Sponsoring women’s cycling leads to direct sales!

Yesterday I wrote about 10 ways we can all help grow women’s cycling, and in it, I talked about buying or using products that support riders, teams and races.  I said that I was sad that I couldn’t use Boels Rental products – but then my friend Nic replied to a tweet about the company:

It inspired me to ask my twitter followers to share things that they’ve bought, or used, because of the women’s cycling connection, and especially because companies have sponsored riders, teams and races.  The replies made me so happy, I wanted to share some them with you.

They include a lot of people who’ve bought bikes and related products, but they also cover everything from people making decisions about buying a pair of socks, or choosing  right up to a car, because companies sponsor the sport, and lots in between.  These are just a tiny snapshot, based on who saw my two tweets asking for examples, in around 24 hours, so it’s the tiniest tip of the iceberg of demonstrating how sponsoring cycling raises awareness and changes perceptions of a brand. What’s also interesting is how many people are still using products after the sponsors left the sport – in some cases, years later.

There were so many replies that I couldn’t include them all, or this post would go on for days – but thank you so much to everyone who shared these with me.  If you want to talk about this, or to share things to be included in Part 2, please leave me a comment below, or chat to me on twitter.   In no particular order…

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Take 5 minutes to help women’s cycling in 2017

 

It’s 2017, and a lot of us are really looking for positives, and one of the best ones I’m finding is doing something to help women’s cycling.  We can all do this – just set aside five minutes a week, get online, and you can make a difference, to your favourite riders, teams and races.  You can do this at lunchtime at work, on the bus or train – I do it in ad breaks, when I’m watching TV!

But the key is, even five minutes can definitely help the sport.  Whenever I talk to anyone involved in cycling, these are the actions they recommend, and they’re super-simple.  None of this is new – we’ve talked about a lot of this since we started the site, for example,  a few years ago, when Amber Pierce started her #ClickThruThurs initiative – but with the internet moving so fast, it’s always worth re-visiting.

Basically, the key is to take a tiny little bit of time a week (or more!) to engage with riders and races, their sponsors and team media and thank them for what they do, and to share media that covers women’s cycling.  It’s so simple, that it almost seems too easy, but it really, really makes a difference.  I’ve got ten suggestions that I try to make time for whenever I can.

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On pitchforks, patience, demand, and the Tour Down Under

We’re at the first stage race of 2017, the Santos Women’s Tour, and it’s time for the first women’s cycling polemica of the season.  It’s a familiar cry, “why can’t we see more of the racing?”, with a lot of people going further, with “why can’t we watch live?”, and the familiar response that seems to chide fans for wanting more.  I have feelings about this, as you can imagine.

Let’s start with some background.  The Santos Women’s Tour (SWT) is a four-stage race alongside the men’s Tour Down Under – two crits, and two road races (one under 80km long).  It’s the first UCI road race of 2017, and has a great field that have been Down Under for winter sunshine, training camps, non-UCI races like the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic and the Aussie Road Nationals, as well as the UCI-ranked Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on 28th January.  It’s always exciting, seeing the teams in their new iterations (and new kits), and with the loss of the Tour de San Luís and the Ladies Tour of Qatar, the status has risen.

Now, although it’s nominally part of the Tour Down Under, they have different race organisers, though the sponsor, website and social media present them as two sides of the same coin – and the races are both owned by South Australian Government, which has used the Santos Women’s Tour as evidence of their commitment to promote women’s sport.  So it’s a surprise to see the men’s and women’s races treated differently.  The Pre-TDU People’s Choice Classic, the men’s crit that’s on the same course and day as the SWT Stage 2 Crit, for example, was streamed live, with two highlights videos on the Tour Down Under YouTube (one 4:21 long, and the 1:19 finish video), plus a “fan cam”, and 1:57 long winner’s interview, while at this point there’s only a 1:47 long video covering Stages 1 & 2 of the women’s race combined.  For context, compare that to the 1:34 video of the Undies Run at the race.

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The 2016 Women’s World Tour – media scorecard 1

This is going to be part of an ongoing series, looking at the media about the Women’s Road Cycling World Tour.  I’ll talk about the actual racing in other posts, and especially in the weekly women’s cycling podcasts, but I want to spend some time looking at how the series lives up to the promises the UCI have made about it.  And now the dust has settled on the first round of the series, the Strade Bianche, I want to look at how the World Tour compares to the Road World Cup.

Let’s start with what was promised.  The World Tour is a brand new initiative for 2016, an evolution of the women’s Road World Cup, going from 10 day races in 2015, to 17 races with 35 racing days this year.  It’s been much hyped this year, for example, in last week’s press release about the series, we had quotes from UCI President Brian Cookson:  “It will provide the perfect platform not just to grow women’s cycling around the world, but also to boost the profile of women’s cycling“, and Vice-President Tracey Gaudry: “Teams, riders and event organisers are all on-board, and fans will now be able to see the best female cyclists all around the world.”  It promises:

“All 17 events of the 2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour will benefit from TV coverage, either from live broadcast, live streaming or same day highlights packages.

