17–18 June 2023 262 days to go!

Desire Discrimination Determination – Black Champions in Cycling

Published Tuesday August 17th

It’s been a year since the Black Lives Matter movement changed the world, but cycling still has a long way to go to make the sport more inclusive. Rapha is publishing the first book of its kind about black champions in cycling, written by Dr Marlon Moncrieffe, featuring historical research as well as conversations with contemporary riders such as Justin and Cory Williams, Shanaze Reade and Kévin Reza. 

The book reveals the often overlooked achievements and challenges faced by black riders, and could be an essential publication to help inform the conversation of anti-racism in cycling going forward.

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Desire Discrimination Determination – Black Champions in Cycling will be the first book of its kind, providing a collation of international and historical stories of the black athlete experience in the world of competitive cycling. Written by Dr Marlon Moncrieffe, this book is set to make a groundbreaking contribution of knowledge desperately needed in the global cycling industry, taking on issues regarding access, diversity, inclusion, representation and anti-racism in policy and practice. This book will provide much-needed insight into the rich history of black cyclists that has been largely overlooked until now. Marlon takes his own racing experiences, research, and analytical expertise through a wide range of stories, personal reflections, and oral testimonies and interviews. We learn from different generations of well-known black cyclists from across the UK, USA and beyond including; Major Taylor, Maurice Burton, Russell Williams, Kittie Knox, Nelson Vails, Justin and Cory Williams, Shanaze Reade, Kévin Reza, Tre Whyte, Rashaan Bahati, David Clarke and Charlie Reynolds and many more.

The book explores how these protagonists first discovered cycling, their mentors, their ambitions and desires, as well as the explicit and implicit forms of discrimination they faced due to the colour of their skin. It seeks to understand and uncover how despite the white-dominated sport they inhabited, their determination to succeed was never dampened. Marlon brings an expert interpretation of the recent cultural shifts seen through the growing participation of black people in cycling at recreational grassroots and competitive levels, providing a frank analysis of the reception black people have been given in the face of an exclusionary sense of white-only entitlement within the sport.

In a fitting tribute to these athletes’ extraordinary stories, Desire Discrimination Determination – Black Champions in Cycling is lavishly illustrated with rare photographs and reproductions spanning decades, from the first non-white rider to race the Tour de France in 1914 to the black athletes pushing boundaries in the present day. This book is published by the bespoke design, illustration and photography teams from award-winning book publishers Rapha Editions, in collaboration with Bluetrain publishing.