Grinduro event organisers have offered riders at Grinduro Wales the chance to show their support for inclusion in sport by creating a ‘Concerned Cyclists’ jersey, subverting the phrasing used in a letter from an MP who questioned their approach to the inclusion of a Trans cyclist in the event.
When Grinduro received a letter in spring that began with the wording “concerned cyclists,” we knew we had to respond. The concern, raised by an MP, related to a transgender athlete taking part in our weekend-long event. Our response takes the form of a limited edition long-sleeve t-shirt that we’re giving away for free for in-person collection at this weekend’s Grinduro Wales event (July 24/25).
We are a proudly inclusive event and welcome and encourage all to join us irrespective of their gender, gender identity or other. We view Grinduro, which is the world’s only global gravel series, as much more than just a race; it’s a stand against bigotry in cycling. A current hot topic within the world of sport is the issue of trans athletes. Taking a standpoint of inclusivity, we themed the top around the Olympic Committee’s ethos that participation in sport is a human right. This special one-off t-shirt is therefore a statement of support for marginalised athletes.Grinduro
The jersey was offered for pre-order on the Grinduro site, and ‘sold’ out within 48 minutes of being listed. However, Grinduro is not profiting from the jerseys – they are being given away for free, with riders being invited to donate to Pride Sports in return for one of this limited run.
Grinduro goes by the trademarked slogan ‘The perfect party-to-race ratio‘, which perhaps sets the tone that this event is about having fun and taking part, rather than the podiums. The event offers riders the choice of male, female and neutral gender race categories, broken down into a range of ages. Though, as an event with courses designed to mean you have the wrong bike for a substantial part of the race, regardless of the bike you choose, these categories are perhaps not all that relevant. For a participation focussed ‘fun’ event such as Grinduro to face questions from an MP about the inclusion of a Trans cyclist in their event illustrates the influence that government policy and formalised competitive sports operating under governing bodies has on attitudes at grass roots and more informal events.
With governing bodies displaying an ever-shifting outlook on the inclusion of transgender athletes, we feel that trans athletes have not been given a fair approach to their chosen discipline. Without these athletes being able to represent their communities, we cannot hope to be considered as a welcoming event for all. And that matters to us, because since its inception, Grinduro has set out to be an event pioneer.– Paul Errington, owner of Northern Consultancy Co, who manage the Grinduro Global series on behalf of Giro Sport Design.
Grinduro Wales is taking place 24-25 July. Here’s Amanda’s report from last year:
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