Recently, Athletic Brewing, brewers of non-alcoholic beers enjoyed by many outdoor athletes, announced a new initiative to support the spaces their drinkers enjoy: Two For The Trails. This new initiative will have Athletic Brewing donating 2 percent of sales dollars to community initiatives, like trail protection and cleanup, that support healthy, active outdoor lifestyles, especially where there are funding gaps.
Athletic Brewing isn’t just trying to improve the spaces we recreate in; it’s working to make the cycling and outdoor recreation community as a whole more inclusive. To learn more about both efforts, we spoke with Alex Showerman (she/her), Athletic Brewing’s director of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and non-profit partnerships.
Showerman and Athletic are using the Two for the Trails program to support those already established in the community. “Our aim is to empower and amplify the people who are doing the work,” says Showerman. Athletic is looking to do this across a broad spectrum of projects including pump tracks, urban green space and projects that highlight the social importance of outdoor spaces, like a signage project to highlight the civil rights importance of a Florida State Park beach.
In combination with these efforts, Athletic is focused on improving the cycling community itself. Too often, the cycling world can be unwelcoming, and even confrontational, especially for those who are not part of the dominant demographic. “For women, BIPOC and queer folx, there is hardly any representation so it’s hard to feel like it is a space for us,” says Showerman.
Showerman says there are high points, low points and work we can all do to improve our community. In terms of success stories, Showerman highlights Women’s Freeride Movement that helps bring more women into the sport, “Women are being empowered to create space for women, and we are being intentional about inviting under-represented groups like Queer and BIPOC riders into the fold.”
In terms of areas that need the most work, Showerman says, “The biggest area that change is needed is sanctioned racing. These places are incredibly unwelcoming and even unsafe spaces for women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other under-represented communities. Harassment and exclusion run rampant. Strong action is needed from its governing bodies to create a cultural shift.”
This kind of cultural shift starts with the individual rider. It is on all of us to make cycling, in all its disciplines, a place where everyone can feel safe and included. And according to Showerman, even the small efforts make a big difference. “Encourage your shop to hang an ‘all welcome here’ sign in the entrance, share content on social media supporting under-represented folx, defend us when you see attacks, and follow more under-represented athletes to educate yourself on the challenges we face.”
Improving the cycling community is more than just building trails; it is building community. We are glad to see companies like Athletic Brewing taking productive steps in both efforts. If you are not already, it is time to join in. The only thing anyone should have to worry about when they ride a bike is having the best time they can. And that is on all of us.