Cover photo

Project 30by30

As part of the 15 year anniversary of RBC GranFondo Whistler, we introduce Project 30by30, our vision to encourage more women to take up and stay in the sport of cycling.

Cycling events typically have significantly lower levels of female participation compared to men. Project 30by30 aims to delve into the reasons for why, bring to light under represented topics, and propose actionable steps that will aim to encourage change.

30by30 is not meant to come to the table with complete solutions. It is a shared journey of discovery and conversation to help bring greater understanding for what is required for better gender equity within cycling.

Aim of 30by30

Event goal: At least 30% female RBC GranFondo Whistler event participation by 2030 (currently 22.5% average / next largest event GFNY is 13% [2023]).

SUB GOAL 2: Commit to creating a range of new content across multiple types of media throughout the year that both explores, celebrates and elevates the conversation around women's experiences in cycling.

SUB GOAL 3: Minimum 30% gender ratio for image & video on our website. (currently at 50% ratio)

SUB GOAL 4: As an events organization, complete the Women and Sport National Same Game Challenge by August to better understand and formulate our gender equity plans.

Photo: Chris Dutton

Note: this is a project, not a plan

The Project's list below constitutes actions. 30by30 acknowledges that just as important as action is listening. Within each action is an intention to both better understand the area and to hold space for the challenges faced. Often, simply voicing these challenges is an important piece in support of representation and awareness. Therefore, this step will intrinsically be a part of each action.

Specific areas

a) Provide greater access to / knowledge of bike services

We will work closely with our service partners such as Decathlon (bikes, gear), Velofix (mechanical) and others to offer more ways to discover safe, informative and friendly access to bike services.

b) Clothing

Cycling clothing is often designed around the male body and male needs. We will use feedback to improve our clothing to meet a more diverse range of requirements, as well as discuss and look for solutions with the limitations in traditional kit designs as they exist today.

In addition, we will explore ways to provide better and clearer information around fit and comfort for our products to help improve confidence levels in the purchasing process.

We will include these learnings as part of our storytelling efforts as part of section F below.

c) Knowledge

We will develop a new A-Z guide to the event that begins at the first step of the cycling journey, not just at registration.

This guide will highlight ways to get into cycling at the very outset, address challenges faced along the way, provide simple and clear guidance on what to expect at RBC GranFondo Whistler and how to get the most out of your weekend experience.

d) Training

We will continue to both offer and expand the Fondo Clinics training programs for all ability levels across both physical and virtual options.

In addition, the Fondo Clinics will keep on providing the option of women’s only clinics and look to expand the number of these clinics on offer. This year, we have already committed that women's clinics will feature a bring-a-friend-for-free option on week 1.

Furthermore, we will explore ways we can make available additional skills and knowledge resources such as mentorship and courses outside of the Fondo Clinics program.

e) Ambassador program

The RBC GranFondo Whistler has launched a formal ambassador program for the first time in 2024. This is a hand-selected, closed program that is currently not accepting any more candidates.

The program is committed to maintaining an equally weighted male / female ratio going forwards.

f) Representation & storytelling

The representation of cycling is typically displayed in a male-centric manner. We want to use our platform to create a greater representation of gender equity and increase the conversation around women in cycling.

To do this, we will create and share stories using a wide range of media, such as written, video, podcast, social, in-person, photography etc that explore women's perspectives and experiences.

In addition, we will look for ways to better connect our audience with storied female athletes, such as RBC Olympians.

g) Community initiatives

We will use our platforms to highlight and share some of the outstanding community initiatives currently taking place which collectively aim to increase access into cycling for women and other under-represented groups such as LBGT+ and para athletes, such as:

• WowRide

• HUB Summer Cycling Program

• Chill Rides YVR LGBT community

and more.

h) New activations

Following feedback, we will be making women's sanitary products freely available at on-course and aid-station medical locations, in addition to already supplied medications.

There will be a new women’s meeting point & corral in Stanley Park.

In addition, we would love to develop and host a community leaders women’s panel and moderator discussion around female experiences in cycling.

i) Company education

As an events company we have successfully applied for the Women and Sport's National Same Game Challenge which aims to give sports organizations tools and education to develop and implement their gender equity plans.

The Challenge runs until August 2024 and has already formed the basis of the 30by30 initiative.

j) Organizational support

We are committed to supporting organizations that champion women's causes. This support takes a wide variety of forms, including providing auction entries to upcoming gala fundraisers and donation of our existing infrastructure resources.

k) Funding grant

Sport leaders in the Same Game Challenge are given a $1000 honorarium to spend at their discretion on causes that support their specific gender equity goals.

We will be donating these funds to a women's cycling cause later in 2024, and seek public consultation in the process.

l) Build on successes

In 2023 we began a renewed focus on bringing more content that helped better prepare riders for their time on the bike. From smaller, easily digestible reels to info sheets and ways to get involved in the local community, we will be producing more of this well received and innovative content.

m) Feedback

30by30 aims to be more a conversation than a solution. As an events company and as a community, we are all on a shared journey of learning and growth along the path of inclusivity and representation.

n) Charity partner

We are honoured to have supported youth cycling through CyclingBC since 2010. After helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in this time, we will use the opportunity of the 15 year anniversary to support a new cause that directly benefits women. More information will be released about our new charitable partner shortly.

Photo: Clint Trahan

While we strongly believe that sport and cycling should be and feel like they're for everybody, the steps required to get there are not always clear or easy. However, through positive intention and a bias towards action, we can do our best to hopefully move towards equitable change.

Throughout 30by30, we encourage feedback, thoughts, ideas and questions to help us make this program as effective and as equitable as possible. You can comment on our channels, or email [email protected] at any time.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to embarking on this journey with you together.

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