Friday throwback: riding with your 'fro intact

Every Friday here at ibikelondon we're looking at images from the Flickr commons of cyclists from around the world over the years.  Last week we looked at how the 1970s oil crisis forced children to ride to school.  

Sticking with the 1970s, this week we visit the District of Columbia in the United States, where this photograph of black teenagers cycling along the banks of the Potomac river was taken.  I like this picture for a number of reasons; I like the quality of the light on this seemingly carefree spring day, I like the clothes the guys riding bikes are wearing (and the fact that "cycling apparel" seems to be entirely absent in this image).  And I really like their hair, especially the afro the chap on the left is sporting.

It has to be said, you don't see many afros aboard bicycles in London and indeed black riders here are a minority within the minority of cyclists themselves.  This fairly epic Reddit thread on how to find a bike helmet that's compatable with your 'fro is most enjoyable, but there are more serious considerations at hand too.  Everyone knows the story of 1900s black American track cyclist Major Taylor and the racial segregation he faced, but there's been much less debate as to why it wasn't until 2011 that a black man lined up to race a stage of the Tour de France. (2011!!)

Racial politics aside, I like that this photo from 1973 captured a great moment between a group of friends out on their bikes one sunny afternoon - I wonder if they are still riding together today?

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1 comment:

Mat said...

Regarding black Tour de France riders...cycling does seem to be a predominantly white sport at the highest level and hasn't been represented massively by either the Asian or African continents.

MTN are doing a good job for African cycling now though and Gregory Bauge has been a World Champion/Olympic Medallist on the track so there is some inclusion but it's possible that the genetics that appears to make West Africans ideal for football/rugby and East Africans ideal for long distance running (stereotypes exist for a reason and obviously there's exceptions!) may actually hinder them from reaching the ideal cycling body.