The meaning of Team 31

An indisputable fact of life is that we have all been a child.

At least at some point.

Some of us might even think we still are.

Equally valid, however, is the fact that our childhoods are rarely comparable. Many of us will have the ability to reflect on our childhood experiences filled with long sunny days, without a worry in the world, apart from what's for lunch.

But for many others, it is far from carefree and straightforward.

It is sometimes hard to imagine, but there is little meaning to the term 'child's play' for many children, which is why the small group of professional mountain bike riders that make up Team 31 is so critical.

The team's name, which stands proud and fronts all its activities and ideas, is not a sponsor looking for prime advertising real estate or a bike brand trying to establish itself.

No, it is chosen with an obvious purpose; to focus everyone's attention towards Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that "every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities".

At first glance, it might seem odd for a professional mountain bike team to be driven by such a worthy cause.

But rather than merely perpetuate the pressurized structure of elite racing, with its focus on podiums, followers and results, the goal of Team 31 is to have fun and inspire others.

It's easy to forget the how and why you started riding a bike, especially when you are at the sharp end of professional racing. Take a moment though and the main reasons will almost always be about joy and having fun, being with friends, laughing and making good memories.

And it's a fundamental guiding light for the all-female team, made up of Jenny Rissveds, Kelsey Urban and Linn Gustaffzon, as they travel and race around the globe.

Racing bikes and having fun is the way to remind us all that riding bikes allows us to inspire the next generation to stay active and healthy. It is also the perfect way to remind us that not all children have the same opportunities and privileges, and that we should strive to help them access the same carefree moments that filled our early years.

What's in a name? 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet', as Shakespeare famously wrote in Romeo and Juliet.

But sometimes 'What's in a name?' bears a different significance

And when it comes to Team 31, it's as important and indisputable as our childhood.


Photos by: Thomas Weschta / @thomaswdesign