Over the course of the four-day Sea Otter Classic, Liv Cycling aimed to make an impact outside of the tape. In addition to the powerful impact Liv Racing athletes made through their racing results, Liv organized events, rides, and discussions to get more women on bikes and encourage forward movement in the cycling industry as a whole.
The long weekend kicked off Thursday, April 11 with the “A Seat at the Table” diversity panel, co-hosted by Liv and SRAM and moderated by Liv Racing’s Ayesha McGowan. The panel featured six people of color with different backgrounds and experiences with cycling – from professional athletes to bicycle mechanics, artists, and product designers.
Liv Global Marketing Manager Brook Hopper and SRAM Women’s Program Manager Sara Jarrell were the driving forces behind putting this important event together and organizing the group of six talented speakers.
“We supported this important conversation on diversity in cycling at Sea Otter because we are focused on elevating women’s cycling, supporting, and advocating for women as riders, racers, and in community,” said Hopper. “Liv is founded, researched, designed, engineered, and operated by women around the world and we believe it is our responsibility to help advance women’s cycling and cultivate like-minded communities around the world. We do this by supporting athletes and ambassadors of diverse backgrounds across disciplines.”
The audience of around 50 industry insiders, athletes, media, and Sea Otter festival attendees were given the opportunity to engage with the panel as they covered topics like creating opportunities for success, compensating people of color, and not feigning diversity.
“Laura Solís, Eliot Jackson, Sam Scipio, David Reyes, Brooklyn Bell, and I made history on the top of the hill,” said McGowan. “It was a beautiful thing to be a part of, and it resulted in some excellent questions from the audience. I look forward to seeing how the bike industry moves forward with all of the new insight and information gained from this experience.”
On Friday, April 12, Liv Cycling USA invited mountain bikers of all levels to join the Ladies AllRide crew for a no-drop group ride through the green, undulating hills surrounding the Sea Otter venue. The ride has become an annual event for Liv.
Director of inspiration Lindsey Richter welcomed 27 riders in front of the Liv tents before coaches Meredith Brandt, Agnès Rodrigues and Tina Brubaker guided the group out on the trail. Liv Regional Ambassadors Michelle Grady, Melissa Avery and Christina Costa helped move the group along the smooth, sandy terrain.
“The reason we started this years ago is the same reason we continue it today – simply put, we just want to ride bikes with other ladies,” said Liv USA marketing manager Jen Audia. “Like in years past, we had the amazing Ladies AllRide team lead the ride because their experience provides such a welcoming, informative, and fun experience for all participants.”
Want to read more about the fun? Check out Dirt Rag Magazine’s coverage of the ride HERE>
To wrap up an awesome day of riding and racing, Liv Racing athletes welcomed visitors to the Liv and Giant “island” at Sea Otter for a Happy Hour Meet and Greet. Over 40 people, including a wide range of age groups, gathered around the Liv Racing tent to enjoy a few refreshments, ask some of their favorite female athletes questions, and take the opportunity to get a signed poster from each of the racers.
“Our Liv Racing meet and greet presented an opportunity to showcase these amazing women who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible on the bike while inspiring current and future cyclists,” said Hopper.
9 out of 14 athletes that represent Liv around the world were present to discuss a range of topics, including race day nutrition, training plans, and how they keep it all fun.
“It was humbling to sit next to women I have looked up to for years, learn more about each other, look out into the crowd standing around us and see young girls listening intently,” said Liv Racing downhill athlete Caroline Washam. “I had the pleasure of meeting an 8-year-old girl who races downhill near her home in Northstar, California. I hope seeing us, she is inspired to keep crushing it and bring more of her friends into the sport.”
In addition to supporting female athletes, Liv also believes in giving women opportunities in all areas of the cycling industry. For Sea Otter, Liv worked with two professional female mechanics to support Liv Racing and brought in Liv’s field representatives to run the bike demo so visitors could experience the brand-new 2019 bikes.
“We are so happy to have female mechanics in our Liv community,” said Hopper. “They are exceptional mechanics that not only support the racers, but ensure the racers’ bikes deliver the highest performance possible.”