2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

P. Khalil Saucier

Bucknell University
Senior Fellow
Cycles and Ciphers: Tastes and Aesthetics of Black Cyclists

This paper explores the interstitial space between hip-hop, blackness, and cycling.  It engages with the ways in which black cyclists negotiate their racial identity within a predominately white sport (and field of leisure). Central to the exploration between the assumptive antagonism of cycling and blackness is hip-hop culture. Through interviews, media analysis, and more I take seriously, and critically, hip-hop cultures visual and sonic iterations has they travel throughout the professional cycling peloton and local cycling clubhouses.  It will explore all facets of cycling from apparel design to motivational memes. In other words, Cycles and Ciphers explores how hip-hop culture is a rich cultural resource that helps cyclists fashion, support, and rework their identities/subjectivities within the contemporary sociocultural context of race in the early twenty-first century.  Cycles and Ciphers does not to speak for the totality and entirety of the black cyclists lived experience; rather it focuses on hip-hop and cycling as related racial projects and grapples with the performance, embodiment, and nuances of racialized identities within the social and material setting of hip-hop and cycling.