Breakfast in America

Photographed and written for Rouleur Magazine

Breakfast Racing Team is breaking new ground in the USA by fostering a supportive community for women, trans, femme, and non-binary athletes. 

For cyclists, the Pacific Northwest offers up seemingly endless possibilities for racing. Local race series cover road, track, cyclocross, mountain biking and more. A number of teams have been long standing fixtures at the region’s premier cycling events. But when Mackenna Lees (she/they) began racing in the Pacific Northwest in 2018, she noticed something was missing.

Setting her sights on a more inclusive future for the sport, Lees founded Breakfast in 2019, with the goal of lowering barriers to entry and inspiring women, gender non-conforming, and trans riders to find a home in racing.

It started as a cycling club, with organised group ridesaround the Seattle area drawing new riders into the cycling and racing community. As the local race scene re-emerged following the Covid-19 hibernation, Breakfast became Breakfast Racing Team, and in just a few years’ time the team has seen a tremendous amount of growth. Their inclusive attitude towards competitive cycling has caught on, and in 2023 their roster grew to 54 racers.

They compete in six different disciplines, showing up to start lines year-round, ready to leave it all out there on the course. Fourteen athletes serve as squad leads, organising, directing, and lending a hand to new racers in their respective disciplines. And they even lend support to riders who are not on their roster, maintaining a Racer Support Fund to help cover the costs of racing for WTFNB (women, trans, femme, non-binary), as well as BIPOC (Black,Indigenous, and people of color) athletes.

Breakfast riders mostly race at the amateur level, turning out to state championships, unsanctioned race series, and a handful of USAC licensed events. No matter where they compete, you can expect to see riders racing hard, whether they are brand new to the sport or a seasoned competitor who has found a home with the team.

In the United States, Breakfast is among a growing cohort of cycling teams that have adopted a radically different approach to racing. PDX Dream Team, a new WTFNB team based in Portland, Oregon, was inspired by the work Breakfast is doing to make the sport more inclusive from the ground up. Out in the Midwest, Stamina Racing Collective is doing similar work. Other teams and clubs are sprouting up around the USA, forging a new path forward in a sport that has long been defined by its barriers and insular culture.

From their humble beginnings as a cycling club, Breakfast Racing Team has quickly become a fixture of the local racing scene. Whenever a race is happening, it doesn’t take long to spot their brightly coloured kits at the staging area, maple-syrup-dripping water bottles in tow. Their rapid growth is a testament to what’s possible when cyclists get together to imagine a better future for their sport and their communities. And, at the end of the day, it’s also a lot of fun.

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