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Feb. 19, 2021, 8:05 p.m. -  Mark

Hey Sanesh I like what you've shared and that you stated you feel there are multiple layers to why mtb'ing seems to be pursued by primarily white males. Two other factors that are important to put forward are cultural norms and peer group influences. These two, along with the other factors you mention, all intersect in various ways. So in some situations economic factors may be a big determinant as you suggest and in others it could primarily be peer group influences. All of this is influenced by the relative obscurity of mtb'ing - especially shore type riding - when it comes to participation by the general public. That means you have a large portion of the population who has low to no exposure to mtb'ing which could significantly affect participation numbers. If we consider demographics in the Lower Mainland then it's easy to say that the BIPOC community is underrepresented in mtb'ing. However, I think it would be a mistake to assume that points to some sort of racialized prejudice as there are significant influencing factors such as the culture and peer group influences mentioned above. Speaking from my own experience, there have been times when my riding group was over represented by the BIPOC community in relation to local demographics. If I was to put money on it, I would list peer group influences as one of the most significant factors that affects mtb'ing participation, particularly as it is still a relatively fringe sport in terms of participation and awareness across the general public. The one place where the mtb community can do better to help boost participation from people outside the current dominant group of white, cis, straight able-bodied males is via advertising that over-represents those groups. Seeing one's own identity reflected in a particular activity helps to overcome the barrier of perceived exclusion. This is something MEC did a few years back and received some flack for it but that may have been due to the way they brought the message of change forward. I think that overall society is moving in the right direction when it comes to issues of inclusion, but there is still a ways to go. Something that is definitely positive is when these sorts of discussions come up there seems to be far fewer objections than there would have been 20 years ago. The Metro Vancouver area may not be the best barometer of change as it is very diverse compared to other regions, but living here and comparing societal diversity values with people from other areas gives me hope that a sea change is coming. In general society is becoming more aware of and educated about the issues of inclusion and the discussion of such issues is only going to help push things forward. Edit: One thing I wanted to ad is that the thread title is not conducive with the aim of the article. We should be trying to call people in instead of calling them out if the goal is to connect with the people who would benefit the most from this discussion.

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