If you haven’t noticed Bogotá Humana’s (the women’s cycling team from Colombia) “half-nude” kits by now, you might be living in a cave. (Which might not be such a bad thing).
Today, I was alerted to thirteen articles about women’s cycling. Twelve, yes TWELVE, of those articles were about the “Colombian Women’s Cycling Team” (Bogotá Humana) kits. The news sources reporting on the supposed kit fail included USA Today, Telegraph, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Dailymail, NRP, Independent, Buzzfeed, and Complex, just to name a few. And my favorite article on Styleite, by Hannah Ongley, who describes the ensemble as a “fleshy-fabulous uniform” and “a would-be feminist masterpiece”.
I think that’s amazing.
But what I find troubling is the reaction by the cycling world to this so-called “scandal” and the suggestion these Colombian riders should be embarrassed of the pseudo fleshy tone.
Let’s back up for a second.
How often does a women’s cycling team get exposure in the mainstream media? How often does professional cycling get exposure in the mainstream media? I mean, you know, for something other than banned substances?
Yet it is being suggested that the women of Bogotá Humana should be embarrassed that the gold color on their kits, of their team, represented at Giro della Toscana this week, doesn’t photograph well?
These women are professional athletes. They have achieved greatness in a sport rank with adversity and sexism. This is bike racing. And bike racing is hard. The women of Bogotá Humana are hard.
Let’s go back to the thirteenth article on that list, a story we read on Cycling Weekly. It seems the Norwegian Cycling Federation has failed to fill its Women’s World Championship quota, only naming 3 riders for 5 available spots inciting a rider protest at the final stage of Norges Cup in Norway.
Now that is something to be upset about. As is the inequality women face every single day in the sport and in the industry.
Change doesn’t come about by honing in on inconsequential details, finding fault where there is no fault, calling in to question the intentions of a kit design created by one of the very women wearing it.
Change comes from moving the needle forward, with positive momentum.
So, if you would like to join us, we’ll be over here cheering, telling inspiring stories of women riding bikes every single day, stories of achievement, camaraderie, empowerment and the most beautiful sport the world has ever seen.
And to the women of Bogotá Humana, we applaud you. You have our hearts, you have our admiration, you have the world’s stage. Now give them something to shout about.
Make us proud, make us cheer for you.
GO BE HEROES.
By Sarai Snyder – Head Passion Pedaler, Girl Bike Love – Boulder, CO