Meet the Women Making Cycling More Size Inclusive

“What we’re really trying to do falls under advocacy, of the systematic oppression that people in larger bodies face,” says Kornhauser. “We have to make structural changes to our culture but also to physical infrastructure to allow fat people to exist comfortably as equals.”

As white, middle-class, able-bodied, cisgender, small/mid-fat women, they also recognize that they have a lot of privilege. With that in mind, Blonsky and Kornhauser are advocating for people all along the fat spectrum, including those in bodies larger than their own. And as the outdoor recreation industry grapples with diversity and inclusion more broadly, Blonsky and Kornhauser are using their platform to spotlight and partner with advocacy organizations for other marginalized groups, such as RIDE Group, which advocates for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and Trailblazers ETHIC, a group trying to improve access to trails and cycling infrastructure for underserved populations. “We try to make our rides or workshops or talks as intersectional as we can, but we also recognize there are people with lived experiences that are different than ours doing this work in cycling,” Kornhauser says.

Ever since their first size inclusion workshop at a bike summit in 2019, Blonsky and Kornhauser say they’ve been continually impressed by the cycling industry’s responsiveness and openness to feedback. That may be because Blonsky and Kornhauser skillfully spell out the business case for making clothing in larger sizes and bikes with higher weight limits. “Yes, it is an emotional, heavy issue to feel excluded or left out, but working with these businesses, we talk with them in dollar-and-cents terms—40 percent of women wear above a size 14, so if you’re not making our clothes, you’re leaving billions of dollars on the table,” Blonsky says. “That always gets their attention.”

Cycling apparel companies are typically designing clothing two to three years in advance, so the changes they are working toward will take time to trickle down to consumers. Having worked in corporate America for most of her career, Blonsky also understands that big companies and their products don’t evolve overnight. Right now, All Bodies on Bikes is focused on getting a seat at the table to start laying out the problem, Blonsky says, but, already, it seems some brands are listening: Cycling gear company Pearl Izumi now sponsors Blonsky and hosted a recent panel discussion about the need for plus-size chamois (bike shorts with pads); the company has also begun releasing clothing in larger sizes and is committed to creating more, per Blonsky.

When she posted a photo of herself wearing a pair of shorts the company now offers up to size 22, Blonsky added a friendly caveat to let her Instagram followers know that, no, size 22 is still not inclusive of everyone—but it’s certainly a start . “I don’t know if this work will ever be complete, but I work with a ‘progress not perfection’ mindset,” she says. “Celebrating the small wins will help us continue to make bigger changes.”

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