“When we first started, it was just about doing something that could change the perspective of one kid that came from where we came from,” and today the L39ION story reaches countless people, from their hometown of LA and beyond.
L39ION (pronounced legion) is a UCI Continental cycling team based in Los Angeles that was created in 2019 by brothers Justin and Cory Williams, who are also Vuori collaborators. Determined to promote diversity, representation, and inclusion in the cycling world and beyond, L39ION's ultimate mission is to help grow the sport in America and let the masses know that you don't need to conform to be a part of the cycling community. Their Cycle Kids program, a collaboration with Boston University's Sargent College, provides elementary school curriculum on bike riding and nutrition.
Competition, community and even the thrill of a good crash—Justin and Cory tell all in the clip below, and their journey is a true inspiration.
When did you first fall in love with cycling?
Justin: I think the first time I ever fell in love with cycling was the first race I ever won. I had done it because I wanted to build a relationship with my dad and it was his thing. But after the first race I won, it changed my whole perspective on the sport.
Cory: I just remember always loving it. There’s this story about me crying when I was two years old for my dad to take off my training wheels. So I think I have just always loved riding bikes.
How do you stay inspired to keep working your hardest?
Justin: I think what inspires me the most to keep going is where cycling was at when I first got into the sport as far as not having very much diversity, to creating a much more diverse and equitable space in the future for kids that come from the same place that I came from and for them to really be able to enjoy the sport in the way that I did.
Cory: My parents. They worked hard all my life so it was just ingrained in me that I should work hard. My family is from a small country called Belize and my parents came here when they were in their 20’s. I am a first generation American so I feel like I have a lot of pressure to follow the dream that they came here with and for me to accomplish. I just want to make them proud.
Left Image: Justin is wearing the Sunday Element Jacket
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out with cycling?
Justin: I would say just take the time to enjoy the bike. Figure out the things that you really love about pedaling and try to really enjoy the freedom that comes with floating through towns. The bike gives you a perspective that is unique to any other mode of transportation and I think if you can enjoy that and just let your mind wander you’ll stay in it for a long time.
Cory: My advice for anyone wanting to start out in cycling is just to go out and do it. The hardest thing is just to go out and start. Once you start and get the ball rolling, everything else will come after.
What is the most epic memory or accomplishment you’ve had while cycling?
Cory: One of my biggest accomplishments was co-founding Legion Los Angeles to help all the cyclists in America have a home. One of the things that I struggled with growing up and racing bikes was not having a place to call home. Now I’ve created that for plenty of riders and that is one of the things I’m most proud of.
What are some ways you invest in your own happiness?
Justin: By taking time for myself and being patient with myself. And, understanding that everybody is kind of floating through this world and that we’re doing the best we can, and letting that be enough.
What’s it like getting to race with your brother?
Cory: It’s fun because we get to travel a lot together and compete together. We’re both very competitive so once someone makes us mad, it’s double trouble!
Justin: It’s great because Cory is always at level 8 and a half and I’m usually at level 3 but once I get to level 10, then it’s on. Then it’s a party!
Do you guys have a favorite race?
Justin: My favorite single race is probably Tulsa night one. It’s such a crazy, dynamic course and you’re kind of falling in some of the corners and that’s where I think I shine the most.
Cory: My favorite day of racing is probably Boise Twilight. I think the way the sound travels around the course with the crowd is just amazing and I always appreciate all the people that come out, so I think that’s one of my favorite races.
What do you love most about your Vuori gear?
Justin: Everything! I love showing up swaggy and being extra comfortable, that’s the best part. This is a dream of mine, right? Being able to go to your closet and put something on and feel proud but also be very comfortable and to me, that is just, you cannot beat that.
What are your favorite Vuori pieces?
Justin: My favorite Vuori piece is the Fleet Pant, I love them. I also love the Sunday Performance Jogger for traveling. But the Fleet Pant, I feel like I can dress them up. I have literally worn them to formal events because they are just so clean.
Cory: I think we are definitely on the same page! Those are some of my favorites too.