Ethnic Background

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David
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Ethnic Background

Postby David » 3 Feb 2007, 12:29pm

While watching the TDF last year I didn't see any riders from Japan - despite Shimano being one of the big sponsors of the event, I also didn't see any Africans or Asians. While I'm out on my bike I mainly see people like me - blokes - and the occasional female.

This came back to me after the Censored debate on the forum. I thought it would be interesting to start a poll on the question to try and get an idea of who's reading this and who's riding.

Now I hate those PC Equal Opportunity forms you get when you apply for many jobs but I can't think of anything better.

I can imagine asking these questions will annoy some people and the thread will probably get locked off but this could actually be quite a useful debate. From my own experience, I have an image of the cycling community in the UK and it would be interesting to see if my image is confirmed by this board.

Before I create the poll, I'll post this and ask for comments as to what questions should be asked and see what sort of debate is required.

D

reohn2

Postby reohn2 » 3 Feb 2007, 12:55pm

Does it matter what ethnic back ground one is?I have to ask this as I'm colour blind. :wink:

David
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Postby David » 3 Feb 2007, 1:43pm

reohn2 wrote:Does it matter what ethnic back ground one is?I have to ask this as I'm colour blind. :wink:


No it doesn't, and that's why I wondered. We have a sizeable non white male community in the UK - 50% of the population can be classed thus, what I'm really interested in is why doesn't cycling seem to reflect this ?

We all spout on about how wonderful cycling is and how the bicycle gives you great freedom and is generally a good thing but why is it still a niche. I have only ever seen one be-turbanned Sikh riding a bicycle for example. I have never seen an African woman cycling - up until a month ago I had never seen an African male cycling (in the UK). MY favourite personal quote is "On a bike we're all cyclists", i.e. being a cyclist makes a better statement about you than your ethnic background BUT underneath that what are we when we aren't on the bikes, what would some sociologist in an ivory tower call us ?

I'll stop and talk to any other cyclist and we'll all swap stories at a real tea shop stop, but who are we swapping them with - ourselves.

Why aren't the minorities there ?

All interesting questions, and I know somebody's going to come back and tell me she's from and African ethnic background and organises rides for like minded people :-)

This isn't just about ethnicity - there's also age, sexuality, gender, disability and possibly dozens of others I can't think of to consider.

ThomasDylan

Postby ThomasDylan » 3 Feb 2007, 1:49pm

Good point! Actually, I had actually thought about something similar yesterday - honest :-).

I was rather more biased towards asking what socio-economic group a member is from. Though ethnicity would add to the breadth of the survey.

I think it is significant, because I get the strong feeling that the membership breakdown of the CTC is old, white, male and middle-class.

Apart from the old, questionably, I fall into that category myself.

If I can give an example... Years ago Massey Ferguson Tractors in Coventry were found guilty of only recruiting white employess, even though Coventry had sizeable Asian and Afro-Caribean populations. There was nothing overtly racist about their recruitment policies, per se, just that they recruited (white) friends of (white) friends into the company. Probably an oversimplification, but nevertheless, they did not look into the wider community for employees.

So, the CTC could be in danger of falling into the same trap. I'm glad to see membership expanding, but a profile of the membership, based on age, gender, social class and ethnic background would be something the management could use to broaden the Club's appeal. Possibly without having to go down the over-populist route they are currently taking.

reohn2

Postby reohn2 » 3 Feb 2007, 3:51pm

I we need firstly look at the number of people using this forum,which is a very small percentage of the membership.Given that, the percentage of ethnic peoples in society as a whole is small and some sections of those groups live in close knit groups,then add to that the "fringe" label attached to cycling it wouldn't surprise me if members of the CTC who are part of ethnic groups doesn't reflect the percentage of the groupings in the wider society.
Is the reason for your post to get more ethnic/minority cyclists to join the CTC?
Or are you asking why are there not more ethnic/minorities people cycling?
If so what can be done with that information.

PS theres no "edge" to my questions,just curious.

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hubgearfreak
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Postby hubgearfreak » 3 Feb 2007, 4:12pm

the CTC may have missed an opportunity here. they're doing a survey that questions age, number of children, sex and household income, but not ethnic origin (if that's the correct phrase?)

i would guess that in lincoln, the few people i see cycling represent the general population, or there abouts.

http://193.82.124.197/webss/wsb.dll/bth ... Question24

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Penfold
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Postby Penfold » 3 Feb 2007, 4:59pm

[quote="David]No it doesn't, and that's why I wondered. We have a sizeable non white male community in the UK - 50% of the population can be classed thus, what I'm really interested in is why doesn't cycling seem to reflect this ?
[quote]


Have I miss understood that, are you of the opinion that 50% of males in the UK are non-white?

I would struggle to agree with that point. (Unless you have some evidence to disply here) Perhaps I just miss understood (not unknown :oops: )

As to why there are few minority cyclists out there I would hazard a guess at their sporting heritage.

By this I mean look at many many 'traditional' UK sports, Rugby, Soccer, Tennis, Swimming, etc etc.

