Yesterday, I told you about 6 of my favourite rider blogs – but while all of those riders have their own sites, I completely appreciate that others may not have the time or the resources to run their own sites, or be able to commit to blogging that regularly. So part 2 in my social media series is dedicated to the teams who give space for cyclist blogs – and encourage their riders to keep us up-to-date with their lives!
There are two teams I think of straight away, for this category. They’re very different kinds of teams, but they share a passion for involving their fans
I always loved the way HTC-Highroad used social media to interact with fans, but since the women’s team became Specialized-lululemon, they’ve got even better! I really like how friendly their website is – from the quirky photos on the team page, which gives a much better idea of the riders’ personalities than the usual rows of head-shots gives, the great rider profiles, and the video page. But what I really like about the site is the way it features regular blogs from different riders.
It’s a really nice way to get to know the team, seeing both what the riders write, and what they say about other team members. Their different backgrounds, experiences and team rôles shine through, and getting to see the rider blogs next to each other – especially in races like Gracia-Orlovà, when a different rider blogged every day – gives a different perspective than when it’s just 1 rider telling her stories. I love that too – and the fact Clara Hughes cross-posts on the team site and her own site gives me the chance to see them in different contexts.
I was going to tell you which blogs I’ve liked best, but I couldn’t narrow it down – so some random highlights: Chloe Hosking describing why she’s a truly terrible room-mate; Trixi Worrack on the karaoke bus journeys in the Czech Republic; Ina-Yoko Teutenberg on being the worst boy in the neighbourhood; Loren Rowney sharing Ally Stacher’s recipes; and Amber Neben’s adventures racing in South America.
They make the racing sound so much fun – and they also feature stories from “ordinary” riders too. I find it all inspirational, the idea of them all whole-heartedly chasing their dreams, and having a really good time, even when they’re suffering. Bookmark the team site, and follow the team twitter for more updates.
Specialized-lululemon are one of the biggest teams and most successful in the international peloton, but on the other end of the scale, my next team prove it’s not about the size of the team, it’s about the will that gives great fan engagement
Matrix-Prendas are a small, UK-based team that focuses on developing young riders, racing on the UK domestic scene and some of the European races. I’ve got to declare an interest here – my conversations with their DS, Stefan Wyman, are a major influence on my thinking about women’s racing, even when I don’t agree with him – and the team took me to a couple of races last year (you can click through and see my race reports, with photos and video from the Luxembourg races and Thüringen Rundfahrt on Podium Café)
But it’s not because of that that I love the team’s online interactions – it’s because of their online presence that I got to know them, and they gave me opportunities. How fantastic is that?
Just look at the front page of their superb website to see all the kinds of great things they do – race reports, links to external media, videos, photos, and best of all – rider blogs. You can search these by specific riders on their drop-down menu, or see them all alongside each other on the blog page. It’s been an exciting time for such a small team – with Dani King and Jo Rowsell winning Olympic gold in the Team Pursuit, and Annie Simpson winning the Johnson’s Health Tech Grand Prix at the British Tour Series of crits. I like Dani’s blog on whether the Olympics will make a difference to the sport she loves and on meeting celebrities in the lift; Annie on the ups and downs of the Tour Series and racing the National Championships in the rain; Penny Rowson on home comforts; and Jessie Walker on juggling exams and races. They’re all good though – and if you ever tweet them at @onthedrops, I can guarantee they’ll reply and answer any of your questions – pretty soon you’ll be chatting away, and you’ll be a friend of the team too!
So those are my two, very different, teams to follow. But obviously, this is just a start! If you want to share your favourite teams for blogging, from the biggest Euro teams to the smallest domestic ones, let me know in the comments, or tweet me at @_pigeons_ and I’ll put all the recommendations in a future blog post!
Up next: Riders who tweet