting California you’ve punted the second most populous state in the nation. Also, your ideas about the black community and cycling are silly. Come to Ciclavia, where over 200,000 people on bicycles take over the streets of LA three-four times a year. THE VAST MAJORITY ARE NOT WHITE.

              The problem includes people like you, who think that only white people cycle, defining “cycle” as “lycra.” This city, and New York City, to name another small area that’s probably not as representative as, uh, Indy, are filled with non-white people who ride bicycles. To say that they’re “not supported by their community” is an assertion that YOU need to back up with something more than a long navel gaze at Indy.

              The national organization discriminates and ignores. Why you think that’s a problem of black communities amazes me. Come out here and let’s ride together. I will open your eyes. You will see the light.

            • Admin says:

              Also, it’s telling that you won’t post any of this nonsense under your real name.

    • michael belt says:

      A very interesting post. the sport is wide open for a new source of riders. Blacks excel at every other sport, and they can excel at this one too. I too, don’t ‘buy’ into the notion that blacks are too poor to ride but can afford big screen TV’s,cars and computers. I also get weird looks when I speak knowledgeably about the Tour De France but don’t care who’s going to the Superbowl… It’s a mindset.

      • fsethd says:

        Yes, it’s a mindset. But what’s interesting is that although the bike racing community may not have many blacks, the larger bicycle riding community throughout most of LA is, or at least appears to be, non-white.

        • Mike says:

          Makes sense doesn’t t? NASCAR discovered about 20 years ago that they were leaving millions of dollars on the table by not adding a little ‘color’ to the sport. It may be a tradition to create an image – until that image affects the bottom line. Same will be true here….

          As was true in every other sport, the fear that another color will dominate will be pushed aside by the promoters. I never said anything publicly about how I was a faithful reader of just about every biking magazine out there but never saw anyone who looked like me in them. I just cancelled a 2 year subscription because they consistently pretended I didn’t exist until it was time to collect renewal funds from me… Oh well, time to move to another magazine that will likely not get it either. But we are moving to a post racial era that see change.

  • Cycling Beersnob says:

    Please. I call BS. Sponsors and the cycling fans at large would be clamoring all over themselves to have a Tiger Woods in spandex and Lycra.

  • Chinue X says:

    As we remember Marshall W. Taylor on the anniversary of his death, we must let USA cycling know that their conduct towards African American in this arena will not be tolerated.

  • Jason A. says:

    Ever hear of the Cadence program in New Jersey? Definitely need more programs like this in the inner city….

  • […] appear to have a quantifiable or concrete social analysis of cycling and the color line.  The blog Cycling in the South Bay unloaded on USA Cycling in April 2013, identifying its undistinguished record on diversity and poor […]

  • USA Cycling does not do a lot exceptionally well, and supporting grass roots cycling of any type is limited at best.

    The only way we appeal to a multicultural audience is by actively engaging them and making cycling a sport for all, not only upper middle class and beyond… and yeah there is a plan being put in action, unfortunately usac has 0 to do with it… and bitching about an organization that doesn’t care what you think is taking up valuable time that could be better spent working on a solution that WILL bring no white upper middle class riders into the sport.

  • time that could be better spent working on a solution that WILL bring non “white upper middle” class riders into the sport.

    amazing how important proper punctuation is!

  • C Dineros says:

    I grew up in the South Bay, Long Beach and Carson to be exact. I raced at the 7/11 Olympic Velodrome at CSUDH. I too know the racism and classism in Cycling. I missed my opportunity to win Nationals in the matched sprints in 1993, due to the lack of funds to get there. In regards to this article, we know what we have to do as a people. The AAF helped me to begin riding by providing us with bikes, helmets, and coached, but as mentioned by Johnny-O, the overall interest or support in my community wasn’t there. We can’t wait on the handouts. We know we excel at everything we do, we need to promote our own sanctioned races, grow our teams, and just go and race at the respected levels. Place as much of it in the public eye as possible. I plan to begin a youth team here in Atlanta, and place that team on a National level……the goal is the Olympics. If we don’t take serious strides, the help isn’t coming.

  • mike says:

    I’m absolutely baffled, even though I’ve made the same observations. I guess if I had to put a flavor to the sport – it thrives on snobbery. (I don’t know why) but a black person is certainly no welcome to it. I very rarely have someone to ride with

  • Rome Mubarak says:

    Outstanding article and subsequent thread of coments. I appreciate the candor, honesty and even shortness of understanding displayed by some and the attempts by others to shed light and make sense of it all.

