“Sister teams” and “French exchanges” for bikes – one of my theories

I should be transcribing right now, but I want to outline an idea that’s been buzzing around my head for a while, about how to develop British women’s cycling.  It started with a conversation with Colin Bachelor of Team 22 WRT, and I’ve been thinking about it more since my recent interview with Wiggle High5 DS Egon van Kessel, which included the need for British riders to get the bike skills for Dutch-style-racing, and so I want to blog it and put it out into the ether.

When I was at school, the thing to do when learning a language was go on the school’s French Exchange, where pupils were paired with penpals in France, who’d come and stay in our houses, and we’d stay in theirs for a week, for language immersion.  And I’m wondering if this would be possible for bike riders too.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The best team launch EVER!!!! Matrix Fitness Racing Academy 2013

I’ve been a fan of Stefan Wyman‘s women’s teams for years, and he’s one of those people I’ve “met” on the internet, and become a real friend.  He took me to the Luxembourg races and Thüringen Rundfahrt in 2011, and, less glamourously, to Stoke on Trent, so when he asked if I’d like to be involved in the 2013 Matrix Fitness Racing Academy, I jumped at the chance. I may get a bit more hyperbolic than usual, in this, so I won’t mind if you skip to the photos!

Harriet underwater

Continue reading

Marketing, cycling and women

It’s been one of those weeks, where suddenly I’m seeing all kinds of things about marketing, cycling and women, so here’s a selection of links to some things I found interesting.

Firstly, I am still in love with the adidas #mygirls campaign.  You can read my thoughts here, but more and more things keep hitting me about it – for example, isn’t how they show hair interesting?  Usually sports adverts have women with long, glossy hair cascading out behind the woman – and I have to say, that’s never how my (admittedly long, blonde) hair looked in any sports I did.  There’s the interesting cultural differences highlighted in Bara’ah in Jordan wearing her hijab, and Asisat in Nigeria with hers in plaits, that adds to the whole “united around the world” vibe, while feeling very natural – but Hannah‘s hair is tied back and hidden by a bike helmet, and Ingrid‘s is tied back and wet from the water – and I think that just accentuates the aspirational, real vibe – this is how we look when we do sports, and don’t we look great?

***

I’ve mentioned Collyn Ahart‘s writing on the blog before, but there are some articles she wrote that she linked to in her #mygirls post that I really liked.  Collyn does a lot of work on marketing and brand strategy, and I loved her post on sports marketing to women, the issues with the three main ways sports brands target women:

Continue reading

How we, the fans, can help support women’s cycling

One of my ongoing themes is thinking about how we, the fans, can help this sport we love.  It’s a fascinating topic for me – on the one hand, I can (and do) bemoan the fact I feel women’s cycling is unfairly marginalised by the UCI, the cycling press, the media – after all, fans LOVE women’s racing when they get to see it, and more people watched the women’s Olympic road race on the BBC and Eurosport than watched the men’s – but on the other, what an amazing opportunity for us, as fans, to shape how the sport is portrayed, and to directly help it grow.

Think about it – with the ridiculous sums of money and publicity floating around Team Sky, for example, fans of men’s cycling tend to be seen as an amorphous mass, for riders to moan about, if they think about us at all.  But on the women’s side, our blogging, tweeting, ‘like’-ing, and all our actions, can really make a difference.  I truly believe in the maxim, “be the change you want to see” – and I am still in awe of how fans’ backing and support for the Unofficial, Unsanctioned Social Media Jersey blew all our expectations out of the water, and showed how, working together, we can directly support the riders, teams and sport we love.

And there are some more initiatives I want to highlight, that give us some really simple, easy and fun ways to help.  I know I talk about some of these all the time, but damn, I love their passion, their continual commitment to the sport – and above all, how EASY they make it for us to help.

Continue reading

Presents for women’s cycling fans – part 1

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve been thinking about things I’d love to receive in my Christmas stocking how to show all my friends how much I love them…  so here’s a selection of lovely things you can all buy me gift ideas for any women’s cycling fans in your life, for Christmas or any other reason.  I don’t know what the online equivalent of leaving a catalogue/advert lying covered in giant circles around what you’d most like to receive, as a super-subtle hint to your nearest-and-dearests, but feel free to do that with this!

I’m always on the look out for fun things, so if you see present ideas you think I should know about, leave me a comment, email me at prowomenscycling [at] gmail [dot] com or tweet me on @_Pigeons_.  I’ve had some great suggestions already on twitter, so I’ll put up another post next week with people’s recommendations.

Lovely post-ride massage oils

I love Simon Lamb’s Il Dolore oils, but my favourite is Rosa, his post-ride recovery oil.  Here’s the description:

A unique blend of six essential oils specifically selected to help physical restoration and mental balance. The completely natural ingredients, which include Arnica, Lavender, Geranium and Chamomile are also reputed to reduce swelling and inflammation and improve recovery from the muscle pains associated with cycling.

I’m allowed to say this, as I’m a girl, but those oils are very good for period-related fun – and I also love pouring this into the bath, and just mellowing out, because it smells SO good.  Plus Simon is a great guy, very generous and kind – the reason I blog about women’s cycling is because he asked me to guest-post on his old website, years ago – so I’m extra-happy to promote him.  But I’d never recommend you spend money on presents for me anything just because I like the person – this is bloody good, whoever made it!

Read on for more lovely things

Continue reading

The Social Media Jersey – You only get ONE vote, use it wisely

It’s been an awesome journey to get to this point. Once again a huge thanks to everyone who has donated, tweeted, facebooked, YouTubed, podcasted, blogged, MySpaced, Friendstered, Craigslisted (is that even social media?) or whatevered this competition. It’s brilliant. Together we’ve already raised (at the time of writing) $2010 on the official count but of course, that’s going to change by the time you’re reading this.

We’ve seen some amazingly cool racing and we’ve seen some great use of social media. You can review the nominations for the Giro Toscana here, and for the Tour l’Ardèche and Ladies Brain Wash Tour here.

I greatly encourage you to review the nominations before casting your vote because you only get one vote.

Continue reading

Social Media Jersey – update 2nd September – THANKYOU!

I just wanted to write a quick update to say THANKYOU!!! to everyone who’s tweeted, re-tweeted, blogged and shared information about the Unofficial Unsanctioned Social Media Jersey!  We started off with a target of trying to raise $250 to give in prizes to riders, to say thankyou for all their social media updates – and today we’ve reached over 10 times that amount!  I’m still shaking from seeing the donations page this morning – $2,510, and we’re not even halfway through our fund-raising period!

EDIT!  Ok, Ok, I shouldn’t have got so excited, it was a mistake by RocketHub, and we’re back down to $1,510 again.  I’m not disappointed, though – $1,510 is a huge amount of money to have raised, and maybe we can still get to $2,000?

We honestly can’t thank you all enough.  Every dollar, every RT, every click on the page has contributed to this, and I’m excited to see where we can go from here!  Next goal – £2,600 $1,750!  The more we raise, the more we can give to riders, after all!

Continue reading