How many people (male/female) of an Asian background take part?
Can anyone name one? (perhaps a couple of soccer players)

What about African/West Indies background? Up until a few years ago it was exactly the same, but in one sport (soccer) it began to change, (Luther Blisset, Paul Ince etc) now there isn't a team in any league without Black players.
So does that recent change of circumstances in soccer effect the mimority groups mindset?

I'm quite sure that if (BIG IF at the moment) a Black/Asian guy was to appear on the scene and challenge for the Tour De France title the whole scene would change almost overnight.

I think that sometimes what is needed is a role model and at this time in 'our' sport the minority groups don't have an example to live up to.

This has the makings of a most interesting debate. Lets just hope its viewed as a proper topic and no stupidity creeps in :evil:
I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything,
I still believe that people are really good at heart.
- Anne Frank

There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England.
- Winston Churchill

David
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Postby David » 3 Feb 2007, 7:05pm

Penfold wrote:[


Not mis-understood, just badly explained by me :-) What I meant that 50% (or therabouts) of the population is not male, i.e. female.

Agree it's interesting and I think it is one of those questions that somebody somewhere will be seething over thinking that it shouldn't be asked because it is a taboo subject.

I deliberately didn't create a survey form because I don't think the survey forms available in the forum could do this sort of subject justice. I'm hoping that it will go on and become interesting, especially if we get posters from known regions of dense ethnic minorities such as Bradford or Birmingham to relate their experiences.

Dai

Postby Dai » 3 Feb 2007, 7:12pm

When I'm out and about on the bike I don't really notice what ethnic background they have - all I see is a cyclist. I divide them into two categories - those that go faster than me and those that need to be overtaken.

Brian
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Postby Brian » 3 Feb 2007, 7:41pm

I have only ever seen one be-turbanned Sikh riding a bicycle for example. I have never seen an African woman cycling - up until a month ago I had never seen an African male cycling (in the UK).


Yet if you go to Africa or Asia there are millions of people riding bikes.
Could it be that they come to this country hoping for a better way of life and don't see a bike as an improvement on their original way of life.

Its the same problem as has been mentioned in other threads, a bike is seen as a poor mans mode of transport. Its a mindset that exists right across the board, not just with ethnic minorities.

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Penfold
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Postby Penfold » 3 Feb 2007, 8:38pm

David,

:lol: All is now clear.

I live in the Black Country that encompasses (in the loosest terms)Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, West Brom, so my area has quite a high minority group population.

I am being completly honest now when I say I can't recall ever seeing an Asian riding a push bike for pleasure (couple of posties at work though)

I know of one Black guy who rides a road bike for pleasure but that's about it.

Funny thing I've just thought about......The kids don't seem to be out riding bikes either.
Mind you I think there are less and less kids of any culture riding bikes now (unless in virtual Tour-de-France that is)

Can I ask....Does CTC and other pro-cycling groups print their info/leaflets in the most common minority languages, Hindu, Punjabi etc

Can I add that any question that may help a debate that promotes the joys of cycling should never be considered taboo
I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything,
I still believe that people are really good at heart.
- Anne Frank

There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England.
- Winston Churchill

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 3 Feb 2007, 8:43pm

I saw a turbanned sikh cycling the other day and FWIW he was nearly my age and it was a lady's bike. (Or should that be, open frame of the type once described as lady's?) The fact that he was about 50 yards away from the Sikh temple may be connected.

Overall, I suspect Brian is right. Migrants are generally the most ambitious, aspiring people (that is why they migrate.) In many of the poorer parts of the world, where much migration originates, the move from pedal cycle to motorised transport is seen as an even bigger advance than it is here.

None of that explains why no japanese in European cycle racing. They must be happy to stay with domestic sport. I cannot imagine they would fail if they really decided to have a go in Europe.

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Si
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Postby Si » 3 Feb 2007, 9:31pm

I've started to notice more black cyclists around here (Birmingham), I think that as cycling becomes more of a life-style option and no longer seen only in utility terms, that more people of all backgrounds will take it up.

Indeed, there was a Sikh charity ride here last year - must have been at least 150 strong pedalling out of the centre of Brum and along the Lichfield Rd, all seeming to be enjoying themselves greatly.

Dai

Postby Dai » 3 Feb 2007, 9:37pm

Si wrote:I've started to notice more black cyclists around here (Birmingham), I think that as cycling becomes more of a life-style option and no longer seen only in utility terms, that more people of all backgrounds will take it up.

Indeed, there was a Sikh charity ride here last year - must have been at least 150 strong pedalling out of the centre of Brum and along the Lichfield Rd, all seeming to be enjoying themselves greatly.


That reminds me - I took my offspring to a place near here called Margam Park a few years ago. We were joined in mid-afternoon by a huge mass of Asians on bicycles who proceeded to sit in a huge circle, with their wives and children, and have what looked like the best picnic on the planet complete with games of rounders and cricket. I remember being struck by the sunlight glinting off hundreds of bicycles. Fantastic.

Terry T

Postby Terry T » 3 Feb 2007, 10:54pm

I don't think it matters a jot what your background is, and by that I don't just mean ethnicity.
We are cyclists, and that is probably the only common denominator, and the only fact that is of any relevance.
However, I have a sneaking suspiscion that some of the men on this forum are actually women, and some of the women are actually men! :wink:
Not that it matters you understand.