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Book Review: Desire Discrimination Determination – Black Champions in Cycling, by Marlon Lee Moncrieffe, published by Rapha

Desire Discrimination Determination - Black Champions in Cycling, by Marlon Moncrieffe

Title: Desire Discrimination Determination – Black Champions in Cycling
Author: Marlon Lee Moncrieffe
Publisher: Rapha Editions, in association with Bluetrain Publishing
Year: 2021
Pages: 240
Order: Rapha
What it is: Part memoir, part an exploration of the Black experience in cycling with a focus on UK, US and French riders across many disciplines
Strengths: At its heart it’s a book about personal stories, enveloping the serious message being imparted in a warm blanket of nostalgia and the love of cycling
Weaknesses: Some simply will not even entertain the thought of reading this based on its title and their assumptions about its contents

Desire Discrimination Determination – Black Champions in Cycling, by Marlon Moncrieffe
Rapha / Bluetrain Publishing

“The colour of my skin determines what opportunities I have; the colour of my skin says there’s only room for one or two of us to be accepted in a certain job; the colour of my skin has dictated everything I’ve done in my whole life.”
~ Kadeena Cox


If there’s one thing that unites us all as cyclists it’s that we all have an origin story, a tale about how we first came to be cyclists. For a lot of people, it’s a family thing, specifically a father thing. Take Charlotte Cole-Hossain:

“My dad was a racing cyclist during his late teens and mid-20s. His brother rode as well, so cycling was in their family. He took me, my brother and my sister to the track and he would do some races.”

Or listen to Justin Williams:

“My dad has always ridden a bike. My parents are from Belize, and in Belize it is a massive sport. I had been looking for a way to connect with my dad, because we did not have much in common.”

For Germain Burton, the fact that his father was a former pro and ran a bike shop was important but when it came to actually learning how to ride a bike, it was his mother who taught him, in a local park:

“She used to inspect the ground for glass and clear it away with a broom and then she would hold the back of the bike and then when I was able to get the balance for myself, that was it. She’d count out laps and I’d be going around for ages and ages. That is my earliest memory of riding a bike.”

For Marlon Moncrieffe – Desire Discrimination Determination’s author – the Tour de France was the key, specifically one Tour winner:

“It was a photograph of…

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