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 our actions, can really make a difference. I really believe in that 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.

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How we, the fans, can help support women’s cycling « Unofficial Unsanctioned Women’s UCI Cycling Blog

In which I get very excited about some ideas on how WE, the FANS, can CHANGE THE WORLD!!!

vimeo

I had been hearing about this film for some time…and now it’s here. Looking forward to seeing more, and love seeing women get the attention that they deserve in this film.

HALF THE ROAD is a documentary film that explores the world of women’s professional cycling, focusing on both the love of sport and the pressing issues of inequality that modern-day female riders face in a male dominated sport. With footage from some of the world’s best UCI races to interviews with Olympians, World Champions, rookies, coaches, managers, officials, doctors and family members, HALF THE ROAD offers a unique insight to the drive, dedication, and passion it takes for a female cyclist to thrive. Both on and off the bike, the voices and advocates of women’s pro cycling take the audience on a journey of enlightenment, depth, strength, love, humor and best of all, change & growth.

In addition to the international race footage and athlete interviews, the film also follows director/athlete Kathryn Bertine’s quest to make the 2012 Olympics during her first year racing professionally for Team Colavita. Bertine, a three-time national champion of St. Kitts and Nevis, explores the issues faced when smaller nations try to make strides in a sport that has no history of tradition or support within their culture. The title HALF THE ROAD comes from a segment of the film where the president of a small cycling federation quotes the old adage, “Women hold up half the sky” in reference to equality. Our documentary explores the idea that, If women hold up half the sky, then the women’s peloton deserves ‘half the road’ of opportunity, growth, support & equality within professional cycling.

The Asphalt Green Women’s Cycling Team was so pleased to announce our partnership with Zing Bars for the 2013 season. Their support of women’s cycling and their dedication to a COMPLETE nutrition  bar really hit home for us, and we are proud to be using Zing Bars throughout the season to fuel before, during and after our rides.

Read Meghan’s review on what attracted her to Zing and why their bars fit seamlessly into the nutritional needs of all of the athletes on the Asphalt Green Cycling Team.

“The sport of cycling exists thanks to the synergy among fans, sponsors, athletes, teams, events and organizational bodies,” Pierce says. “Fans especially wield powerful influence when it comes to generating return on investment for cycling sponsors. It is abundantly clear that women athletes in all disciplines of cycling cannot look to the international governing body for cycling (UCI) to support and develop our sport; instead, most of the positive change we’ve seen for women’s cycling comes from grassroots efforts, often motivated by women’s cycling fans. As fans grow to realize how important and appreciated they are, I believe that grassroots efforts will flourish and nurture a positive future for the sport as a whole, and for women especially.”

Of course, in marketing these days words like “engagement” and “relationship” are thrown around regularly enough that it’s easy for people to sometimes forget what they mean. These are not simple transactional terms. They are complex and represent the interaction of many (sometimes competing) ideas, goals, needs, desires and possible outcomes. It’s essential that fans, teams, riders AND sponsors understand this.

Sponsors aren’t just some giant cloud of money in the sky that allow sports teams to exist. But neither are they exempt from a responsibility to understand and engage with the fan-base of the sport that they’ve sponsored.

And that is why (again) I say that cycling teams in this respect have a very similar role to play as that of a marketing agency. In helping to quantify and understand their fans, they are able to identify sponsors who can in turn offer real value, benefit and opportunity to those fans. In turn the sponsor is justified in their investment, and is more inclined to grow their investment in the community that they have come to understand, appreciate and be a part of.

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THE EVOLUTION OF SPORTS MARKETING | Daniel Wright | digitoro.com

Dan, in his work capacity, writes really well about women’s cycling, marketing and #ClickThruThurs, among other things - have a look, it’s very interesting

Every Thursday I’m taking part in #ClickThruThurs, and taking 5 minutes to click on women’s cycling links from teams, riders, media and all sorts - especially clicking on and thanking sponsors.  It’s a really simple way to help the sport, because clicks, RTs, likes and comments really do make a massive difference. 

A side-effect has been making new online friends, and finding out all sorts of fun new things.  Use this link to have a look what people are pointing out on twitter - and feel free to use it yourself.  Collective fan action to promote the sport - we really CAN make a difference!  :-D

Every Thursday, fans take a few minutes to “click-through” the articles on women’s cycling, team websites, athlete pages, programs, affiliated sponsors, and more, and by doing so as a focused, collective effort every week, fans can actually spike the quantitative Return On Investment (ROI) for those companies invested in the sport.

In other words, teams and athletes can show their sponsors concrete numbers indicating how they’ve increased web traffic - or click-through rates - for their sponsors; likewise, news sites will see better click-through rates on their articles covering women’s cycling and be encouraged to provide more coverage for the fans.

I’m emphasizing women’s cycling here, because that is the context in which this idea was born; however, I want to make it clear that this initiative is a way for all fans to support ALL the good stuff they see happening in the sport - the great junior programs and races, or teams and programs dedicated to upholding clean sport. Whatever you see out there that is good and worthy, click away!

Fans can post links, articles, sites, sponsors or other good stuff on Twitter using the hashtag #ClickThruThurs, to share with other fans. For now I encourage everyone to post using the hashtag as much as possible, because at the moment, that is how we can track participation.

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ClickThruThurs and Women’s Cycling News - Interview with Amber Pierce - Daily Peloton - Pro Cycling News

Great interview with Cogeas-Pasta Zara rider Amber Pierce, on what #ClickThruThursday is, and how we, fans of women’s cycling, can do something really simple to show teams, riders and sponsors how much we support them.  Take 2 minutes to click on some links - and check out the #ClickThruThurs hashtag to see what women’s cycling fans all over the world are recommending.  Such a genius idea!  And if you haven’t read it already, check out Amber’s original Triple Crankset blog that started it all off

  • Women's Cycling Podcast - episode 25
  • Dan and Sarah
Play

Podcast Episode 25 – Interview with an Amber

Dan and I are very excited, because we’ve taken our women’s cycling podcast up a level, with our first ever interview, with Amber Pierce.  We both loved her #ClickThruThurs idea - such a simple, easy way for fans to come together and make a real difference - so we wanted to ask her about that, mermaids, kissing Pat McQuaid, and a lot more!

Listen to it here, or click through to our blog and find out a lot more - with lots and lots of Amber links!

To this end, I would like to propose a new social media tradition and hashtag: Click Thru Thursdays (#ClickThruThurs). Every Thursday, take a few minutes to “click through.” If you want to recommend particular athletes, programs, teams, news sites, or other organizations to other fans, post them with the hashtag #ClickThruThurs. Everyone can search the hashtag and take a few minutes to click through articles, “like” a page, or follow new athletes. Here are a few suggestions, but please, feel free to contribute more!
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Click-Thru Thursdays! > Amber Pierce > Triple Crankset

I LOVE this idea!  So simple, so easy - and click through to find out exactly why this small thing will really help women’s cycling - thankyou Amber!