Cyclist Rachel Olzer talks about intersection of race and outdoor recreation at High Country Adventure Film and Speaker Series event

The Lees-McRae High Country Adventure Film and Speaker Series will continue on Tuesday, Oct. 11 with a talk from cross-country bicycle racer and founder of Pedal 2 the People─ a collective of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) cyclists─ Rachel Olzer.

At 7 p.m. that evening at the Outdoor Amphitheater on South Campus at Grandfather Home at Lees-McRae College, Olzer will deliver their talk “All Bikes Welcome, Pedal to the People” where they will discuss what it means to be a Black woman in a sport dominated by white men, and how that is connected to the more general experience of being a Black person in today’s society.

“She's a Black female cyclist, and women and people of color are marginalized populations in the cycling industry. She has been involved in several nonprofit organizations that help accessibility and try to open the door for folks that wouldn't normally be introduced to cycling,” Program Coordinator for Outdoor Recreation Management and Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Katie Wall said. “She will blend the idea of race and the outdoors, and race and cycling.”

After seeing Olzer speak at a previous outdoor event with the Wilderness Education Association, Wall thought their personal story and passion for cycling would be great to bring to Lees-McRae as a part of the High Country Adventure Film and Speaker series.

“I felt like she would connect really well to our students, and with the strong influence that we have in terms of cycling on a collegiate level it just makes sense to bring a cyclist in,” Wall said. “We're trying to open the door for accessibility for our students, our faculty, and our staff, and so I think a good way to start doing that is to bring in speakers that can help open our eyes.”

While this event will certainly appeal to cyclists and other people involved in the outdoor recreation industry, Wall said everyone has something to learn and gain from Olzer.

Admission to Olzer’s talk is free, and students, faculty, staff, and community members are encouraged to attend the event and learn more about being a person of color in the outdoor recreation industry. Donations to benefit Lees-McRae cycling club C.R.A.N.K. Crew will be collected at the event.

Learn more about the High Country Adventure Film and Speaker Series

By Maya JarrellSeptember 13, 2022
CommunityCampus LifeAthletics