Author Topic: Black/Asian pro cyclists  (Read 3377 times)

Black/Asian pro cyclists
« on: July 20, 2011, 11:19:54 pm »
I've been casually watching the Tour this year and I'm noticing a distinct lack of black/Asian cyclists. I know there is the guy from Guadalupe but he's in a pretty small group of one. You'd think with the cultural diversity of Europe that there'd be a bigger mix of people from all backgrounds, sorry if it's been covered before but I'm not a regular spectator of either road or track cycling, so what's people's thoughts on this?


Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2011, 11:22:23 pm »
I have absolutely no idea and it has been bugging me for years.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 11:25:39 pm »
I've been casually watching the Tour this year and I'm noticing a distinct lack of black/Asian cyclists. I know there is the guy from Guadalupe but he's in a pretty small group of one. You'd think with the cultural diversity of Europe that there'd be a bigger mix of people from all backgrounds, sorry if it's been covered before but I'm not a regular spectator of either road or track cycling, so what's people's thoughts on this?

This bothers me, too. However, a black cycling friend once said to me, "I used to think all those cyclists were losers until I started riding a bike."

I think it's a matter of perception. People whose forebears are from poor countries think success=car ownership and use, while poverty=bicycle ownership and use.

The same goes for cultures where being fat is a sign of wealth, whereas in much of the west the indicator of wealth is a slim, lithe body.

And we still have Germaine Burton for the future. Not to mention his dad, brother and sister.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 11:26:21 pm »
I suppose that statistically you are likely to have fewer kids from racial minorities taking part in top-class cycling, traditionally very much a European sport, because the necessary kit is pretty expensive, and there's a strong tendency for those minorities to be amongst the poorest in society.

Edit: a fair bit of cross-posting with Honest John.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2011, 11:27:47 pm »
There's a Japanese rider whose name sounds like "AlanSharearer", think he rode the Giro. The track's a little more representative but not much.

No idea why cycling is so white in places like France and the Netherlands.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2011, 11:30:04 pm »
There's a Japanese rider whose name sounds like "AlanSharearer", think he rode the Giro. The track's a little more representative but not much.

No idea why cycling is so white in places like France and the Netherlands.

Apart from the bloke from Guadaloupe (Yohann Gene) there are a couple of riders in the TdF this year with Arab names.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2011, 11:39:28 pm »
No idea why cycling is so white in places like France and the Netherlands.

I don't know about the Netherlands but in France cycling tend to be popular in the countryside and small cities amongst people who would be qualified as "working class" here. Immigrants tend to live in big cities so i don't think that this is a big surprise.

Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2011, 11:41:45 pm »
No idea why cycling is so white in places like France and the Netherlands.

I don't know about the Netherlands but in France cycling tend to be popular in the countryside and small cities amongst people who would be qualified as "working class" here. Immigrants tend to live in big cities so i don't think that this is a big surprise.

It's a bit sad IMHO that, in France, cycling used to be the way poor lads could escape the farm or the mines to achieve moderately faboulous wealth while, these days, cycling is associated with low income in many minds.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2011, 11:51:38 pm »
You only have to look at the French national football team to see that they have a large black/French African population keen on sports, but historically maybe it's just that football is the main way out of poverty for these guys that other sports don't get a look in?

I think there's also a big thing (certainly with Asians) that sport is a mainly a team game, to be played with many friends/colleagues and it's as much about the camaraderie as the actual sport itself, where as cycling can be quite solitary and unrewarding.

Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2011, 12:04:42 am »
There are national Tours in many countries, Pakistan, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8GCN_b7kFs
Eritrea, http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/31272521  and Gabon, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxwO46n3er8&feature=related to name three, If they throw up riders who are good enough for the Tour, they will ride it.

Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2011, 12:13:09 am »
I suppose that statistically you are likely to have fewer kids from racial minorities taking part in top-class cycling, traditionally very much a European sport, because the necessary kit is pretty expensive, and there's a strong tendency for those minorities to be amongst the poorest in society.

True, but their are plenty of wealthy non-white people in places like the US and the UK, yet pro riders from those countries have a tendency to be white.

It's a cultural thing. This forum for example is overwhelmingly white, middle class, middle aged and male....
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2011, 07:14:21 am »
Posted by: bobb
« on: Today at 12:13:09 AM

It's a cultural thing. This forum for example is overwhelmingly white, middle class, middle aged and male....

It have a long held view that the attitude to cyclists in UK is so different to that held on the continent is because, when a motorist in the UK sees a cyclist he assumes that they ride a bike because they cannot afford a car therefore they are lower down the social scale, whereas on the continent they see a cyclist and think he is an athlete and give the respect they think is due.    Possibly because cycle racing has always been such a major sport on the continent   

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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2011, 07:26:33 am »
Given the dominance of black sprinters in athletics it amazes me that there are so few in track cycling - Gregory Bauge being the only one I can think of.  I understand that British Cycling has been going around schools talent spotting - I really hope that this will pick out some future stars from our ethnic minorities.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2011, 07:41:53 am »
Posted by: bobb
« on: Today at 12:13:09 AM

It's a cultural thing. This forum for example is overwhelmingly white, middle class, middle aged and male....

It have a long held view that the attitude to cyclists in UK is so different to that held on the continent is because, when a motorist in the UK sees a cyclist he assumes that they ride a bike because they cannot afford a car therefore they are lower down the social scale, whereas on the continent they see a cyclist and think he is an athlete and give the respect they think is due.    Possibly because cycle racing has always been such a major sport on the continent   

Bobb's right, it's a cultural thing, it's not just about cycling.  Some pastimes and sports have traditionally attracted people from specific backgrounds.  Take hill walking for example - as a rule the only black faces I see on hills are sheep.   But I'm sure that will change with time. 
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2011, 08:03:35 am »
I remember watching the Tour of Mali (might have been Guinea) on French TV5 about 6 months ago.

