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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In which I am reduced to ranting about race hashtags….

So, here comes a rant-ette.

I love twitter.  I have made friends, got jobs, built my cycling career and above all followed women’s cycling because of it, it’s completely transformed the sport for me.  But right now I’m practically having an embolism watching how teams, media and everyone really uses hashtags, and it’s something that happens so often, right now I actually want the UCI to mandate official hashtags.

So when a race is on, I check out the race twitter (if there is one) and use the hashtag they use.  And a good race makes it really simple – they plaster it on the website, on their twitter, in their press releases, at the team managers meeting (thank you, Aviva Women’s Tour & Energiewacht Tour!).  Ideally they chose the hashtag understanding that social media has character limits, and make it short & easy to remember (Race initials plus last 2 digits of the year!  Ideally just the race initials! Everyone knows what year it is!) but ultimately, it’s their choice, they run the race…  and ideally everyone uses it.

But no.

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I might not be the smartest rider

So last night Sarah and I were talking while we watched the Vårgårda World Cup race, as it streamed live on the UCI YouTube channel. A miracle that I hadn’t dared to hope would come true. In between moments of sheer delight and joy at seeing real live coverage of a women’s race (with a fucking helicopter even!), there was much else to be enjoyed.

We were spoiled, my friends, utterly spoiled. Live video of the race, actual expert commentary from Rochelle Gilmore (supported by Jose Been) and amazing Swedish countryside, weather and racing. Sheer luxury as they used to say. I used to dream of seeing a World Cup race broadcast live. Amazing.

It’s been a tradition for Sarah and I to watch this race together, and over the last three years we’ve seen the coverage grow from one camera in a fixed position, to two fixed cameras, to yesterday’s wonderful spectacle. It was great.

I admit that it went to my head a little bit. I was giddy with delight. So I couldn’t help but crack up laughing at one point when the commentators were trying to find a nice way to explain why a certain rider’s attack may not be the smartest move.

 

And that’s when the magic really happened. Former World Champion track rider and HTC road rider, and sometimes live tv commentator, Kate Bates shared one of her favourites:

Of course, Sarah joined in with some great ones too:

and

Our dear friend Jens was enjoying racing so close to home (and he got it live on Swedish TV, no streaming for him!) and decided to add his two kronor worth:

To which Kate had the rejoinder:

Lots of fun, and it left me wondering. What are your favourite euphemisms for poor tactical decisions? Leave us your best efforts in the comments below.

Podcast Special Feature – Sarah discusses race social media with Clara Beard

Continuing her series of special one-on-one interviews, Sarah talks with Clara Beard of Tour Tracker fame about race coverage, the technology behind updates and the challenges of covering a race without live video to guide you. They talk about what it’s like to manage the social media for races and compare their experiences with Tour of the Gila, Tour of California, USA Nationals, the Friends Life Women’s Tour and the Edinburgh round of the Tour Series. There’s also (super mature, with NO snickering) talk of dongles… (1:14:21 MIN / 71.57 MB)

To stream the behind the scenes-iest podcast available right now, click here.

 

 

Subscribe for free in the iTunes store here OR via our RSS feed here.

Clara Beard is Ferncoyote on twitter – and Sarah is @_pigeons_ if you want to ask them any questions (or tell Clara she’s awesome!)

Clara was working on the Tour of the Gila, where she was doing live twitter updating amongst other things.  She also works for the Tour Tracker, most recently at the Tour of California and the USA National Championships, and you should install their apps, they’re great.  She’ll be with them at the Tour of Utah, so keep an eye out for that.

Sarah was working on the Friends Life Women’s Tour, running the live updates on the website and on twitter.  You can listen to her talk about the race on that week’s podcast, and see her photos from the Edinburgh round of the Tour Series on her flickr.

Help a pro cyclist with a little experiment!

We love Gracie Elvin on this site – her blogs and videos about life on the road with ORICA-AIS have made us happy all year.  And of course Dan and I both want more women’s cycling on tv – so we want to spread the word about Elvin’s little social media experiment.

If you want to help too, click through to her twitter and either RT or like, or both – it’s an interesting, simple little thing to do – and I’ll be interested to see what the results are…

Let’s all watch the Energiewacht Tour!

I am a real fan of the Dutch races, they seem really well-organised, and they really love their fans, with race tickers, great websites, interaction via all kinds of social media, and tv coverage on local Dutch tv stations.  They really pull out all the stops, and of course, that makes it easy to follow and support them.   I already miss the fantastic Raboster Zeeuwsche Eilanden, which sadly had to be cancelled this year, after sponsors pulled out – but tomorrow is the start of one of my top favourites, the Energiewacht Tour.  Before I tell you about it, here’s the highlights programme from last year’s race – and make sure you enter the competition EDIT! TWO competitions! at the bottom of the post!

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How to watch the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen 2013

The Ronde van Vlaanderen is such an important race on the women’s calendar – and it’s one of the races pretty much every woman in the peloton wants to win.  It’s iconic, historic, super-difficult, and very, very special.  It’s also the 10th edition of the women’s race and the third round of the Road World Cup – so teams and riders will be planning and preparing and dreaming of their Flanders ride, right now.

People have been asking me how they can watch this race, and I’ve got some bad news to start with – there’s no live tv, and if past years are anything to go by, it’ll be very, very limited video coverage.  Belgian tv station Sporza should show some short highlights of it after the men’s race (maybe before the men’s podium ceremony, maybe afterwards) – and this will be on their videozone after the race.  In some years, they’ve cut to the women’s finish-line live in the men’s coverage, but don’t get your hopes up too much.

There will be a 5-minute highlights video in English going up on the UCI’s youtube account on the night of the race, and a few weeks later, there will be a 25 minute World Cup film, that will have RvV and another race (this might turn up on tv channels like Europsport, too).  There may be short highlights on various European tv channels soon after the race – Dutch NOS, for example – and depending on how Marianne Vos does, there could be something about the race on the Rabosport youtube.

Yes, I know – there should be a lot more than this – so if you want to take 5 minutes and email or tweet the tv station who shows cycling, the race, the UCI, or anyone you want, and tell them you want more, I’m sure it can only do good.

So, how DO I follow the race?

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