Many riders push themselves to be better athletes, to climb harder and descend faster. However, there are some riders out there that athletic performance is only the beginning of their journey. These athletes have a purpose beyond their own pedals to push the cycling industry to be a better place for everyone. Meet our riders and ambassadors that are making it a point to drive the cycling industry towards inclusivity.
Welcome to WTB's Ride With Purpose.
Name: Nehemiah Brown
Where’s your local riding spot:
Marin County, CA
Business Development for a Robotics Startup in SF
Favorite WTB product:
The 40c Nano rules! You can ride just about any surface with a Nano.
One thing you never leave on a ride without:
Favorite biking partner:
My wife Lauren. Our first date was a bike ride, and we’ve created many memories on the bike.
Nehemiah with his wife, Lauren.
What's a perfect day of biking look like to you:
An early start with a small group of friends and going for a 60-80 mile gravel adventure (and probably getting lost somewhere along the way). Big days on the bike are my favorite way to relax, and I feel most connected to my best-self during these rides.
How did you get into biking:
I started riding BMX bikes a kid and then mountain bikes as a teen. I’ve been hooked ever since!
Why do you ride:
Cycling does so many things for me. It’s how I exercise, commute to work, socialize with friends and explore nature. It's also a space for me to practice photography, so I can share these moments with others.
Was there a pivotal moment for you that made you start showing up for inclusivity within the industry? Or how did you start shifting your perspective?
Last year after the murder of George Floyd, I spoke up about racism that was existing on a very popular cycling platform.
When people in my local cycling community became aware of the problem, they immediately supported me. We all worked together to get the platform to fix the problem, update their terms of service and make a public commitment to antiracism.
The lesson I learned was that cycling brands are willing to listen and want to do the right thing. We can’t be afraid to speak up.
What changes are you advocating in the industry and how:
I find a great amount of joy and satisfaction from participating in gravel events. Each event gives me something to work towards and creates lifelong memories. I want more people who look like me to have this type of joy and fulfillment as well.
One way to accomplish this is by creating curated experiences for diverse riders. We can remove all barriers by offering free entry and access to loaner gear if needed. I started working with Grinduro, and we are taking steps to make this happen. I’m optimistic that other events will roll out similar programs.
How can we create a bike industry that is accessible to everyone?
Don’t be afraid to think out of the box and be willing to try bold things. Be ready to continually invest in programs and ideas that are down-payments on achieving racial equity.
If you had to pick one thing every rider, and company needs to do today to create a more inclusive industry, what would it be:
One thing people and companies can do is focus on these three key areas:
Delegate part of your spending to diverse businesses.
Recruit, hire and retain diverse candidates.
Donate money to organizations that are uplifting marginalized groups.
How can other people get more involved with shift the industry towards more inclusivity:
We all can get involved by supporting brands that have made clear statements of their values and taken action towards achieving inclusivity.
It's 10 years from today…. What is the bike industry like in your eyes:
I believe the cycling industry can be a leader and example to other industries on how to achieve diversity, equality and inclusion. As a group, cyclists are very data driven and goal orientated. We need to identify desired outcomes and be ready to measure progress toward those goals.
Check out more from Nehemiah on Instagram