Big athletes lack the cycling world, but two cyclists from the Northwest are changing the game

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If you’ve ever ridden a bike, you might have laughed at some viral TikTok video featuring queer pop singer-songwriter Be Steadwell as she talks, with performative solemnity, of white men. by bike: “White men on bikes, they are important. They have outfits, like in a race. You exist in their own way.

The video gained 97,500 likes and 18,000 shares, and for good reason: add “thin” to those descriptors, and you get a pretty accurate distillation of the backward tendency of the cycling world to prioritize white, male and cisgender athletes. to the detriment of everyone. This unbalanced dynamic has an impact on everything from historic wage inequalities in the race for equipment that only fits a narrow range of sizes to the prolonged disintegration that was the women’s Tour de France.

Two cyclists from the Northwest, Marley Blonsky and Kailey Kornhauser, are changing that, at least in part. One bike trip at a time, one training at a time, they advocate making cycling communities more inclusive, recognizing the existence and validity of big athletes, and challenging limited ideas about what someone should look like. ‘one who rides a bike.

The two joined forces after initially logging in on Instagram. After sharing the observation that the inclusion of size was not really addressed in the world of cycling, they began to raise awareness in cycling communities through training, partnerships and advice on size.

Kornhauser even appeared on the cover of Cycling magazine and wrote an accompanying essay, “I’m a fat cyclist — and I don’t need to ‘fix’ my body,” strongly advocating for a changed cycling world in which “everyone, not just fat people, accept that our idea of ​​athletics is wrong.

Kornhauser and Blonksy’s advocacy appears to be gaining ground. On August 29, the Oregon Short Film Festival awarded the award for best documentary film to All bodies on bikes—A documentary produced by Zeppelin Zeerip about the two cyclists and their work.

In just over 13 minutes, All bodies on bikes examines the complexity of body image and questions how anti-fat manifests itself while cycling through the types of messages so well described in Steadwell’s TikTok video.

Both Kornhauser and Blonksy are blunt, emphatic and funny, like when Kornhauser introduces himself: “I’m Kailey Kornhauser. I have a doctorate. student at OSU. I’m riding a bike. And I am fat. These are some facts about me.

But both are equally lucid about how an anti-fat culture hurts people in bigger bodies. Kornhauser describes a nutritionist unnecessarily telling her to eat fewer apples as a child, and Blonsky identifies a lack of visibility for heavy athletes that prevents people from riding bikes. “For a long time, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me riding the types of bikes I did,” she says.

All bodies on bikes is revolutionary in the same way that any sensitive recognition of the inclusiveness of size in sport is revolutionary. It features a photo of Kornhauser cruising through ferns and old shoots on his mountain bike, confident and strong. Even when she fades away at one point, she stands up triumphantly, dusted her hands, and said the fall made her feel like “a real mountain biker“.

In a very literal sense, the film is a way for Blonsky and Kornhauser to embody the visibility they found lacking in their own cycling experiences. Seeing them in action is an instant rebuttal to limited thought that suggests that people with larger bodies cannot enjoy the sport for themselves, but should do so as punishment, or only once they are slimmer. .

Or as Kornhauser puts it, “I’m not here to fix my body or make it look a certain… the main reason we go is to have fun.

And it sounds like fun. All bodies on bikes may focus on Kornhauser and Blonsky’s advocacy, but it also captures a different stage: their first cycling trip together.

That’s right. Despite their collaboration, Seattle-based Blonsky and Kornhauser in Corvallis hadn’t ridden together until this year. All bodies on bikes documents their first cycling camping trip together on the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail, as they dance on Meghan Thee Stallion and tame 7,500 feet above sea level on their way to a triumphant plunge into the Pacific.

“I want people to feel empowered to ride a bike wherever they want to go,” Blonsky says in the film’s cheerful coda. “I think there’s a really big move about to happen, and it’s really exciting because the big guys?” We have finished hiding.

This “real great movement” is the one that Blonsky and Kornhauser are launching themselves. In Seattle, Blonsky is co-hosting Moxie Monday, a cycling series for female, non-binary, trans and female cyclists. Social, drop-free rides – rides where no one is left behind – create a community among cyclists who aren’t thin white men on bikes, and send a clear message that if you want to ride a bike, you should. , whatever social message might suggest otherwise.

There is only one situation where this does not apply: smoke season. In this scenario, says Blonsky, “my best advice is to do your workout indoors.”

Learn more about the health and wellness of Willamette Week 2021 here


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