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When A Rainbow Jersey Doesn’t Mean You’re a UCI World Champion

By Adam Marsal

Most cycle clubs are open to a wide range of newcomers, however, there are some that are more narrowly specialized. There are cycling firefighters, cycling nudists, cycling bears, cycling hunters and, indeed, cycling gays and lesbians.

Focusing mainly on LGBTQ cyclists, the CycleOut London club started in 1996 as an outdoor sports group. This is just an example of a club that can be found anywhere in the world, most likely including your country or even city.

The founders wanted to give gay and lesbian cyclists a supportive environment for shared rides in a free-minded community. The club is said to be welcoming towards people of any age and sporting abilities, offering them an alternative opportunity to meet new friends outside of clubs and bars.

CycleOut in Cyprus. © CycleOut Facebook

There’s no typical member but the founders say that the club still suffers from the lack of female cyclists but this is subject to an effort for improvement. In order to attract all kinds of cyclists, they organise rides ranging from 20 km on flat roads to up to 100 km in hilly terrain. Apart from regular rides around the city, they often arrange cycling holidays on Mallorca, Sardinia, and other destinations.

“I enjoy the opportunity to be out with the club, be it for a full day, half a day or a full week. It provides an opportunity to meet new and interesting people,” said member Nasser Tell in an interview for the Pride Life Magazine.

San Francisco Pride Parade in 2016. © Profimedia, Alamy

Similar stories can be found all around the world. Brendan Housler, a professional cyclist from New York City, described his life before coming out as an internal battle of trying to identify and accept himself. After telling his family and friends, his life instantly evolved and everything became better. In the interview for Outsport, he recalled comments on his coming out including cries of disbelief that such excellent sportsman could have been gay. A six-time New York State Elite Men’s Cycling Champion and a Nalgene Cycling team member is just a visible representative among others.

The advantage of LGBTQ communities is that the members are active in the online environment, making it easier for interested people to find the appropriate club and join. On the other hand, most gays and lesbians would be doubtlessly welcome in every cycling club. What’s your opinion?