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Ride For Unity Founder Kofi Kyei demonstrates what inclusive cycling can look like and why it’s fun to ditch the labels. Words by James Williams
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Kofi Kyei, Founder of cycling community Ride For Unity, doesn’t believe that people should be classed with certain labels. “As long as you pedal a bike somewhere with your own two feet, then you’re a cyclist,” he says, as he leans against the spacious boot of the sporty SKODA Superb estate.
The idea that anyone can be a cyclist is at the heart of Kofi’s mission. Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Kofi started Ride For Unity: an online cycling community encouraging people of “all shades, sexes, sizes and sexual orientations” to get on their bikes.
The community gave people an outlet during those challenging times, allowing them to talk about what was going on as the pandemic made connecting with others harder. But Kofi also wanted to address cycling’s diversity problem. “I wouldn’t see people that look like me taking part in the sport,” he says. “It’s being able to change that conversation around what a cyclist looks like or what a cyclist might do.”
Kofi started Ride For Unity’s social accounts, bringing others onto Instagram Live and giving people ways to support each other. Despite Kofi’s home being in London, Ride For Unity has connected riders from as far afield as Los Angeles and South Africa.
As the community grew, members started meeting up for increasingly ambitious rides. Today you can see the group’s smiles not just on Zwift and Instagram, but at outdoor cycling events like the gruelling Grinduro in Wales.
As the face of a broad community, Kofi is keen to align his aims with those of the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, which helps support children and young people globally. Ride For Unity has produced a line of stylish cycling gear — in partnership with DUB clothing — with 20% of all sales being donated to the charity.
As a dad of three, Kofi keeps active with his children too and loves to see their progress on the bike. Getting behind the wheel of the SKODA Superb for a day out, he explains it’s not just the generous boot space but also the sleek styling, shiny alloys and driver’s massage chair that help him arrive ready to go one mile further.
And with the tech onboard the SKODA Superb — from adaptive cruise control to adaptive lane assist — he’s a lot less stressed on longer journeys. Shorter, spontaneous trips are made more fun too, with luxury touches like Apple CarPlay and a large touchscreen.
So does all that play after work make him a “Weekend Warrior” then? Maybe, but for Kofi perhaps that’s just another label we can all live without.