New Cycling Programs for Historically Black Colleges & Universities
and Tribal Colleges & Universities
Cannondale and EF Pro Cycling recently announced an initiative that will help create opportunity and increase racial diversity in cycling at the collegiate level in the United States. Starting in 2021, with an initial commitment of three years, they will partner with USA Cycling, the national governing body for cycling in the United States, to launch two new cycling programs at one HBCU and one TCU.
Inspired by St. Augustine’s University’s start of the first HBCU cycling team earlier this year and understanding the dearth of other college programs, Cannondale and EF Pro Cycling recognized the opportunity to support and take action, together with USA Cycling.
“As the dialogue about racial equality came to a head in the US, we listened, we learned, and we looked for ways we could make a lasting impact and provide an opportunity to introduce the sport of cycling to young Black and Indigenous people,” said Dennis Kim, Vice President of Marketing for Cycling Sports Group. “It was important to Cannondale and EF that this was a multi-year commitment to work with these schools to help grow participation.”
As co-founding members of this project with USA Cycling, Cannondale and EF Pro Cycling believe in the importance of inclusion in the cycling community. In year one, the team and Cannondale will support co-ed cycling teams at these schools through equipment, funding, and mentorship.
“We believe that cycling is for everyone. Yet, in reality, not everyone feels welcome or has access today,” said Mary Wittenberg, EF Pro Cycling President. ”We want to help increase diversity in our sport, starting with racial diversity in cycling in the USA. Success will require a comprehensive approach across the industry, so we turned to USA Cycling to talk about how we could best target our energies in concert with others looking to help from grade school to masters-age athletes.”
After the launch of two programs, Cannondale and the team hope to broaden the program in the years to come. The goal is to build long-lasting programs for students to experience the benefits of cycling as well as foster inclusivity, community, and adventure.
“USA Cycling, as the Governing Body for our sport, believes we have a unique opportunity to grow participation in cycling. As part of our investment in rebuilding Collegiate Cycling, we are thrilled to be starting this program with EF and Cannondale. Cycling has many of the challenges seen across our society today and we believe working directly with the HBCU and TCU communities we can begin to open doors with the help of partners in our industry,” said Rob DeMartini, Chief Executive Officer of USA Cycling.
In a continued effort to support this initiative, Cannondale, EF Pro Cycling, and USAC will host a raffle to win one of the Rapha + Palace + Cannondale collab bikes ridden by EF Pro Cycling at the recent Giro d’Italia. This is a rare chance to own a piece of cycling history and provide support in continuing to help build HBCU and TCU cycling programs. Net proceeds from the raffle will be in addition to the contributions made to help fund these programs. Two winners will be randomly selected to receive one of these limited team edition bicycles. The sweepstakes will run for several weeks during the height of the giving season, and winners will be announced in December at the completion of the donation period. Stay tuned for details to come.
Colleges or universities interested in applying for the program should reach out to [email protected].
Photo credit: Jordan Clark Haggard