The Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team unveiled its YouTube-inspired racing jersey at a team launched held at the up-scale Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California on Friday night. The jersey is a white canvas for a graffiti script of words that describe the fundamental values of the Bahati Foundation: Hope, Give Back, Respect, Challenge and Unbelievable Passion.
Bahati provided an in depth explanation of the importance of the foundation in the recent YouTube videos entitled ‘Bahati: Out of Compton
Television Trailer’ and ‘Rahsaan Bahati Talking about Cannondale.’
“The general reaction of the kits was that it’s completely overwhelming and positive all the way around,” said General Manager Steve Owens. “Its such an awesome kit. There is a story of how it was inspired. The YouTube video with Cannondale and Rahsaan Bahati out of Compton where he grew up. So, the jersey was designed after Louis Garneau saw the video.”
The event served a primary purpose of introducing the Bahati Foundation. Team co-owner and racer Rahsaan Bahati created the organisation to help underprivileged inner-city children through the sport of cycling, education and music.
“A lot of what we are doing with the team has to do with the Bahati Foundation,” said new recruit Nathan O’Neill. “We are giving back to the communities, schools and kids that come from under privileged communities. I’m sure that I will be called upon a little more than some of the other guys but I’m really looking forward to that.”
“This is more than just racing my bike,” he added. “It’s about doing things for people who are less privileged than me. I’m a father now and I recognize the importance of bringing up kids in the right environment. It makes this more personal for me too.”
The entertainment venue’s amphitheater-style seating was designed to attract as many as 4,000 spectators. American sportscaster, Craig Hummer introduced the Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team’s 21-man roster that included its most recent signing Floyd Landis along with Bahati, O’Neill, Hilton Clarke, Cesar Grajales, Jason Donald, Matt Rice, Ryan Baumann, Corey Collier, Bobby Lea, Alex Hagman, Peter Carey, Phillip Mann, Evan Hyde, Ian Burnett and Lanell Rockmore. There are also five amateur riders in the squad Morgan Ryan, Devan Dunn, Yosvany Falcon, Jorge Alvarado and Neil Coleman.
“Credit has to be given to all the guys in management such as Bahati, Eric Smart, Steve Owens and Rick Crawford,” O’Neill said. “They really have out done themselves. The Bahati Foundation was launched at Interbike last September and things started so late.”
“The fact that it got going in such a short amount of time is just incredible,” he added. “These guys have been going 100 miles an hour working on this team. It just goes to show that things can be done when there’s a real desire to make it happen.”
Cannondale is the squad’s official bike sponsor outfitting the riders with the SuperSix model. Cannondale donated a bike custom painted by San Francisco-based artist, Mike Giant, to be auctioned at the presentation to raise funds for the foundation.
Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team kicked off its season at the Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic held in Merced, California last weekend. The team swept the podium during the Downtown Grand Prix with Matt Rice taking the victory ahead of Rahsaan Bahati and Hilton Clarke.
The squad will contest the San Dimas Stage Race and the Redlands Bicycle Classic at the end of this month. Its primary focus is on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) and International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned races held in the US.
Following the team launch, the riders and staff will move to nearby Agoura Hills for a weeklong training camp.