This Woman Is On A Mission To Be The First Black Female Pro Cyclist

Human Interest

Health and wellness doesn't only exist in yoga and breathing circles. Ayesha McGowan is bringing the power of health and wellness for black women to competitive sports.

Ayesha McGowan is cycling her way to history as she sets out to become the first black woman cyclist. Where there is a gap, there is a need to be filled. Growing up, Ayesha was in awe of women in sports such as Serena Williams and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. However, Ayesha noticed the lack of representation in cycling. Looking around, she only saw white males racing in the spot.

A Quick Brown Fox

Since, she has made it her goal to become her own inspirational figure and pave the way for other black women in cycling. In an interview with ESPN W, Ayesha said:

"To me, pro cycling was the Tour de France. White males, a very limiting image that keeps those who would be interested in the sport to a very small pool of humans. For me, it was about access and representation. I didn't know it was a thing."

Initially, Ayesha was into running, but after a few issues with her knees, she took up riding a bike. During her time living in New York, she received her first taste of bike racing. Four years after her curiosity came into play, she ventured into road racing. With any goal we are trying to accomplish, the act of immersing ourselves into it until it becomes second nature is nothing new. Ayesha wanted to learn everything about the sport, so she signed up for every clinic she could.

A Quick Brown Fox

"I wanted to understand how things worked. I started training with others and riding with friends whenever possible. I set out to find a female African-American pro, and there weren't any. I wanted to know why there weren't any, and also, whether I might become the first."

So far throughout her career the Atlanta-based music school teacher has done well for herself; so much so that she has been finishing in single-number digits in races in the Netherlands and in California. She is currently racing independently, but actively looking for the right team to join when it's time. For women in cycling, there is little to no funding or sponsorship support. But Ayesha's positivity seems to keep her focused on the goal and looking forward.

A Quick Brown Fox

"There aren't many women finding new contracts right now. I got close this year, but it didn't work out in the end. It will take time, but I'm OK with earning my spot. I just have to go for it and tell myself I can do it."

In a space where women, especially black women, are underrepresented, Ayesha is making a way for others to find spaces for wellness, health, and keeping their fitness in tact. On her website, titled Quick Brown Fox, Ayesha dedicates a segment of her website to other Black women cyclists.

A Quick Brown Fox

"Quick Brown Foxes" is a compilation of other women's stories about their journey with the competitive sport. It brings awareness to the unsung go-getters in such an overlooked sport. Ayesha's leadership to open doors for other women of color to get into a heavily white-male dominated sport is an example of making a way for black girl magic to prosper everywhere.

"My biggest mission is representation. I want to see an expansion of how we see ourselves. If I can present the image of an African-American pro bike racer, then I can open the doors for others to do it, too."

For more information on Ayesha, follow A Quick Brown Fox, and keep up with her cycling journey on Instagram.

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