In Cranked #22 we ran a retrospective feature looking at the short life and enduring influence of brilliant young racer Jason McRoy, who died in a road accident in 1995. In the process of helping us put together the feature Jason’s parents, Jim and Rose, suggested we might like to run a charity auction of the memorial site’s poster (which has been replaced recently). So we set it up, with an agreement – at Rose and Jim’s suggestion – that all the money from the winning bid would go to the BBC’s Children in Need appeal.
Then we set about promoting the auction on social media. Because, well, an auction that nobody knows about isn’t much use. Soon the word began to spread and the bids started to come in.
And then along came Barry.
Barry didn’t like the fact that the money was going to the Children in Need appeal because, according to him, the BBC had given millions of pounds to the BLM movement.
Let’s leave aside, for a moment, that Barry’s complaint is a load of bollocks. Our response was swift and decisive: we banned him from our Facebook page; something that we’ve never done before, or even had to consider.
This decision prompted some soul-searching at Cranked HQ, about the things that matter and what values drive the magazine. It didn’t take long, because although we’ve never sat down to write anything like this before, it turns out that the things we’ve been doing for the last 5 1/2 years have some common themes.
– Inspirational. That’s our job – to inspire you to get out and ride. We talk to riders all over the world about their stories, and give them a voice on our pages.
– Inquisitive. We’re not afraid to ask hard questions. Depression, sustainability, erosion, head injuries, climate change, gender equality… there’s no subject we won’t tackle. If that offends anyone, tough.
– Inclusive. We don’t care who you are, what bike you ride, what kind of riding you like, what colour your skin is, which god you worship or how you get your rocks off. Bikes are good. Riding is good. Let’s celebrate those universal truths together.
We publish a wide range of voices in Cranked, and we obviously don’t expect everyone to agree all the time with every view that’s expressed in the magazine’s pages. Wouldn’t life be dull if that were the case? We’ve also taken flak in the past for some of the language we’ve used, and even for our choice of certain images. We aren’t going to apologise for pushing boundaries; I spent years freelancing for magazines whose eternal quest to avoid upsetting anyone resulted in plenty of interesting story ideas being given a swerve, and the ones that did make it into print tending towards bland sameness. I don’t want words like ‘bland’ and ‘sameness’ to ever be associated with what we do here at Cranked.
So, we’ll keep challenging preconceptions, telling inspiring stories and doing what we can to make our sport as inclusive as possible. And we’re never going to apologise for any of it, because those three things are what make Cranked the magazine that it is.