Grow Cycling Foundation is getting a boost to support its work. The foundation, started by former World Cup downhill racer Eliot Jackson, is partnering with the Rapha Foundation.
Grow Cycling Foundation promotes education, access and opportunities that increase diversity and inclusion in cycling. Jackson established the foundation in 2020 in part as a response to the George Floyd protests that year, and the resulting attention to the need for increased diversity in the cycling industry. Grow Cycling aims to create new avenues for community building and carreer development in the cycling industry.
“Not racing gave me space to think and I had the time to try and reconcile what this reckoning meant for me as a Black person and the things that I had experienced over the year,” Jackson says of the origins of Grow Cycling. “People have always looked to support me and have also looked to me for support, so I thought that we could do something to build the sport in a way that it hadn’t been built before.”
With support from the Rapha Foundation and other industry sponsors, Grow Cycling’s first initiative is to develop a world-class 30,000 square foot pumptrack in Los Angeles, bringing a cycling ecosystem to an area that has never before been served such an opportunity.
“At the pumptrack, you’ll be encouraged to discover what cycling means to you. We didn’t want to import cycling culture into this community. We wanted to export this community’s culture into cycling,” says Jackson.
Looking beyond the pumptrack, Grow Cycling is committed to developing more programs, access and professional opportunities when it comes to addressing the inadequate diverse representation in cycling.
Grow Cycling just one group on Rapha Foundation’s list
Rolling into 2021, Rapha Foundation isn’t just working with Grow Cycling. The Foundation is extending its grants to Black Girls Do Bike, Bear National Team, Experience Fayetteville and USA Cycling.
Rapha Foundation was create in 2019 with “the mission of building a better future for cycling and cyclists.” It now funds over 15 organizations around the world. The Foundation supports charitable organizations of all sizes that introduce underserved audiences to cycling.
The organization invests $1.5 million a year in grassroots initiatives and recently announced a new round of grantees would be added to the list of recipients, including Grow Cycling Foundation.