In praise of the Enduro World Series – and their new Juliana Women’s Rides

Enduro MTB is a pretty new discipline, as far as cycling goes.  It’s kind of a cross between Downhill, cross country and Marathon mountain biking – a stage race format, with multiple events over a weekend, and competitors also riding the (mostly uphill) transfers between the (mostly downhill) stages.  If you want to know more about it, there are the wikipedia article, and introductions from Pinkbike and BikeRadar, and this video from GCN MTB.

The Enduro World Series is the biggest competition, a season-long series that takes place in some truly gorgeous locations.  It’s only been running since 2013, and it’s very definitely outside the umbrella of the UCI, organised by the Enduro Mountain Bike Association (EMBA), which itself started in 2012, and from the start, it’s been very inclusive, especially of women, but also of fans.  It has excellent media, with lots of rider involvement, in the previews of each race, highlights, and lots of things in between, and it makes these available to pretty much everyone.  Check out the video page and photo galleries on their website, and drool over that beautifully-MTB combination of fantastic people doing extraordinary things on amazing bikes, in the most incredible landscapes.

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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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Podcast 2016, Episode 14 – It’s OK, he’s an Aussie

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G’day from sunny Manchester this week team! Dan’s on holiday and enjoying the snow in the English spring. This week we’ve got heaps to talk about and it’s not all scandals involving Australians in Manchester. We also talk the end of the Assos Girl, the penalties for motor doping, crowd-funding and that big Marianne Vos crash.

On top of that, there’s heaps of racing to cover off. We’ve got Joe Martin Stage Race in the US, Omloop van Borsele, Dwars door Westhoek, and heaps of Cairns MTB activity. Of course there’s the usual hilarity and this week an added bonus of technical difficulties (which we’ve done our absolute best to correct, but sorry/not sorry).

Before you do anything else, make sure you vote for all the great cycling-related entries in the 2016 #BeAGameChanger awards – voting closes on 1st May, so hurry!

Things we talked about included….

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Women and cycling – 2016 marketing I love

I’m always interested in how women are portrayed in cycling media, and I talk about the bad, of course, but also the good – and I was already collecting examples of great advertising, when this popped up in my twitter-stream:

This is such an amazing move!  For years, the ‘Assos Girls’ – topless models wearing bibshorts and caressing their boobs, jerseys allegedly advertised to women with a woman on her knees in stilettos and spray-on PVC leggings (check out the 2nd photo here, and read the post, it’s hilarious!) have been an embarrassment to cycling for years.  My post about the Assos Girl, and cycling companies who market well to women has had one of the biggest number of hits since I posted it in 2013 (despite all the pictures having disappeared because they’re all gone from the sites now).  So of course I immediately clicked through to the Ella Cycling Tips article to see what’s going on – and I loved the quotes from the new Assos CEO Phil Duff, including:

“Yes, I am quite painfully aware of how Assos has portrayed women in the past,” said Duff, who had been an Assos customer himself since its founding days.  “Not only do I know that from the market place, but in my first few weeks of getting involved with the Assos, I’d come home every night and my wife would say, ‘when the hell are you getting the naked women off their website?’”

and

“There are some things that are changing, particularly with respect to the customer-facing side of this company, one of which is that everyone here is now fully on board that we are now going to portray women the same way we portray men –as athletes,”

So hooray, Assos is now off my personal blacklist!  Their site is completely down, in development, but you can sign up to get notified when they’re back.

And one other good thing to celebrate?  It’s clear from Duff’s comments, and the comments from USA Cycling about their relationship with the company, that public opinion played a big part in this too – so when we see terrible advertising (‘I hate Jeffsy‘, #Sockgate, Six Six One’s kneepad imagery, the Maxxis calendar, to name some recent examples), talking, writing and tweeting about it may not have an immediate effect, but it does help effect change – isn’t that great to know?

So, onwards to more good that I’ve seen so far this year.  I’ve talked about these in podcasts and elsewhere on the site, but they’re so good, they deserve to be celebrated.  As always, if you’ve got 2016 examples of cycling marketing featuring women, please do share with me, in the comments, on twitter or on tumblr, and I’ll put up a second post.  And as usual, I get no benefits, incentives or rewards for talking about these – it’s just things I personally like.

Liv Cycling’s #ActuallyICan

The most recent advert I loved was from Liv Cycling, part of their #ActuallyICan campaign.  In my defense, I was feeling ill when I saw it, but it really did give me a lump in my throat – the moment when the cyclist stopped, looking exhausted, and then carried on.  It sounds so cheesy, but done so well.  I love the different kinds of women, and the way it shows what’s awesome about achieving in sport.

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Podcast 2013 Episode 13 – Women’s Cycling Fans Are Better Than Normal People

The-Unofficial,-Unsanctioned-Women's-UCI-Cycling-ShowHello sinners! Welcome aboard for a slightly unusual week of podcasting fun and adventure. This week Sarah baits Dan mercilessly with accusations of Queenslandishness, we’ll leave it to you to decide if he doth protest too much. We also do a quick whip around the racing all over the world (there’s quite a bit of it). Dan gets excited about research reports (and possibly owes Daniel Benson an apology). There’s a bunch of other stuff, including a fair bit of laughing and a whole lot of swearing, so grab a beer, settle in and get ready to press play! (1:02:23 MIN / 59.88 MB)

Click here for your aural playing pleasure.

 

 

Or tune up the i over here for FREE!!!!

Sarah’s compiling links for you right now (aren’t you Sarah?!)! Come back in half an hour or so to have all sorts of things to click!

Sarah edit!  OK, that took more than half an hour (sorry!) but here’s what we talked about this week…

Last week’s racing:

Knokke/Bredene

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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

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Podcast 2013 Episode 5 – Welcome to the Dark Side

This week we recap the Snowmageddon that was the Drenthe weekend. Sarah catches us up on some interesting developments in the world of marketing for women’s cycling. I teach Sarah about farming (including how to plant a chicken) and we swear a bit too. Early on I extol the virtues of the metric system and we take a look at the upcoming races this weekend.

You can stream the podcast here.

 

 

If you’d like to access your regular dose of sweary cycling-ness via iTunes, then we’ve got you covered.

Things we talked about this week:

The Ronde van Drenthe World Cup

More after the jump!

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