The British national championships will be back on the Isle of Man this year. As Rouleur’s email newsletter highlighted, Robert Millar won the national title there back in 1995 at the age of 36.
The win was the last race of his career and the house of cards that his team, Le Groupement, was built on came tumbling down. He was due to race at the Tour de France that year, but never got the chance to wear the British stripes.
Other riders on the team included Luc Leblanc, Jean-Paul van Poppel, Robert Millar, Marcel Wüst and Graeme Obree – who walked away when he realised he was expected to contribute a proportion of his wages to doping.
I have been on a little hiatus with the podcast and it’s related to my cycling – I haven’t been riding much, other than the daily commute – and hence I haven’t been podcasting as much either.
With the podcast, I’m inspired when I’m at races or events, either because there are people to talk to and record interviews with, or because I get ideas. I haven’t been at many events so hence the lack of podcasting.
Have you ever lost your mojo on the bike? Have you ever lost your motivation for cycling, whether that’s training and racing, riding with your club or just riding your bike for leisure or pleasure?
When that happens, one way to get over it is to ‘just get back out there and ride’ – do do whatever you can, for as short a distance or at as slow a speed as is needed, just in order to get back out there.
So that’s what this podcast will be – a rough first draft – as a writer might call it – unedited and unpolished – just to get something out there. I’ll probably get a bit philosophical as I fly solo and explore the topic of motivation and cycling.
In this show I’m talking cross country mountain bike racer Kerry MacPhee. We discuss how anyone can get started in racing, how to handle the challenge of stepping up from junior to senior level, the extra challenges beyond just training and racing such as logistics, the mental side of racing and gaining personal sponsorship.
In this episode I gave my thoughts about live broadcasting at Crit under the Campus, a closed road circuit race held at Stirling Town Centre. I did live Twitter and Periscope broadcasts at the race and shared my tips about how best to use technology to live broadcast your event.
I hadn’t recorded for a while and wanted to get this out – just my monologue thoughts. I have one longer interview to come soon.
In 2014 and 2015 I used Periscope and Twitter to live broadcast segments of the Crit under the Castle, a incorporating the Scottish circuit race champsionships. Held in Stirling in June, on a closed-road city centre circuit, the events have proven to be a massive success, thanks in no small part to the vision of Stirling Bike Club chairman Norrie Petrie, and the hard work of his committee and army of volunteers.
Norrie explained some of the work that went in to how the club organised these events in a previous episode of my Scottish cycling podcast.
What sort of races are good for live broadcast?
Crits- I have broadcast 2 crits, and you get the chance to show plenty of action, as the riders come back around frequently. You can move to the finish line to catch the end of the race. You can easily move around the course. Crits tend to have an announcer more often that road races, and you can position yourself nearby to take advantage.
Cyclocross – for the same reasons as crits! The courses are often more interesting, and with run-ups, bombholes or barriers, you can get spectators to congregate. Live stream where you have the best atmosphere.
Track – in a closed environment, a track event could be good to broadcast. You might get a good wi-fi connection and could sit in spectator seating.
MTB XC – cross country courses will have some interesting features that would be good for live broadcast, as you catch different riders choosing their line down a descent, for example. Laps are longer so you may have to broadcast intermittently.
MTB DH – similar to XC, you’ll need to find a nice course feature and position yourself there. Fill the gaps between riders with banter and see how long you can keep going.
BMX – perfect for live broadcasting! You have a short circuit, a fast event, and ideally a high vantage point to catch everything.
What sort of races are not good for live broadcast?
Road races – you could position yourself at a key climb and capture some action but it will be brief. Identifying riders and race numbers is tricky at speed. If you’re at a finish line, why not turn on your camera and see how many people tune in though? Capturing the podium presentations are good for sponsors, friends and family but aren’t particularly captivating as live content.
Time trials – not the most exciting races to watch at the best of times. They are made interesting for the viewer by data – time splits, average speeds, wattage. You are going to have to work pretty hard to keep an audience! Rider interviews before and after their effort might be better.
What skills and knowledge do I need to live broadcast an event?
Commentatary – the ability to chat and cover the race, similar to the role of the PA announcer
Knowledge of the riders.
Knowledge of previous editions of the race and the current season in general.
Printouts of the race schedule, start sheets and sponsor info are very beneficial.
None of the above – you can still switch on your live broadcast and film it without any commentary, but I found that people enjoyed it much much more when I gave my spin on things.
In this episode I was at Crit on the Campus, a closed road circuit race held at Stirling University. I spoke to two junior riders, both on the British Cycling Junior Academy. They were Jenny Holl and Joe Nally. I also spoke to Joe’s sponsor, coach and mentor Craig Hardie of Hardie Bikes after the race.
Listen on itunes , in your podcast app of choice, on soundcloud or using the player below.
The All Bikes Scotland facebook group is brilliant. It’s so good, that if I had more money than I knew what to do with, I’d buy it and rebrand it as The Drum Up Scottish cycling FB group.
It is driven by Harry Tweed Jr, who posts historical images of the Scottish cycling scene going back to the 50s, with the occasional shot from before the war. Harry’s consistency has encouraged lots of others to post their own historical images and memories – a thriving example of social media at its best.
Martin Knox posted this image of Sam Robinson, courtesy of his son Jim Robinson, who has a memorial race named after him – a tough hilly race through the Trossachs which is arguably one of the classics of the Scottish calendar. I have always been intrigued by the names behind the memorial races and feel that many entrants to these events are oblivious to the characters behind them – one of the original aims of this blog was to record and spread these stories.
Sam was a member of the Glasgow Nightingale continuously from the late 1920s until his death in 1973 at the age of 68. The Sam Robinson trophy was donated by his son Jim and Jim’s brother-in-law in 1975 on the occasion of the first event. Jim plays an instrumental part in the running of the club today. Running continuously since 1975, this year sees the 42nd edition of the event organised by the “the Gales”.
In this episode, I’m at the Dig In At the Dock cyclocross race and take in the atmosphere before racing it. As the cross season wraps up, I share my thoughts about what is successful about this event today and how it grew in popularity to the level it is at. What elements of this race could be incorporated into your club’s event?
Listen on itunes , in your podcast app of choice, on soundcloud or using the player below.
Again the audio is not perfect – apologies and thanks for sticking with me. I’m looking at getting better mics! Continue reading →
I’ve been on twitter for a while now, and have been involved in the twitter account for Stirling Bike Club. This account has really taken off in the past two or three years and I thought I’d share some tips on how other clubs could do it succesfully.
Why do it?
You can use twitter to spread the word about your cycling club, grow your membership, create or improve a sense of community amongst the members, promote your events and other uses.
Don’t go on twitter just to go on twitter or your account will drop like a stone – it’s good to start out with a few specific aims.
To begin with, I aimed to follow any club members who were on twitter and any notable local cyclists. At that time, we were talking Scotland-wide, but these days many more people are on twitter. The aim was to build an audience and a community that would become self-sustaining.
Conversation and community
To state the obvious, perhaps, social media is best when used socially. The big brands and personalities might judge their performance in the thousands followers and hundreds of retweets but for a cycling club, the numbers will be small. I usually cringe when people talk about their followers on twitter. Rather, success should be engaging in useful conversations and building an online community.
Anyone who sent me a tweet or replied would be engaged in conversation – this helps the person running the account to get to know people. After a while, your twitter community will take a life of its own and people will be having their own conversations. Continue reading →