Over time things change and different things become normal, nothing has shown us this more than 2020.
Working from home, wearing face masks, washing our hands more and standing away from someone your talking to have become part of everyday life.
2020 has also shown us that it’s time we start to view the world we live in, in a different way. At the start of the year George Floyd was killed during an attempted arrest, a police officer held his knee on Geroge’s throat for over 7 minutes after a shop keeper had phoned the police to inform them George had tried to purchase a packet of cigarettes with a fake twenty-dollar bill.
The Black Lives Matter movement gathered pace and the world started to realise the lack of diversity in everyday life and sport. One sport who realised more than most is cycling.
Indoor cycling platform Zwift took notice, stood up and figured out what it was going to do to address change. “Everyone inside the company has been on a training and diversity course to make ourselves more aware of the conscious and subconscious discriminations we make in everyday life. We have employed people to help Zwift address diversity and to take on an advisory role on where we can improve.” says Zwift
Zwift earlier in the year added bands to their Pride On virtual jersey to be more inclusive and stand with the LGBTQ+ community. The addition of a black and brown band to the jersey to represent people of colour and also represent those living with AIDS and those no longer sadly with us. The pink, blue, and white stripes are a nod to Monica Helms’s Transgender Pride flag. A move of solidarity and togetherness which, came before George’s death, was welcomed by many users of the platform but questioned by some.
Zwift said that: “If what we do makes people think, then maybe that means we’re doing something right and addressing an issue.”
Zwift, then, seems to take its influence very seriously. There are noises coming out of the popular indoor cycling platform on how to make things such as your avatars colour have more differentials and how to make Gender more fluid, while also looking at how to give avatars prosthetics, too.
“There are many things about the platform which we would like to change – we’re happy with the bulk of it but there is still much more we can change and much more we can do. However, we are hampered by technology and while that is no excuse, it’s a problem that we are facing and trying to work around.” Zwift says.
So, it would seem then that Zwift is trying to adjust its platform to become something more representative of the ever changing world we live in.
There is one cloud which now looms in the Wattopia world which could put a negative light on all this good which Zwift is trying to do. Zwift has been, and still is, a supporter of Chloe Dygert’s former team, TWENTY20, a rider who has recently signed for Canyon//SRAM also sponsored by Zwift. This signing has caused much confusion, anger and for many, heartache.
Canyon//SRAM are, supposedly, a team which stands for morals, inclusion, equality and diversity in cycling. They have done an awful lot of good for the sport and have bought about much change.
However, the signing of Dygert is not representative of this. Over the summer, and even before that, Chloe Dygert likes a series of homophobic, transphobic, racist Tweets. Tweets which do not stand for what Canyon//SRAM stand for, or even what Zwift stand for. Since her signing she has released a non-apology in the form of an Instagram post which she then Tweeted a screen grab of.
Canyon//SRAM also released their own very poorly worded and since corrected support of Dygert, something which goes completely against their morals of a team stating: “CANYON//SRAM Racing and all of its members stand by a number of values, including treating all people with respect and dignity regardless of gender, colour, sexual orientation or gender identity.” If Canyon//SRAM believed in treating people with respect, it would not stand for what Chloe Dygert ‘liked’ on Twitter and distance the team from her. Not stand with her.
“Zwift has been aware of Chloé’s social media activity, it’s very upsetting to see. Chloe has taken the first step on her re-education and reform by admitting her errors. It will be a long road for her but it’s important that she continues down this path with actions that demonstrate change.
Zwift went on to say “Canyon//SRAM is taking this issue very seriously and are aware that this is an issue which needs to be addressed, and they are addressing it very seriously.”
Chloé Dygert has only travelled to Europe on a handful of occasions, notably for f
a World Championships, successfully beating the field in the 2019 World Championships in Harrogate, where Chloe went on to race at the Zwift draft house in a Zwift race and at the 2020 World Championships in Imola where she suffered a horrendous accident, slicing her leg open on metal railings.
For all of this, though, Zwift intends to move forward and address the issues facing the lack of diversity in cycling at the moment. They plan to do a month-long celebration of awareness of diversity in cycling. There will be Black History Month group rides and a special Black Lives Matter virtual jersey to be worn.
Pusher of Pedals also understands that Zwift have partnered with another cycling team which is soon to be announced.