2022 Black History Month
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

15 Influential Black Bike Racers To Know

Honoring the Past, Supporting the Present, and Building the Future

“We are sharing these stories because representation matters. Having a Black cyclist in the group ride matters. Seeing a Black cyclist win an Olympic medal matters. Representation is the first step in making cycling an inclusive and welcoming community. These individuals have shown leadership, persistence, and commitment in breaking down barriers, one pedal stroke at a time. USA Cycling is committed to diversifying American bike racing and we want to see these Black athletes succeed.”

-- David Lipscomb, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at USA Cycling.

Maize Wimbush (@amaizencyclist)

15-year-old Maryland-native Maize Wimbush became the first African American Female Junior Road National Champion at the 2021 USA Cycling Amateur Road Nationals. Maize’s ambition in cycling is to become the first African American woman competing in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games for Team USA.

Josh Hartman (@joshprohartman)

Riding for Star Track Cycling, Josh Hartman is one of America’s up-and-coming track sprinters as he aims for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. He always knew he wanted to be a professional cyclist but suddenly saw that potentially come to an end after suffering a severe injury in 2013. After the crash, Josh’s first thought was when he could get back on the bike. He persevered and got back into racing… and winning. He landed on several National Championship podiums in 2016, then brought home the stars-and-stripes in 2017, winning the Team Sprint event at the 2017 Elite Track National Championships. He repeated the feat in 2018.

Jackson Capela

Jackson Capela was interested in cycling at a young age but didn’t seriously get involved until the Lexus Velodrome opened up in his hometown of Detroit. He emerged onto the national cycling scene in the “Milk Life Next Olympic Hopeful,” where he was the youngest finalist in the competition. Nearly 50 athletes went to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center to compete for spots in six sports: bobsled, cycling, rowing, rugby, skeleton, and weightlifting. Jackson went in knowing that he had his sights set on track cycling spot. At 20-years-old, Jackson is working with the USA Cycling Track Sprint program to train for the Paris 2024 and LA 2028 Olympic Games.

Dalton Walters (@daltwalt_)

Dalton Walters got into cycling through the varsity cycling team at his high school in Dallas, Texas. He attended college for one of the best collegiate cycling teams in the country, Colorado Mesa University. After graduating from college with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, he started working with Toyota Racing Development. Dalton is also part of the USA Cycling Track Sprint program and is training for the Paris 2024 and LA 2028 Olympic Games.

Ayesha McGowan (@ayesuppose)

Ayesha McGowan is a professional road cyclist and an advocate for better representation of people of color in cycling. A few months after she began competitive cycling in 2014, she discovered that no African-American woman had ever been on a UCI professional road team… until now. Ayesha raced domestically with Liv Cycling in 2020, then made the step up to Liv’s Women’s World Tour team the following year. One of her best results was placing 7th on stage 6 of the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche, putting African-American women at the forefront of cycling for the first time.

Justin and Cory Williams (@juswilliamz & @nationsnumber1beast)

Brothers Justin and Cory Williams started racing as teens and are now a dominant force in the American crit racing scene. Justin, Cory, and brother CJ formed L39ION of Los Angeles in 2019 with a goal of increasing diversity and inclusion in cycling. At the end of the 2020 season, the team created a women’s team and stepped up to UCI Continental for the men.

Sam Scipio (@salmonilla)

Sam Scipio is a single-speed, ultra-endurance queen! She first discovered cycling in college and is known for racing 24-hour mountain bike races, big gravel events, and major adventure challenges. She’s competed in races like the Trans North Georgia, Tour Divide, and the Eco Challenge. In 2019, she competed in the Eco Challenge, known as the World’s Toughest Race, which includes 11 days of ocean paddling, stand-up paddle boarding, whitewater rafting, jungle trekking, rock climbing, swimming, and mountain biking. She joined three other athletes to form the first African American racing team. She recently launched Jubilee Manufacturing, a bike frame building business where she can express her creativity.

Reggie Miller (@reggiemillertnt)

Reggie Miller is most well-known for his NBA career with the Indiana Pacers. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for his time with the Pacers. After retiring from the NBA, he moved into commentating for TNT and took up cycling to stay fit in his retirement. Now an avid mountain biker in his Boombaby kit, Reggie has been serving on the USA Cycling Board of Directors since 2020. Reggie’s goal with cycling is to bring more diversity into the sport, partnering with racers like Ayesha McGowan, Justin & Cory Williams, and more to elevate BIPOC athletes in cycling.

Rahsaan Bahati (@bahatiracing)

A 10-time U.S. National Champion, Rahsaan Bahati is the founder of the Bahati Foundation, a brand ambassador for Giant, a Social Impact Manager at Zwift, and a member of the USA Cycling DEI Task Force. Competing as a professional road cyclist, Rahsaan was one of the first African American men to get signed to a World Tour team. Through the Bahati Foundation, formed in 2010, he focuses on building strong and healthy communities by increasing access to opportunities for underserved youth on and off the bike.

Eliot Jackson (@eliotjackson)

Eliot started out in the two-wheeled world racing dirt bikes. By 15, he had four motocross national championships, but was still interested in trying something new. The next obvious sport to pick up was downhill mountain biking. By 20, he was lining up for his first World Cup. After spending years racing the UCI Downhill World Cup circuit, Elliot was progressing in the broadcasting space and started commentating on Red Bull TV. In 2020, when the protests against racial injustice arose, Eliot was driven to make cycling a more inclusive space and started the Grow Cycling Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to promote education, access, and opportunities that increase diversity and inclusion in cycling.

Shaums March (@shaumsmarch)

Shaums March began his life on two-wheels racing BMX at 12 but switched to mountain bikes by 1994. He is a two-time Downhill Masters World Champion, former Red Bull athlete, and technical skills coach for the USA Cycling National Team. Shaums has worked at numerous events with USA Cycling, but his most recent was at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, helping the Cross-Country Mountain Bike Team polish their lines on the technical sections of the course. Shaums is a co-owner of March Northwest, helping people build confidence, have fun, and learn skills on mountain bikes in the Pacific Northwest.

Nelson Vails (@ridewithnelly)

Nelson Vails was first introduced to cycling as a bike messenger in New York City in the late 1970s. He raced road and track professionally from 1988 to 1995, winning four U.S. National Championships, the Pan American Games, and representing the United States at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Nelson won the silver medal in the 1,000-meter Match Sprint behind teammate Mark Gorski and became the first African American to medal in cycling. Nelson was inducted into the U.S. Bicycle Hall of Fame in 2009.

Major Taylor (1878-1932)

Known as the first Black sports superstar, Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor was the second Black athlete to hold a world championship title in any sport. Taylor won the one-mile sprint event at the 1899 Track World Championships and was the U.S. National Sprint Champion in 1899 and 1900. Several cycling clubs, trails, and events in the U.S. have been named in his honor, as well as the Major Taylor Velodrome in his hometown of Indianapolis.

Kitty Knox (1874-1900)

Kitty Knox was a true cycling pioneer. The Boston native's story of courage in the face of racial tension helped desegregate the cycling world and offered a hopeful vision for the future. In 1893, Kittie joined the Riverside Cycling Club, the first black cycling group, and was accepted as a member of the League of American Wheelmen (L.A.W.). A year later, the organization created a “white only” membership policy. Kittie fought for her membership to keep competing in the 100-mile races. Finally, in July 1895, L.A.W. accepted Kittie, making her the first first-ever African American member.