Support your local Sarah

Hi team, I just wanted to jot down a few quick notes about a project I’m pretty excited by. As you may (or may not) be aware, for a little while now we’ve been looking for ways to help Sarah get a little bit of steady income from all the work she does on women’s cycling. First off we added a few items that you could purchase in our Redbubble store. And now it’s come time for the next thing.

Now Sarah’s launched a Patreon account! If you’re not already familiar with the idea behind Patreon, it’s a site that seeks to help content creators (think artists, musicians, writers, etc.) connect with fans of their work and be supported directly by them in order to help them continue to create works.

Supporters (or Patrons) commit to supporting creators with a set amount per month (it can be as little as $2) and there are reward tiers and stretch goals and such. So please do take a few moments to visit Sarah’s page and look through the options. If you can afford to help support her, then THANK YOU SO MUCH from both of us (but especially from Sarah). And even if you can’t, if you’d help by sharing it with your cycling friends, rich relatives and so on, that would also be super, super cool of you.

As always, Sarah loves you anyway and wants you to win every single race you enter. Thanks! 🙂

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How to go about building a different kind of team structure (Part 1 of I don’t know how many)

First up I should probably confess that the title of this post will wind up being more of a question than an answer, sometimes that’s how things go. For well over a year I’ve observed with interest the collective headscratching and uncertainty surrounding how to sustainably build a professional cycling team. It’s a complex and involved set of issues, rather than just something that can be considered as a standalone problem. This is because cycling exists as a fragile ecosystem and changes to any one part of it have effects (sometimes unforeseen) on the rest of it. So the question of sustainable cycling models is by necessity going to be a tough nut to crack. Something I think the sport itself is really only starting to come to terms with.

In particular Jonathan Vaughters has been vocal on the issue and has at different times had varied ideas and suggestions on how a more sustainable structure may be put into place. Along the way Mr Vaughters has done a good job of explaining why this matters and why the current system is not really viable or in the best interests of cycling.

Let’s start at the start – the dependency of cycling teams on sponsorship deals leaves them in a peculiar and vulnerable position compared to most other professional sports. Most sports derive their primary income from broadcast rights. That is, tv networks pay them large sums of money in order to broadcast the sport. Cycling Oddity the first; broadcast rights are held by race organisers not by any sort of league or association (as is the case with other, larger sports). This means that teams have limited bargaining power in terms of money and in offering exposure to potential sponsors. Problematic to say the least.

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