    Racing has changed my life and I owe much of it to men like first, Benjamin Weekes, Virgil Ford and Rahsaan Bahati (yes, in that order). Following them begins a vast host of a supportive cast such as Gregg Betonte (who’s responsible for assisting me with getting my first real race bike & instructional program), Patrick Briggs ( who took me under his wing while at Icc Superweek 2 yrs ago encouraging me all along the way), Jimbei Suzuki, who spent considerable time egging me on my first two years at the Port ride to stay in and dig deep and not drop out of the rotation, then his constant chastisment doing ritualistic thursday night lake laps).
    I could go on as these guys are of white and of Japenese descent, respectively but there are so many more I could name that have befriended me over the past 4 years.

    But this problem in my opinion is twofold:

    Many of my own lack the skill set and discipline needed to do the homework or be the understudy to devise structurally the programs I see my whitecounterparts thrive in. A peculiar social eneptness exists that does not see that this energy that comes so natural with others, is more intensive in its approach by my own. We must do better.

    With whites there also exists a peculiar pedigree of “entightlement” coupled with some extremes of the “god-complex narcissim ” often seen through their action or in-action whenever dealing with difference. Their use of language/words are often insensitive to the historically under-served and under-represented. Many not taking it upon themselves to dove into anothers history simply because that history is of no significance to them or their imediate attention- at least in their minds. Many whites are cool, but I can count on one hand how many have sat and have eaten at my table and I have an open-invitation lifestyle. In otherwords, I beleive subconciously, whites deep down want to get close but not too close because of societal seen and unseen parimeters, boundaries and historical nuances. Fear of the unknown is daunting to say the least and in a perfect word where harmony would prevail, fear must forever be nuetralized.

    • fsethd says:


      I’d also add that it’s no accident that America’s first true super-sportsman, the first great athlete in our history was Major Taylor, and most cyclists have no idea who he was. Of course the broader society knows even less …

      Keep on pedaling, and thanks for this comment, Rome.

    • michael belt says:

      I’m Black and I ride at 56 years old – pretty much as I have since was 14 years old and rode my bicycle to my high school, 15 miles away in upstate NY. Typically, I DO ride alone but Black people will find their way and it won’t seem so novel anymore. I have no idea why it seems like a ‘white’ sport and not open to everyone, but I don’t worry about it. I was alone when I sailed both directions to and from San Francisco and San Diego aboard my ketch rigged sailed boat.

  • Virgil Ford says:

    I’ve been riding for about 19 years now…..still in love with the sport and the people in it! I’m proud to say and happy to report that the sport is MUCH more colorful today than it was when I started……….get on your bikes people and RIDE with your fellow brotherens 😉

  • George Vick says:

    Interesting words for sure .They really hit close to home as I’m one of the few black men working in the cycling industry that I know of. I’ve met Mr. Johnson on several occasions and have never had an issue. That being said I’m also directing a film that is related to this issue on the BMX racing side of things.

    Has anything additional transpired since this incident?

  • Ifeoluwa Akenzua says:

    Your writing is disappointing and your reasoning lacks depth. You’re blasting USA cycling for not taking on a cyclist with a crushed L5 vertebra among other health issues. If your writing was a shadow of Rahsaan’s cycling, poise or strength, we as black people would be twice ahead. It’s a shame, because your perspective and poison sets us much further back than any chain in history could. With love, your black brother.

    • fsethd says:

      I’m blasting USA Cycling because it doesn’t give a rat’s ass about developing black cyclists.

      If you think my writing is more damaging than “any chain in history,” you need to re-read your history book.

      • Ifeoluwa Akenzua says:

        When did USA ever give a rat’s ass about anything black. I’m not saying you’re wrong about USA Cycling. If we are to succeed we gotta build it ourself. Every other race/culture in America comes together and builds each other up. Jews, Asian, Indian, Arab, Persian, you name it, they link up.

        Want a Black Cycling team, we as Black people gotta build that. What in it for them? To see 100 years of classism (don’t forget poor Whites aren’t welcomed either) wiped out by a Black guy on a unicycle riding backwards? I like watching cycling, it’s kinda like wrestling, fake. From a genetic perspective, between the cardiovascular system of a long distance running Kenyan and the fast twitch sprinting muscles of a Jamaican sprinter, it’s quite obvious this ends with a black peloton with a few Jeremy Lins and Roger Federers sprinkled in all things equal.

