Liv: What do you see as the biggest challenges for women getting into cycling, progressing in the sport and/or working in the industry? What opportunities do you see in your position at Liv to overcome those challenges?
Vanessa: Just like anyone doing anything, women cyclists want to feel like they belong. Even though online shopping has taken more importance over the last couple of years, bike shops are an irreplaceable resource for any cyclist. Whether it’s to purchase a bike, get a service or treat themselves with some fresh gear, I think this point of contact with the cycling world is very important and needs to be more welcoming.
With that being said, I believe it’s not only up to the stores to do all the work, but there’s some groundwork that needs to be done by bike companies. It goes from creating inspiring and educational content, sharing different narratives that are more inclusive, supporting athletes and speaking to women wherever they are in their cycling journey. These are all game-changers and I believe the work needs to be done at every level of the industry.
At Liv Cycling Canada, we have Liv ambassadors all across the country who do incredible work and create supportive cycling communities. Our program is very special and it’s built around good times spent on the bike rather than performance. It’s all about empowerment, skills building, fun times and community. It’s about real life experiences and friendships. Some of our ambassadors have been with us since the very beginning and it really feels like we’re a big family!
Liv: What does the future of cycling look like?
Vanessa: When I see all that’s happening on the local and international scene, I believe the future of women’s cycling is brighter than ever! Things started shifting over the last few years, but 2022 will be historical with the inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. I’m hoping that this event will be a mindset changer and that the public will be there to cheer on these incredible athletes. Women are pushing the boundaries in all disciplines and I’m very thrilled for what’s coming!
Liv: How are you an advocate for cycling?
Vanessa: Cycling is in so many spheres of my life! It’s my career, my passion and my medicine. That’s where I meet my friends, feel joy and find my true self. I’m so grateful for everything it has brought in my life and I’m always looking for ways to give back. In 2020, I joined the Board of Directors of the North Shore Mountain Bike Association. There’s so much work that goes into building and maintaining trails, and being part of NSMBA made me realize how lucky we are to have access to such a playground to recreate in. Becoming a member of your local trail association makes such a big difference and attending a trail day is something any mountain biker should experience. It really gives you another perspective and makes you more appreciative of the sport.