Dan and I are real life friends who have never actually met in real life, and one of the reasons that he suggested we start podcasting is our shared love of the stories in women’s cycling, and the fact we both want to do our bit to help the sport we love, however we can.
We especially love the way that riders share their experiences of life on the road through their blogs, twitter accounts, team websites, and things they write, in between insane transfers and killer racing. We really appreciate all their time and effort, and how they share their own passion for the cycling, and give us new insights, so although we don’t get as much of the mainstream media, we get something far more personal, and real.
And it kind of pisses us off that when they’re doing this, they’re doing it for love, and hardly get any financial rewards at all. Isn’t it crazy, that €150 is a normal-looking prize for a General Classification jersey, or the Queen of the Mountains prize, in a top-level race?
But on the other hand, if jersey prizes pay so little…. That means we can set up one of our own! And all you fans of women’s cycling can help us create one and decide who wins it!
Here’s the plan: Dan and I will put $25 each of our own money into a pot, and this will be the jersey prize for the inaugural Unofficial Unsanctioned Women’s Social Media jersey!
How the competition will work
The jersey competition will be for any riders who are racing in the three early-September European stage races – the hilly Tour de l’Ardèche (3rd-9th September 2012, France) and the sprint-tastic Brainwash Ladies Tour (4th-9th September, 2012, the Netherlands) – EDIT! Due to popular demand, we’ve added a third race – the Giro della Toscana, 29th August – 2nd September – and it will go to the rider who’s been the best at using social media to share their thoughts on the race.
Anyone will be able to nominate a rider for the jersey, based on their tweets, websites, blogs on team sites, or any form of social media. The only restriction is, it’s got to be public, and it’s got to be vaguely related to those races. It doesn’t matter what language they’re using, or whether it’s a series of pieces, or just a couple of photos or pithy tweets – if you see something you like, nominate it!
Because l’Ardèche is in some hideous mobile phone deadzone, some of the riders might not get their blogs uploaded until after the race, so we’ll accept things that are written up to the 13th September at 13:00 CEST, as long as they’re about the races.
We’ll then publish all the nominations, and open the voting up to the internet, to help us decide who wins. Voting will be open until midnight CEST on the 22nd September, after the Road World Championships – and we’ll track down the lucky winner (through her social media, of course!) and send her the prize!
As well as the money, we’ll send the winner a certificate, and a T-shirt – her very own Social Media jersey!
How YOU can help
I’m often asked online how fans can help support women’s racing, and women’s cycling, so we’ve come up with a number of ways anyone can get involved with this
Dan and I will fund this ourselves anyway, but if you’d like to donate to the prize pot, it would really make us happy. Just think, if 50 people donated $5 each, we’d be able to give a prize that was bigger than the average race jersey gives out! And the more money we make, the more prizes we can give out!
You can donate via our donation page – it’s via Rocket Hub, which is a site that specialises in fundraising projects. We solemnly swear that all the money (apart from the Rocket Hub fees) will go to the riders and their prizes. We won’t get anything out of this ourselves except for huge smiles and feeling really happy we’re able to do something for the sport we love!
If you do donate, THANKYOU! We’re grateful in advance! We’ll show you this by thanking everyone who donates by name on the blog, and we have some incentives, too:
- Anyone who gives over $5 will get their name put on the certificate we’ll send to the rider
- Give over $10, you’ll get that, plus your name on the t-shirt, as a true sponsor should
- Over $25, you’ll get that, plus you can write a 140-character safe-for-work message for the rider that will be printed on the T-shirt too
- And if you give over $50, Dan will read an excerpt of your choosing, in a voice or accent of your choosing on our podcast, and you can choose any of my photos, and I’ll send you the full-sized digital file, to do what you like with (you might want to start with my cycling photos)
(If you can think of anything else we could offer as prizes, let us know in the comments! We need things that won’t cost, as we want all the money to go to the riders, but any creative ideas, let us know!)
Keep an eye out on your favourite riders’ twitter streams and websites over the nomination period, 29th August-13th September, and nominate them right here, using the form we put up, or to us via twitter (Dan is @entendered and I’m @_pigeons_) – or email us on prowomenscycling[at]gmail[dot]com.
Once the nominations are up, have a look at what’s been nominated, and vote, vote, vote! We’ll have an easy-to-use poll right here in the voting period, 14th- 22nd September, so it will be very easy indeed.
UPDATE! Voting is now open! Check out the nominations from Toscana and from l’Ardèche and Brainwash
We know that money’s tight for a lot of people, and if you can’t do anything else, we’d love it if you could just share this with your contacts and friends, by twitter, re-blogging, or just telling them about it down the pub! What we want to do most of all is to say a huge THANK YOU to all the riders who provide us with so much entertainment, and to share all our favourite blogs and tweets – so the more this is shared, the better.
5. CLICK LINKS
The simplest thing everyone can do to help women’s cycling is to show the world how much we love it, and appreciate the riders, by clicking links, giving hits, like-ing and sharing things we see. It doesn’t seem like a big thing, but every click helps teams, races and riders show sponsors that we care, and sites that feature women’s cycling that there’s an audience. Click links when you see them, and if you want to go further, share what you see, and leave comments – especially on sponsors’ websites! It takes such a short amount of time, but it really, really makes a difference.
It’s not always easy for people new to the sport to find all this information, so I’ll be writing a series of posts over the next month, highlighting my favourite bloggers, tweeters, team sites, commentary sites and other social media. And CQ Ranking’s list of rider websites and my list of women cyclists on twitter are a good place to start clicking!
This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages, but given where we are in the year, we’re just setting this up as a quick’n’dirty way to get this happening before the end of the cycling season, so we present this as what it is – something that’s fun.
But we do have ambitions! If this works well, we want to do it again next year, maybe with three or four competitions – for the Spring Classics, the Giro Donne, and maybe a year-long competition, so it can be open to more riders. So if you have any suggestions for how we can do it better in 2013, leave it in the comments! And of course, if you have any questions, ask them there too, or via our twitters, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Thanks so much for playing – and thanks especially to all the riders who make it so much fun to follow the racing – we really appreciate it!
UPDATE from 24th August (short version: THANKYOU!!!)
UPDATE from 2nd September (Thankyou again!!!)
Nominations from the Tour de l’Ardèche and Brainwash Ladies Tour