Mostly amateur with teams from several West African countries and few Europeans thrown in.

All the local guys were struggling for equipment.

Hot, dusty, tough and no rain in sight.

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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2011, 08:15:24 am »
A USA-ian ex-pro is working to develop cycle racing in Africa and thinks there is a lot of potential to be found. http://teamrwandacycling.org/
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2011, 08:20:05 am »
There are a couple of japanese riders that rides on proteams.
But road cycling on professional level are mainly a European/Australian or American thing.
Asia do have some really good track riders

Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2011, 08:50:02 am »
Cycling is starting to develop in SE Asia and it's been getting quite popular in Malaysia over the last 10 years or so. Here in Brunei it's still pretty small but growing every year, in September we will have the first Tour de Brunei http://www.brudirect.com/index.php/2011072052632/Sports-News/le-tour-de-brunei-sept-7-11.html

Unfortunately with Brunei's lack of organisational ability I can see it being a bit of a cake and arse fest (without the cake).

There are a few races each year but the Brunei federation has a bizarre rule on only accepting teams. I fully agree with some of the comments about culture and cycling being seen as a poor persons activity. Most Malay people are obsessed with their cars (and most of them drive like loonies) and would see riding a bike as a backward step; the only people you see riding a bike for transport are the south Asians on BN$12 a day or silly Orang Puti like me.

The roads in Asia aren't particularly cycle friendly, a large proportion of my training ends up on dual carriageways (Google earth Brunei, we don't have many roads).

Despite having had import duty removed from bicycles and accessories it is still very expensive to buy a reasonable quality bike here (add around 20%) and the choice is limited; I recently bought 2 metres of SIS outer cable to finish off my latest project which cost me about 16 pounds :o

As I said though, things are getting better here and you see more and more locals out on bikes training (I saw 4 yesterday, a record). Asia has its own cycling magazine, Cycling Asia which is 50% local content and about 50% reviews from C+ and What Mountain Bike. The UCI Asia tour is also growing pretty rapidly, I think we will see more Asian riders moving into the Europe tour in the next few years.

Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2011, 08:59:08 am »
You only have to look at the French national football team to see that they have a large black/French African population keen on sports, but historically maybe it's just that football is the main way out of poverty for these guys that other sports don't get a look in?

I think there's also a big thing (certainly with Asians) that sport is a mainly a team game, to be played with many friends/colleagues and it's as much about the camaraderie as the actual sport itself, where as cycling can be quite solitary and unrewarding.

Football may be the way out of poverty these days (especially for West Africans), but it used to be cycling, in France at least.

And cycling can be a team game - it's just the relationships between team members are more subtle than in ball games.
The journey is always more important than the destination

Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2011, 09:02:52 am »
Posted by: bobb
« on: Today at 12:13:09 AM

It's a cultural thing. This forum for example is overwhelmingly white, middle class, middle aged and male....

It have a long held view that the attitude to cyclists in UK is so different to that held on the continent is because, when a motorist in the UK sees a cyclist he assumes that they ride a bike because they cannot afford a car therefore they are lower down the social scale, whereas on the continent they see a cyclist and think he is an athlete and give the respect they think is due.    Possibly because cycle racing has always been such a major sport on the continent   
+1
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2011, 09:42:42 am »
Given the dominance of black sprinters in athletics it amazes me that there are so few in track cycling - Gregory Bauge being the only one I can think of. 
There is shazza (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanaze_Reade), VP's preferred lead-out partner. She's gone back to BMX but I guess we might see her again on the track. She reputedly lives in Leeds, so I keep hoping I'll bump into her.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2011, 09:45:26 am »
There was Nelson Vails.  Don't think he ever did any of the Grands Tours but he was a pro for six years in the late eighties & early nineties.
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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2011, 12:49:54 pm »
It shows, in part, how important role models are in leading young people.

Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2011, 12:57:57 pm »
Eritrea is the hotbed of African Cycling.

Quote
Daniel and Meron for London Olympics 2012

he astonishing victory of all Eritrean riders in general; the gold and silver road race medalist in particular has lifted and jetted Eritrea from African Championship to London Olympics 2012. As was announced before the competition, the first two road race winners Daniel Teklehaimanot and Meron Russom won the two London Olympics2012 tickets that were on stake for Africa as a whole. Thus, in the most enviable Olympic competition, the two Eritreans will represent Africa. And Africa has to be represented well. This means it leaves them with a lot of work to be done in the coming two years so that our riders could be fit enough for the Olympic pro-race. You can’t rely on raw talents to succeed any more. Thus Meron Russom, in particular, needs further individual trainings and opportunities like Daniel in tough competitions along side professional riders in Europe. It is crystal clear as to the fast progress Daniel has achieved since he’s based in Switzerland under UCI. So should Meron Russom if he is to accomplish his London2012 homework neatly. Of course they have proved their mettle in defying African best riders. The local federation has to knock on the UCI doors for the trainings and opportunities to come up for Meron Russom and other young talents alike. Africa should be represented well by Eritrea in London Olympics! Participation isn’t enough at all.



http://www.shabait.com/about-eritrea/art-a-sport/3696--eritrea-africas-cycling-champion

Eritrea has colonial links with Italy, the other principal African cycling nations have links with France, Britain has links with countries where running is more of a tradition.

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Re: Black/Asian pro cyclists
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2011, 01:39:50 pm »
I'm not sure the economic arguments explain why there is such a small proportion of black/asian competitors in the Tour de France.  Since I've been watching it from the eighties, it seems like over 99% white.  Probably there are bigger cultural than economical factors.

I suppose there's no evidence of racism within the sport, is there?
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