For Monte Cosby ’24, cycling is more than a hobby—it changed his life. Now, on the Cycling Team at Warren Wilson and on track to becoming a pro cyclist by his junior year, he’s on a mission to use the sport to help others too.
His dream after college is to give back to his community by getting more kids on bikes. He also seeks to break down racial barriers within the sport.
“You don’t see a lot of Black people on bikes,” Cosby said. “The sport is not diverse in a lot of ways, which I’m trying to make a change of. I’m trying to be a role model, trying to be a leader for all those young Black folks out there who want to become pro cyclists one day.”
Cosby grew up in Fairfield Court, a public housing community in Richmond, Virginia.
“I started from nowhere. I started from the bottom, the worst projects in Virginia, where homicide rate is the highest, drug rate is the highest, drop-out rate is the highest. That’s the neighborhood I grew up in,” Cosby said. “These people are really dedicated to being something great; it’s just hard for them to be great when there’s nothing around them that’s great.”
Last year, Cosby starred in a PBS documentary about his community called HEARD. The film won an Emmy this year for outstanding documentary in the historical/ cultural category. It is streaming at vpm.org/heard at time of publication. In an emotional scene at the end of the documentary, Cosby finds out he has been admitted to Warren Wilson College and also offered the full-tuition, room, and board Earth Steward Scholarship.
Once he arrived on campus, the transition wasn’t easy at first. He said the College’s environment was very different from his life experiences up to that point. He had to get used to the academic standards, new terminology, different foods, a different way of talking, and the rigor of training with the Cycling Team.
Since he grew up surrounded primarily by other Black people, he said he was also worried at first to find himself as the only Black person on the Cycling Team.
“For me to be the only Black person on the team was very abnormal,” Cosby said. “When I first joined it, I was not as confident as I am now. I thought I was going to be left out or thought I was going to be looked at different or treated different, but that was not the case.”
With the help of teammates, advisors, coaches, and professors, Cosby adjusted to college and found a community. He now calls his teammates “family,” and he ended his first year with a 3.5 GPA.
“For me to come from nothing, anyone can do anything. Don’t give up,” Cosby said. “One quote I always say is ‘can’t stop, won’t stop.’ No matter where you at, no matter how hard it is, keep pushing.”
Cosby bikes 50 miles per day and already has offers from pro teams.
“Something I’m trying to do is set a goal to show that kids from the projects can be great,” Cosby said. “We got the courage, we got the talent, we got the knowledge to do anything anyone else can do. We got the heart, we got the mindset. We got the self-control. We have as much as any other person, it’s just harder for us to do because we don’t have as many opportunities.”
- Outdoor Leadership