Mountain biking has evolved a great deal over the past ten years – or has it? Marketing efforts have incorporated images of more women and minorities; podcasts have explored the value of women’s only rides, more families are riding, adaptive riding is exploding and ebikes have expanded the range of users.
My daughter is learning how to ski this year. We were out recently and she fell. I immediately shouted, “Good for you – I’m so proud of you for falling!” In that moment, she became a better skier. More importantly, she became a better person. She was shown a little empathy and learned to accept risk as part of the experience. The biggest risk we all take, on and off the bike, is not being accepted for whatever reason.
Feeling invited and receiving a little empathy instantly translates into fuel. Openly invited and properly inspired, more people may give riding a try. Those reading this understand the lessons we gain on a bike. We’ve all experienced a few rough crashes; climbed hills that that we thought would never end and have pushed ourselves to our limits attempting to keep up with more talented riders. Every one of these experiences matter when we go home or to work – we grind because we’ve shown ourselves we can.
As a riding community, how do we ensure that everyone, that may be interested, has access to these same experiences and their benefits? Or put another way, how do we invite the world to participate in mountain biking?
In 2019 VMBA will be assembling a diversity committee to explore answers to this question with the goal of ensuring we’ve grown a welcoming community. We acknowledge that there is a wide range of diversity characteristics among us, most of which are invisible – our efforts to become an inviting community shouldn’t be. It is understood that everyone will not embrace this opportunity on equal terms. Every voice is welcome.
Huge thanks to those that have already stepped forward to play a role on the committee and to our industry’s thought leaders on this topic. We’re eager to take a candid look at how we share our excitement for riding with the world. Are you interested in joining VMBA’s diversity committee? Please get in touch with Tom – [email protected]