The Issue Is...

We can all agree that cycling's beautiful, but if we're being real, there are parts of our culture that need a good shake. In this series, host Jen Whalen rides with people who share their vision for social change using cycling as their megaphone. The first step to change is starting the conversation—let's go.

The Issue Is...

We can all agree that cycling's beautiful, but if we're being real, there are parts of our culture that need a good shake. In this series, host Jen Whalen rides with people who share their vision for social change using cycling as their megaphone. The first step to change is starting the conversation—let's go.

If you can make it appealing to kids in the hood, that will change what the sport looks like.
Justin Williams
Justin Williams

The Issue Is: Representation & Inclusivity

There are very few sports with a culture more heavily steeped in traditions and "old-guard" ways than road cycling. You have the unspoken rules everyone seems to play by, trajectories to follow if you want to make it as a pro, and then the icing on the cake—it's a predominately white male sport. In the words of the USA Amateur Crit and Road Champion, Justin Williams, that has to change.

Host Jen Whalen met with Justin to talk representation and inclusivity, which left us contemplating what we can do as an industry to make it easier for people to break through the walled garden that is cycling culture. Watch and read more on Justin Williams’ perspective, and then join the conversation.

Sometimes it's hard to sit in a room and have somebody staring at you, waiting for you to say something. Riding alongside next to somebody, it's amazing what it will bring up.
Heather Russell
Heather Russell

The Issue Is: Bikes As Healers

In a sport dominated by competition and time-honored shots of suffering on a bike, it's easy to forget that for many people, it's not about that at all. Bikes can offer more than the power to explore. As a survivor of sexual trauma, Heather Russell—founder of Sacred Cycle, an organization dedicated to helping survivors of sexual trauma find a way out of their pain—feels lucky to have found a path to recovery through riding bikes.

We often think of freedom on a bicycle as being an escape from a physical location, but as Jen Whalen finds out as she rides with Heather, they can also help unlock minds and bodies stuck in a traumatic memory.

The idea that you have to get thin before you can even ride a bike because you have to wear 'those' clothes? This is a barrier for women doing the sport.
Jenn Kriske
Jenn Kriske

The Issue Is: Cycling's Body Problem

Jenn Kriske, Machines for Freedom CEO & Founder, is proof positive that when the market is not serving you—or a large swath of the population for that matter—you have to step up and do it yourself. From frustration comes the potential for social change.

With her eyes set firmly on inclusion of all body types in the marketing and design of women's cycling clothing, Jen Whalen chats with Jenn in her studio and on a ride to discuss her journey to now and what she's hoping to achieve with Machines for Freedom as the brand continues to champion representation across the board.