        We’ve got bigger issues though. When did we get so brainwashed we stopped loving each other. When did we forget black is beautiful. I am the history book, you’re the one that needs to read it.

        Step 1. Incarcerate the father
        Step 2. Watch the social experiment

        We can blame til we’re blue. Save your hot air, focus on the story with positive end. It’s starts with us building it ourself, for each other.

        • fsethd says:

          I’m nobody’s spokesman but my own. And positive change sometimes requires a bit of negative energy.

  • greg says:

    Cyclepower, Schmidt, Noel and M bogus made phenomenal arguments and you responded with ad hominem attacks. Why? Emotional responses seem to be the constant refrain here. And there appears to be constant theme as well. Not unlike ragging on the LASD Deputies harassing you “Law-abiding cyclists” while at the same time, putting up Youtube videos of you and group regularly blowing stoplights, nearly clipping pedestrians and cars at speed. I don’t see racism at work here at all. There are a lot of reasons well articulated by the folks i noted above so I won’t belabor the point. Take a deep breath and respond to these folks sans the vitriol. At the same time, maybe showcasing your Youtube videos to the LASD Captain and Traffic Deputy at Malibu might add some needed entertainment.

    • fsethd says:

      Maybe. Too bad you won’t deal with the fact that you’ve tried to implement changes because of the bad officiating. Also, you’ll be glad to know that we met with the sheriff’s department today and it was very productive. More on that later. In the meantime, I’m waiting for you to admit that your own officiating failures contributed to a racer’s DEATH. Hope you sleep well at night.

    • fsethd says:

      I like that you’ve used the fact that some cyclists break the law as justification for writing illegal tickets. I guess you’d be happy with a speeding ticket because other motorists run stop signs. Hypocrite.

  • Lemond says:

    Didn’t really answer my original question…. Why no black guys?

    • fsethd says:

      Sorry. What original question?

    • @Lemond, the sport of cycling is a very very small sport with very limited resources available to promote and attract new participants. I live north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.

      There are less than a handful of USA Cycling sanctioned bike raced held in the SFV annually.

      USA Cycling does not any type campaign that it uses to promote local or regional are cycling.

      Anyone interested in becoming a bike racer has a lot of work to do on their own figuring out what to do, when to do, how to do, etc.

      The any ethnic diversity of cycling is purely contingent upon the actual people who show up.

      The notion that USA Cycling should promote ethnic diversity is way off base – USA Cycling sanctions and promotes cycling period

      USA Cycling’s is not a social justice entity.

      Lemond, bottom line… becoming a bike racer requires a significant commitment and a lot of work by the individual.

      The only barrier to entry is the willingness of the individual to do the due diligence required to become a bike racer. Bike racing is not for FUCKING LAZY people who bitch and complain about life’s injustices.

      Bike racing to for tenacious and extremely hard working people who don’t cry about social and social economical injustices. In other words Bike racing aint for Fucking Pussies.

      • fsethd says:

        That’s what they said about segregation, discrimination in college admissions, redlining, etc. And you need to read one of the good biographies of Major Taylor.

      • I looked for it originally. Now I see the obscurely worded “about” page.

        OK, now I get it… you ‘re using you over the top provocative blog post’s to drive traffic to your book sales page. Textbook Fox News technique playing. A clever marketing ploy.

        I give you credit for doing the work to create this document however all your credit is negated due to your lame one sided perspective and lack of willingness to take the time to be fair, balanced and objectivity.


        Byron Friday

        1996 USA BMX Hall of Fame Inductee

        Midnight Mission Volunteer
        Boys Club and Big Brother Volunteer.
        Dream Center Volunteer
        Teen Addiction Recovery Speaker and Mentor
        LA Dept of Probation Teen Mentor

        Coming winter 2016

  • […] and cycling have a history that has too long been ignored or papered over, including at last year’s Tour de France. Teams and organizers must work […]

  • Note the author of this piece withheld his or her identity.

    The author of this is:

    a) not objective in any capacity

    b) does not tell both sides of the story.

    c) heavy hand scrutinizing only giving one angry mans perspective.

    d) review the authors other post’s – this personal has serious emotional issues and uses his or her writing skills to intentionally be provocative.

    This guy get credit to being clever at distortion of the truth.

