He has prepared a great write-up on his blog and also sent us a cool list of statistics about his trip. It’s worth noting that Poul’s trip around Cornwall was done with barely any prep, he got the thumbs up just three days before he started. Go Poul!
#TrikeCornwall in numbers:
23.000 feet of accents (never got off to push)
6500+ twitter interactions
1000s smiles received
350 miles cycled
£145 raised (www.justgiving.com/TrikeCornwal)
17% steepest accent & decent
12 Pasties eaten
8 days on the road
3 maps to show the way
1 near crash (bus pulled out in front of me on a downhill section! I love the disk brakes on the trike)
Would you like an adventure on Trikey, or my ElliptiGO? Just drop me a line with a proposal…
Since I limped home from Nice in June 2013 with a damaged back and my ElliptiGO resting quietly in a garage on the Cote D’Azur, I’ve wondered how to get it back to the UK in one piece.
I could ride it myself, but don’t much have the time, and after all, I’ve already completed over 1000 miles on an ElliptiGO.
But someone else could do it…?
I popped the question on Facebook and in two weeks had over 100 applicants from potential ElliptiGO couriers.
Eventually I opted with Australian Tom Kelly and for the last couple of months he has been riding through Europe slowly gathering tales to tell.
Here’s Tom’s report on the trip, which ended in London just a couple of days ago:
It’s rare that any challenge can happen without help from others. Here are a few ideas for how to create the perfect team.
There can be an assumption that expeditions are all paid for by sponsors, but this is rarely the case. Unless you get lucky or already work for a company who can financially assist you it’s best to set your sights on getting your expedition set up via a mixture of guile, research, determination and passion.
Teaming up with a sponsor (or several of them) can be beneficial: they offer possible finance, cheap (or free) gear, PR assistance and another conduit for spreading word about your project. Receiving external support can also have negative impacts: extra time and pressure go into honouring an agreement, and expectations of commercial return may glaze their perspective of how successful your expedition has been.
The Three Stages of Sponsorship
If you’re organising your first expedition try not to depend on financial sponsorship when you’re planning out your project. You likely have no prior experience to prove that you’re a worthy investment so if sponsorship is the only method you can envisage to covering your expedition you may already be relinquishing control and compromising your objectives.
There are always exceptions to the rule, but more often than not you have to earn your right to sponsorship. First, if you impress, you’ll get discounted gear, either on a discount or a pro deal. Next, you’ll get free gear. Finally, you might be good enough to be paid by a company in order for you to carry their brand. Later in this blog, I’ll discuss how you can improve your chances of climbing the ladder. The key, as always, is not to expect anything, else you might end up disappointed.
Pick your targets
In an ideal world, you want to find a sponsor who supports you because they like you and what you’re doing, as opposed to only offering assistance because they want financial/sales return. Here’s what to look for in a suitable sponsor:
- They provide a product(s) that exactly fit your needs - this way you can use their gear to the hilt, write/ film accurate reviews, and not go out of your way to find a use for an extraneous product.
- Their brand and attitude matches yours
- They’re not so big that your request will be silently ignored, or that your venture (if they do support you) rarely features in their content streams.
- Only contact potential sponsors if you’d be happy to work with them. You don’t want to go into any type of relationship with someone/ a company that doesn’t share your values.
Ask yourself two questions:
Understand your mission. What are your aims and in what order of priority do they fall? Are you fundraising? Is this for personal development? Do you have a scientific or social research aims? Are you after a world record or world first?
With this in mind, you have to sell your idea, your passion and your unique angle. If accepted your proposal will almost certainly form the basis of your sponsorship agreement. Lay your cards on the table. Don’t bullshit and make your offer sound better than it can actually be, otherwise your Pinnochio butt is gonna go get bit.
The key points - why you’re doing what you’re doing, what you can do to offer return on their support, and what you hope for from them (this is why you’re writing to them).
Ideas for what you could offer to a sponsor:
- Branding on your website (unless you have big media promise and a wealthy PR budget, this will be of minimal value)
- Ongoing content throughout your expedition
- Mentions and links through social media like Facebook and Twitter
- Product reviews: these are valuable for a company that deals in gear. If their gear survives and works well on a long, tough expedition, then you prove that it’s durable, effective and is worth someone else paying for it.
- Clothing and kit branding: if their logo appears on your expedition clothing and other key expedition items, they will have heightened brand positioning in photos, videos and media coverage of your expedition.
- Spread the word: whenever you meet people rave, display and present the gear you’re using. (It helps if you love the product)
- Offer to give a talk to the company/ organisation once your expedition is finished, perhaps at a fundraiser. It’s moral boosting for the staff and a great way for them to enjoy and meet the person they’ve been supporting and following.
How to approach a sponsor
Ok, now you have an idea of what you need and what you can offer, you need to make contact with the people who might be able to help you.
Most sponsorship seekers resort to email (much faster than letter writing, which is how I started out - to poor effect). You might get lucky, but it’s impersonal and lazy. Try harder.
A better option is to call. Make that personal connection, you can get your point across so much better on the phone than by email.
Even better, engineer a face to face meeting with the decision-maker at the company you want support from. Let them see your eyes shine, feel your passion for your project and give yourself the best possible chance to make an impact.
- Be patient.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure in return for something you don’t need.
- Ask yourself whether you actually need sponsorship for a particular piece of gear. It’s tempting to try and get everything for free but sometimes it’s not worth the effort. Be smart, don’t be a vulture.
- Rejection makes you stronger. Either you don’t have a strong enough idea for that sponsor, or your pitch was too weak. Work out what went wrong and build on your experience. (Most of all, LOVE the rejection! It makes success so much sweeter when someone finally does give you the thumbs up)
- Even if your expedition is a one-off for you, act like you’re building a long-term relationship. Work hard for anyone who helps you, love them, be loyal and appreciate what they’ve done for you.
Career adventurers succeed because they’ve found a way to offer true, sustainable and consistent value to their sponsors. Act like you’re a pro and you’ll be treated like one, even if this is a one-off.
Off you go now. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. But if you’d don’t think about what you’re asking for, the answer will probably be no.
Less than two weeks ago I rode my ICE Trike Sprint to the Inspired Cycle Engineering HQ in Falmouth, Cornwall to complete a tenth non-motorised journey of over 1000 miles.
It was arguably the most comfortable and peaceful of my endurance ventures to date and I think it would be quite lovely for other people to have the opportunity to travel by Trike, too.
So, with the help and support of ICE, my beloved Trikey is now preparing to be taken on several adventures this Summer, by YOU!
We’d like to keep Trikey in the UK, and secretly (well, not so secret now) we think it would be quite cool if he (or she, we’re not quite sure) could total up at least 1000 more miles before the Summer is out. Whether this is down to one people or ten, we don’t mind.
There is one definite: the first journey begins at the home of ICE, in Falmouth. You’ll have to get yourself down there to pick up the wheels (and the lovely people at ICE will give you some brief mechanical tips before you leave).
Send me your plan:
So, quite simply, if you’d like to have a little adventure on Trikey send me an email or a message on Facebook letting me know what you’d like to do, where you’d like to go and when you’d like to do it. Two days, one week, we don’t mind, as long as the adventure is cool and you’re up for sharing it on social media so it can inspire others to go on a journey.
And now the question is simple. Are you in?