Donna Iannicelli

Donna Iannicelli: Paving A Path for Future Generations

By: Zhanee Simpson  December 11, 2020

Everyone has their own bike story, a unique story; the reason your passion for cycling is so strong.

Donna Iannicelli fell head over heels with cycling through watching Missy Giove, the American professional downhill mountain biker. Getting to meet her cycling idol in the spring of 2002 propelled her further into the cycling world, giving her dreams of becoming the United States' first African American female downhill cyclist.

The memory of getting her first bike in 1995 still resonates with her; reminiscing, "Walking out of the bike shop in New York City with my brand new shiny 6061 aluminum dual-suspension TREK Y frame mountain bike, with SPIN thermoplastic wheels." Mentioning that she felt superhuman the first time she sat on the bike, even without all of the bells and whistles. Racing to show off her new wheels, she would purposely hop off curbs solely to hear the suspension compress. Having a group of friends she competed against, pushing to make each other better, whether it was winning the next race or buying the latest biking gear, Iannicelli credits her tribe as one of the reasons she loves cycling.

"We all bragged and competed against each other in trying to buy the latest bike gear and gadgets. My first "real" and "official" entry into cycling was a first-generation aluminum dual-suspension cross country mountain bike manufactured by TREK in 1995."

Every cyclist learns something from their journey, whether you are a recreational cyclist or your dream is to go pro. Doing the research is something Donna now reflects on. While it may seem redundant, doing your research before diving headfirst into something new is one thing we can all learn to do. The one thing Donna wishes she knew before taking her dive and making cycling one of her biggest tasks is where to get started when it was about achieving her dream. Going pro in cycling is not an easy feat for everyone. The lessons she learned only push her to pave the way for those that wish to follow in her footsteps. To keep moving forward and beyond where her dreams and reality collide. Learn that while one's journey may be intertwined with hardships, stretching ahead is the only way to go.

The advice Donna has for you is to enjoy cycling. "Enjoy it!" do what you need to do to get the most out of your experience, even if that means using cycling as a way to relieve your stress, stay safe and protect your bike. Break the mold and expand into who you are within the cycling world. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in cycling begin with you. While today may not be a day where you can see change, change is coming.

Donna's Challange to You

Donna's challenge to you, the cycling community, is to listen. Don't just hear the voices of those that have fallen through the cracks; listen to comprehend; listen to understand; listen to evoke change.