    The author of this piece hides under anonymity – what does that say about him or her?

    • fsethd says:

      Hi, Byron. If you think this is anonymous you should check the “about” section on the left side of the page.

      • I looked for it originally. Now I see the obscurely worded “about” page.

        OK, now I get it… you ‘re using you over the top provocative blog post’s to drive traffic to your book sales page. Textbook Fox News technique playing. A clever marketing ploy.

        I give you credit for doing the work to create this document however all your credit is negated due to your lame one sided perspective and lack of willingness to take the time to be fair, balanced and objectivity.


        Byron Friday

        1996 USA BMX Hall of Fame Inductee

        Midnight Mission Volunteer
        Boys Club and Big Brother Volunteer.
        Dream Center Volunteer
        Teen Addiction Recovery Speaker and Mentor
        LA Dept of Probation Teen Mentor

        Coming winter 2016

  • The sport of cycling is a very very small sport with very limited resources available to promote and attract new participants. I live north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.

    There are less than a handful of USA Cycling sanctioned bike raced held in the SFV annually.

    USA Cycling does not any type campaign that it uses to promote local or regional are cycling.

    Anyone interested in becoming a bike racer has a lot of work to do on their own figuring out what to do, when to do, how to do, etc.

    The any ethnic diversity of cycling is purely contingent upon the actual people who show up.

    The notion that USA Cycling should promote ethnic diversity is way off base – USA Cycling sanctions and promotes cycling period

    USA Cycling’s is not a social justice entity.

    Bottom line… becoming a bike racer requires a significant commitment and a lot of work by the individual.

    The only barrier to entry is the willingness of the individual to do the due diligence required to become a bike racer. Bike racing is not for FUCKING LAZY people who bitch and complain about life’s injustices.

    Bike racing to for tenacious and extremely hard working people who don’t cry about social and social economical injustices. In other words Bike racing aint for Fucking Pussies.

  • Family Bike Collective says:,%22&source=bl&ots=vb5f2qUDos&sig=t6FX7b8RGnJFbz_-Cg_yaw1y4PY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVmf-88dbKAhVQ7mMKHQG5BhYQ6AEIITAB#v=snippet&q=%22After%20the%20dramatic%20fall%20in%20bicycle%20prices%20in%201897%2C%22&f=false

    “I just came across this passage in Bruce D. Epperson’s book Peddling Bicycles to America, which is a history of the early bike retail industry:

    “After the dramatic fall in bicycle prices in 1897, one large Chicago manufacturer (probably the Western Wheel works, known for their good, inexpensive, no-frills bicycles) noticed a huge fall in sales in the Deep South and sent one of their department managers to New Orleans to investigate conditions. ‘It sounds odd to say it,’ reported the man upon his return, ‘[but] the Negro has killed the bicycle business in the south.’ With the easy availability of bicycles, corner groceries and hardware stores began carrying them. Banned from bicycle and sporting goods stores, blacks could now buy them from a familiar retailer within their own neighborhoods on a cash-and-carry basis (and for a fortunate few, even on time payments). Previously their only option had been to put themselves at the mercy of a traveling drummer who took their orders, then might or might not deliver. But, discovered the Chicago man, ‘as soon as the Negro took to sporting a wheel, just that soon did the fad cease among the southern whites…In New Orleans, in Birmingham and Nashville the business began to drop off perceptively.’ Working-class white Southerners were so bigoted that they wouldn’t even ride in the same roadways as their black counterparts” (p. 96-97)

    I think it’s important to keep this documented history of racism at bike shops and among cyclists in mind as we move to include the community-based shops in the retail ecosystem. What I saw in Los Angeles was that many low income, POC bike users got their spare parts from hardware stores, or even from restaurants that sold patch kits. I doubt the reluctance on the part of some retailers to consider these places legit comes from straight up racism, and I certainly don’t know anyone who would consider race to be a reason to stay away from bicycling like in this 1897 example, but it would be good if we could somehow give them this context. If community-based shops are filling a gap that’s been around since the era of bicycle specialty stores in the 1890s, it would be a good idea for retailers to listen to the advice they can offer about reaching alienated markets.


  • John Link says:

    I couldn’t see how the crash happened when playing the video at regular speed, but when I stopped it at the right moment I could see that another rider made a move that makes no sense except to cause Bahati to crash.

    I’m emailing and including a link to this article.

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