A Monday Morning Contrast

A Monday Morning Contrast

Monday Morning Contrast

It’s Monday morning in late October. A busy time for me. On top of life’s normal stresses, I’m in the planning and design phase of a new bike shop, and our cycling club - Parklike is just about to launch a new cycling kit for the next 2 years. Something we've been working on for months.

I was lucky enough to slip away to the Southern Highlands for the Bowral Classic - 175km Gran Fondo ride through the Southern Highlands which was sold out months before to 3500+ riders. It was heaps of fun, there was a rolling road closure, police escorts, follow cars, feed stations, spectators on the side of the road, and a huge finish village with food trucks, beer, family entertainment etc. The riding reminded me of the big NSW races in the late 90s and early 2000s such as the Goulburn to Sydney and the Hornsby to Swansea. These races have all disappeared from the NSW calendar because they are too difficult and expensive to put on.

When I opened up the laptop on Monday morning, two of the emails got me thinking about contrast.

One was from Yaffa Media, the private promoter responsible for putting on the Bowral Classic. There was a high res. action photo with a personal message thanking me for riding. it also had a link to all the timing/results, a link to the photos from the event, a survey to complete to give them feedback, and an entry deal for 2019 if I was keen to do it again. I couldn’t help but think, that’s a clever marketing team behind that. It was impressive and well timed.

The other email was from the Cycling NSW Technical Commission regarding our cycling club’s clothing. This was part of a conversation with previous emails between 6 others from our club and Cycling NSW about rules for clothing. The Technical Commission is made up of around half a dozen members, ex members, parents of members who may have been riders, or may have had links to the sport at some time. They usually have law backgrounds and they are there to make decisions for the Cycling NSW Board, CEO and staff on ruling and discipline.

The email was to tell me that our club kit for 2019/2020 was not approved because one of the minor logos on the jersey (Park Bikes - my own business and a cash sponsor of the club) was too prominent. Now that’s a whole other conversation, but what got me thinking about contrast was the time, conversations, emails, meetings, and administration that had gone into such a relatively pointless task.

What if that sort of time went into driving membership, writing to big companies to seek corporate sponsorship, lobbying with government for better riding/racing conditions, working with NSW Police to try and get some road races back, or reporting on events with results and photos etc?

The sport of bike racing is up against some very sharp competition. I feel the potential is enormous, but our governing body needs to take a look at the thriving successful models that the competition use, and make some difficult changes. The challenge will be to do it whilst preserving and respecting the long history and traditions of the sport.

Cycling NSW may argue that all this sounds expensive, and may also argue that the Technical commission are essentially volunteers, but I know a lot of very passionate members that are also very skilled in events, marketing, PR, media, commentary, photography that would also love to help influence our sport in a more positive direction.

Cycling NSW, please don't let bike racing die!