Reilly Cycleworks

Celebrating Diversity In Cycling On Pride Month

“Those who tell stories rule the world” said Plato – a mantra that we live by at Tuesday. Every day, we work with exciting brands, businesses and individuals to understand, distil and articulate their stories.

The Campfire is a bulletin to share some of these stories with our wider community in the hope that you will enjoy them as much as we’ve enjoyed curating them. The content might also give you a moment to reflect and think about your own stories and what you might like to share.

Earlier this year, Reilly Cycleworks, a bespoke UK bike brand based in Brighton jumped aboard the Good Ship Tuesday. We couldn’t resist the challenge of working with this self proclaimed ‘bunch of bike nuts’ and had an emotional day with them unearthing their brand story.

Mark Reilly founded Reilly Cycleworks with longtime collaborator and industrial pattern/model maker Neil FitzGerald in 2014. A disciple of master frame builder Ron Cooper, his 30-year career spanned workshops including Omega and Enigma.

Mark sadly passed away in 2021 but is remembered for his ground-breaking geometries and world-class frame designs that remain the basis of Reilly bikes, still bearing his name today.

He also happened to be one of the few openly gay men working in the UK frame-building trade.

Mark Reilly

As June marks Pride Month 2022, colleagues and ambassadors pay tribute to co-founder Mark Reilly’s legacy, announcing renewed commitment to championing diversity and inclusion in cycling.

Reilly Cycleworks, who sports a rainbow logo all year round, kicked off Pride month by supporting inclusive LGBTQ+ cycling club Pride Out, supplying a specially made rainbow titanium bike for the nationwide #BikeIsBest campaign.

The bike’s artwork was handcrafted by Faye Bishop, a custom painter for the Mercedes AMG F1 team. This year, the bike will be front-and-centre at the ‘Reilly Rides Out’ bike ride, taking place in memory of Mark Reilly on Sunday 7th August 2022. Reilly invites cyclists from all backgrounds to take part, including those from the LGBTQ+ community.

Chris Ratcliff took on the role of Business Development at Reilly Cycleworks in March 2021 and now owns the business with co-founder Neil Fitzgerald. Chris is committed to building on Mark’s legacy. He says “the rainbow bike was created to celebrate diversity in cycling and to send the message that cycling is for everyone.

This honours Mark’s decision to move his frame-building business to Brighton in the early 2000s to embrace an LGBTQ+ lifestyle. Openness is central to how we operate as a business and we will continue to proudly bang the drum for greater diversity in the cycling industry.

Mark was a ‘one of a kind’ character and we are determined to build on his legacy, maintaining Reilly’s values as a truly diverse brand with a level of customisation that puts the individual back into the bike.”

Reilly LGBT Campaign

Elaine Burroughs, an LGBTQ+ adventure cyclist from Brighton, was approached to be a brand ambassador by Mark in 2020 before his untimely passing. She says: “Mark understood that highlighting the stories of women in cycling was important to address some of the barriers faced.

There is a perception around cycling that you have to be an elite athlete, which I’m not. I’m passionate about raising awareness of just how accessible cycling can be, after all, it was a skill most of us learnt as children.

I’ve managed to convince women to switch from tarmac to off-road and they’re now happily reliving their youth by adventure biking.”

“I love wearing my Reilly rainbow bike gear as part of reflecting my identity and sharing news of my off-road adventures, but sadly I have to make decisions depending on what part of the world I’m racing or riding in as to whether this level of LGBTQ+ visibility will make me a target for harassment and abuse.

We’re lucky in Brighton that we have such an established community that is inclusive and supportive. Inclusivity in cycling should be a norm and I’d like to see a time where we don’t have so many barriers to diversity when you think about how cycling itself is such a diverse activity.

Whether it’s popping to the shops with a bike basket, commuting to work or enjoying gravel trails, there is something for everyone. Brighton can be a beacon for inclusive cycling.”

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