In addition, the UCI will partner exclusively with IMG to ensure extra-exposure for the UCI Women’s WorldTour through the InCycle magazine show, which has generated a global audience of 18.68 million from 1,358 hours of broadcast coverage in 2015. Throughout the season, 12 shows of 26 minutes will each feature a sequence dedicated to the UCI Women’s WorldTour. This exclusive content will be accessible via http://www.incycle.tv and http://tv.uci.ch (without geo restrictions) and through the +35 broadcasters the magazine is distributed to on all continents.”

The trouble is, what we’ve seen from the first round, and what seems to be coming up for future races doesn’t match these promises.

Less coverage from the World Tour than for the World Cups

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Sarah interviews…. Lisa Jacobs Rides Happy – Cyclocross and Australia

Podcast interview logoLisa Jacobs has always been a fascinating pro cyclist – she used to combine forays into European road racing with the Australian National Team with her day job as a lawyer, and now she’s embraced the emerging cyclocross scene in Australia, and taking time off work to come and race – and all the while having one of the best cyclist blogs out there on her Ride Happy website.

She’s just back from a month and a half racing Belgian cyclocross, which didn’t go as well as she’d hoped, but she’s still looking up.  We talked about all of that, how an Aussie gets into CX in the first place, and what the scene’s like there, why she lets her alter-ego of “Lisa’s Mum” loose on the blog, and lots more, including her most Aussie cyclocross experience to date…

Listen to the interview here, or download it directly from the Soundcloud page.  I’ll be back with a partial transcript of it later in the week.

 

 

You can get automated free updates for all my women’s cycling podcasts and interviews via the iTunes store (leave us a review too!) or via our RSS feed.

Follow Lisa (and Lisa’s Mum) on her website, twitter and instagram.  And head to her sponsor page and click through to them all, to show you care – especially Rapha Australia and Focus.  I especially like her recent posts on the Mojo Rollercoaster, and Lisa’s Mum answering all your questions about Belgian mud.

If you’d like to find out more about Australian cyclocross, and even start yourself, the National Series is coordinated by Mountain Bike Australia, with dates for 2016 (but no venues yet, which is a bit of an issue for a country as large as Australia!) on their website.   The details about the Victorian CX series are on the Cycling Victoria website, and there’s the fantastic Dirty Deeds 4-race series in Melbourne too, which has been running since 2010.  If you’re in or near Adelaide, check out the Focus CX twiLITE evening race on 15th March – why not give it a go, or at least head out and cheer!  And there’s more Aussie cyclocross news, information and stuff on the Australian Cyclocross Magazine website and twitter.

I’ve collected the videos from the women’s races at the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships here, and there are more CX videos, news, thoughts and interviews in the Cyclocross section of the site

I’m funded to do these interviews thanks to my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you so much!  If you want to join them from just £1.50/$2 a month, there’s more information here.

 

 

2016 Social Media Jersey – March nominations thread

Welcome to the first month in the 2016 Unofficial, Unsanctioned Women’s UCI Social Media Jersey competition!  This is where we can share, thanks and reward the amazing riders and teams in the women’s pelotons whose fantastic social media makes being a cycling fan even better!

The rules of the competition are over here, but basically, if you’ve seen any social media (including blogs, twitter, instagram, videos etc etc) on riders and teams’ sites and accounts that you’ve enjoyed from 27th February to 3rd April, nominate them, and I’ll add them to the post.  At the end of the month, we’ll then vote for the winners in 3 categories – riders from the Top 20 (UCI World Tour) road teams; best team media’ and best non-World Tour pro riders (inc track, BMX, cyclocross, MTB etc.

You can nominate by sending a specific example of their social media into the comments, to me on twitter, or by emailing me at prowomenscycling [at] gmail [dot] com.  You can ask me any questions too that way, and it all can be as anonymous, or not, as you like – and if you want some places to start looking for rider media, I have a twitter list of women cyclists and teams, and Chloe Hosking has a list of road riders who blog.  Get nominating!

The 2016 Social Media Jersey – how it will work

We’re about to start the 2016 Road Season, so it’s time to re-launch the Unofficial Unsanctioned Women’s UCI Social Media Jersey!

Back in 2012, Dan and I ran the Social Media Jersey competition, to celebrate riders from the women’s peloton who helped us enjoyment of the sport.  Thanks to our amazing readers, we raised over US $3,500, which was sent as prizes to 11 riders who were voted the winners by so many fantastic readers.  We had a lot of fun, and ever since then we’ve been talking about doing it again, in a different form.

The Social Media Jersey does what the name suggests, giving us the chance to share content from professional women cyclists that we’ve loved, and to reward riders and teams for making following the sport so much more fun.

How it will work

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