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May 29, 2018

Ayesha McGowan Wants to Be First

Ayesha McGowan is aiming to be the first African American female cyclist on the pro tour, and gets closer to that goal every day. (Photo: João Canziani)
Ayesha McGowan is aiming to be the first African American female cyclist on the pro tour, and gets closer to that goal every day.

Ayesha McGowan came late to competitive cycling. An accomplished violinist, she didn’t enter her first organized biking event until after college. Despite riding an old steel bike with a milk crate on the back and wearing jean shorts in a peloton of spandex, she impressed the other women, who encouraged her to start competing. A year later, she took fifth place in her first race, then kept winning on the amateur circuit. Now she’s aiming to be the first female African American cyclist on the pro tour, and she gets closer to that goal every day. In this second installment in a four-part series looking at inclusivity in outdoor communities, journalist James Edward Mills sits down with McGowan to talk about her fast road to success.

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.