Specialized founder donates $10m to tackle racism

As seen in Eurosport, Specialized Bikes founder Mike Sinyard has announced he will donate $10 million to the company’s Outride foundation to further its work increasing diversity in cycling and tackling racism.

The announcement, sent in a letter to the company’s partners and clients, came after worldwide protests took place in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by US police in Minneapolis on 25th May.

In the letter, Sinyard noted that this has not been a ‘normal year’ referencing the impact of the Covid-19, and reflects on the current anti-racism protest movements sweeping the globe.

“I recognize that cycling, which can have such a positive impact on peoples lives, also has a problem with race, and Specialized has contributed to that problem,” he wrote. “But I truly believe that in moments of crisis, we have the greatest opportunity for making a change, and a difference.”

Sinyard will donate $10 million to further Outride over the next three years, which was formed in 2015 to target young people. Since then, the organisation has been breaking down barriers to enable all children to have safe access to bikes and places to ride.

According to Sinyard, though, the brand still has a way to go in promoting diversity. The $10 million will be used to accelerate the organisation’s work in school and youth development programmes, with an increased focus on underrepresented and under-served communities.

He added: “Now is a time for all of us to talk less and listen more. Discrimination and prejudice of any kind have no place on our team or within our community of riders.

“As our sport and community grows, the faces, ideas and perspectives of the people you’ll be riding with will look different than what we are used today. Let’s listen to each other, learn from each other, share the trail and the road with each other, fight for each other.

“We believe that cycling changes lives, and that together we can pedal the planet forward.”

Numerous brands, bike shops and industry veterans within the cycling industry have thrown their support behind protesters. The likes of Cannondale and SRAM have released statements condemning racism and calling on the bike trade to accelerate efforts to increase diversity within cycling.

Meanwhile, Trek CEO John Burke has pledged a six-point manifesto in a blog post detailing the future direction of the brand, including the creation of 1,000 cycling industry jobs for people of colour and investment in community diversity.

A survey released last year supported by British Cycling, titled ‘Diversity in Cycling’, indicated while there are more BAME riders on the road than five years ago, clubs still aren’t doing enough to appeal to minority groups, with the majority of respondents citing visibility and engagement as areas which are lacking.

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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