Zwift has announced that February 2021 will mark the launch of its Black Celebration Series (BCS): a year-long series of events “to celebrate the history, athletes, heritage, and joy the Black community brings to Zwift from around the world”.
The year of celebration will include multiple events held in New York along the Mighty Metropolitan route. This is a nod to the roots of many legendary Black cyclists like Major Taylor, and Olympic medallist Nelson Vails who will be joining events as a special guest. Other guests will include Ama Nsek (L39ION of LA) and Rahsaan Bahati, (Bahati Foundation Elite Team) as well as community leaders from the Black Cyclists Network and Level Up Cycling Movement.
All Zwifters will receive invitations to join the hour-long social rides in New York, where the pace will be managed by ride leaders and kept between 1.5-2 watts per kilogram of body weight.
In addition to celebrating Black athletic achievements, the virtual training platform has chosen LA Bicycle Academy (LABA) — a youth education program, community bike shop and youth cycling team — as its charity partner in a bid to expand its impact. LABA was set up by Damon Turner, who has mentored the likes of Justin Williams, Cory Williams, Rahsaan Bahati and Coryn Rivera, and its mission is to support communities without exposure and access to cycling. In addition to making a donation to LABA, which sponsors young athletes without the resources to continue their cycling careers, Zwift will be offering them mentorship opportunities.
Following a year where the Black Lives Matter movement made headlines across the globe, and much-needed conversations about systemic racism started taking place around all aspects of society, proponents argue that the journey towards race equity and equality is only just beginning. By launching BCS this year, Zwift is demonstrating no-holds-barred support for the movement, a move that will be welcomed by many.
"I’m delighted to begin our year-long Black Celebration Series this February and celebrate the achievements of the Black athletic community worldwide," says Zwift CEO and Co-Founder Eric Min. "This is the first externally focused initiative spearheaded by our new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) department who will also be running internal training and education programs on Racial Justice. It’s important to come together as one community and we will continue to provide further opportunities for all as part of our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. All BCS events will be taking place in Zwift’s recreation home city, New York, and I look forward to joining many of you in these over the year to come."
Lisa Bourne, Senior Director, Diversity, Inclusion & Social Impact at Zwift, adds: “We've designed these initiatives to celebrate Black athletes and community leaders while, at the same time, taking the opportunity to educate both our external community and our internal employees on the struggles and systemic racism which the Black community has faced in sport and in society at large. In addition, we are committed to driving meaningful impact in our local community and to that end are beyond excited to begin a partnership with the LA Bicycle Academy. I'm proud to say that we are building a strong foundation for DEIB at Zwift and are empowering the organisation to champion DEIB in their day-to-day work - fully recognising that the DEIB journey is a marathon and not a sprint."
You can sign up for events and learn more about the Black Celebration Series on Zwift’s website.
Mildred is a Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews who enjoys everything from road cycling to mountain biking, but is a utilitarian cyclist at heart. Determined to do everything on two wheels, she's even moved house by bike, and can regularly be found pedalling around Bristol and its surrounding areas. She’s spent over four years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise comes from previously working in a bike shop and learning the ins and outs of the industry, and she's previously written for a variety of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, her ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch, followed by a gourmet campfire meal and an overnight bivvy beneath the stars.
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