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With an Eye Toward Inclusion, Gravel Races Add Paracycling Categories

With an Eye Toward Inclusion, Gravel Races Add Paracycling Categories

Already designed to be inclusive events, an increasing number of gravel races are adding categories for paracyclists, thanks largely to the efforts of three-time Paralympian…

Monday, Apr 11

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Already designed to be inclusive events, an increasing number of gravel races are adding categories for paracyclists, thanks largely to the efforts of three-time Paralympian Meg Fisher . This gives disabled athletes a chance to compete against each other in races that haven’t previously provided that opportunity.

Paracycling, broadly defined, adapts the sport of cycling for athletes who have some level of physical impairment and use specialized equipment. The addition of paracycling categories, open to athletes with any type of physical impairment, allows paracyclists to compete against each other in gravel races for results and podiums, separate from able-bodied athletes.

“Para athletes have a space in other sports and I want to make sure there is a space for us in gravel,” said Fisher, leading paracycling advocate and amputee who competed in the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games , won 11 world titles in paracycling, and is active in the gravel scene . “Some people need this direct call out to realize that they’re welcome in the space.”

To provide that space, Fisher has spent the last two years working with promoters, helping them understand the opportunity that a para category represents and recommending guidelines that are inclusive and fair without being onerous to implement.

Rebecca’s Private Idaho , a gravel race promoted by mountain biking legend Rebecca Rusch , was the first event to introduce a paracycling category, adding the classification in 2021.

“The belief that everyone should have equal access to resources, opportunities, and experiences is indelibly woven into the fabric […]

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