Marley Blonsky is the co-Founder of All Bodies on Bikes, a movement working towards body-size inclusion in the cycling industry. Marley currently rides for and is supported by Cannondale, Pearl Izumi, Shimano, Chamois Butt’r, to name a few. Marley believes that bikes can be a tool for community building, empowerment, education and fun. Marley is an advocate for people of all sizes, genders, races, ages, income levels and abilities to be included and welcomed in the bike community. To that end, Marley is actively working with the bike industry, community groups and riders to create inclusive groups where all feel welcome to ride! For more information, visit lifeontwowheels.space or follow Marley on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, to name a few.
When did you start cycling, and how did you get into the sport?
Like most folks, I rode bikes as a kid, and then as I got into high school, college, kind of forgot about it, forgot that it was something I enjoyed. But I was living in Seattle, and I had moved to Capitol Hill, which is a super dense part of the city where driving a car just doesn’t make sense.
This was in 2012, and so I was taking the bus to and from work, and it was taking me like 45 minutes to go two miles. And I kept seeing all these people on bikes riding past me. I was like, “I want to do that.” And it wasn’t necessarily an easy entry point. I think a lot of us have felt that. It can be intimidating or scary, and then I am short and fat, so finding a bicycle that fit me, and clothing, made it even harder.
Tell us about All Bodies on Bikes, the movement you co-founded…
All Bodies on Bikes is a movement that started out of my frustration with not being able to find clothing, or with breaking parts of my bicycle. I knew that I wasn’t the only larger bodied person who was riding bikes, but who was doing so with subpar equipment.
So I figured there’s strength in community, there’s strength in numbers, and so that’s how All Bodies on Bikes was born. We were doing consulting sessions, and talking with folks about how to be more inclusive, and Shimano heard about us and made a film, and then it’s kind of been a rocket ship ever since.
I’m looking at the list of your supporters, Cannondale, Pearl Izumi, Shimano, it goes on and on and on… Talk to us about thoughtful partnerships. What are you looking for in a brand partnership?
I’m looking for a partner that supports, or it has the same values that I do, especially that everybody, regardless of body size, shape, experience level, perceived fitness level is welcome. So do they have an inclusive sizing line, or plans to get there?
Do they work with folks of all different gender identities? For me, I’m just looking for partners that hold those same values and hold true to them as well.
At what point did you realize, “I’m an influencer. I am influencing others in this realm…”?
It’s still kind of a daily like, “Oh yeah, people look to me for advice and I have expertise that I can give them,” but I think that aha moment came probably three years ago. I got approached by an underwear company, a brand called Huha, to basically, not advertise, but to showcase their underwear, and they sent me underwear. They felt great, and then it was like, “Whoa, I can actually influence beyond just bicycling things.”
What’s your favorite type of content to create?
I love spontaneous content that just happens naturally. So if I’m out on the trail, or I’m out on a long gravel ride, and something just comes to my brain.
So I love making videos where I can be authentic, and not have to script things exactly, but I also love it when brands kind of give me the creative freedom to put something together.
Where do you see yourself, and your community, going from here on? What are some goals you have in the short term (or long term)?
All Bodies on Bikes is officially becoming a nonprofit, which is really exciting. We’re going to have 10 chapters to start across the US, and they’ll be leading inclusive group rides. And then, ideally, would love to make a clothing line ourselves because the big brands say that they’re supporting us, but the movement just isn’t happening.
So I would love to see us get to a place where we’re the go-to brand for anybody who’s not in a traditional cycling body.
And how can people get involved in the movement?
Instagram is a great place to start. Just find us at All Bodies on Bikes, or check out our website to find out where those chapters are at, and when a ride is happening close to you. Another thing is just to get educated. A lot of folks hold a lot of privilege in the sports that they do, so figuring out how you can be more inclusive in your everyday actions, I think, is a great way to be involved.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.
Andrew is the Head of Client Services for Intellifluence and has a background in communications. He is committed to helping brands get the most out of their campaigns and is the co-host of the Influencer Spotlight series.