Editors Note: This is another post in an ongoing ‘how to’ series. Also see ‘How to: Ride Your First 100 Miler‘
There are several really useful benefits to getting sponsored. And you don’t have to be Lance Armstrong or Chris Eatough to attract sponsorship opportunities. It is actually quite easy. All you have to do is ask.
1) Ask, ask, ask. But don’t beg. Many companies within the bike industry already have sponsorship inquiry links on their websites. Click those links and go from there. You will usually be asked to submit a resume, a schedule, past results, and a little about yourself.
2) Prepare an easy to read resume. A resume doesn’t have to be fancy, or even all that impressive. What companies want to know is how often you are out competing, which races, where you live, what you can offer to cycling beyond racing, and will you be willing to talk up their products.
3) Pursue products you want to use. You probably have a frame or a set of lights, or a GPS, or some other piece of gear you are currently lusting after. Look into being sponsored by the group that produces that gear. Being sponsored by companies whose products you actually believe in, and use, is important.
4) Be Reasonable. Getting a free bike, or free anything is not always realistic. I have found that industry companies are as generous as they can be. And for the most part, that is very generous. They want to spread the word about their product, and get athletes using it. Work with them to get this done. But don’t expect a free ride.
5) Blog. It seems that everyone in the world has a blog. And that is cool. I love blogging. And the bike industry loves bloggers. In fact, I’d say that the bike industry is one of the most active online communities in the world. A blog with a few people reading it means organic exposure for your sponsors. Display their logos, link to their sites, and talk up the products you use on your blog.
6) Ask, ask, ask. Yes, I am repeating step 1. Ask. the very worst that can happen when you ask someone to help you out with your riding is that they answer no. You won’t be made fun of, you won’t lose your bike, and you won’t be blacklisted. Just ask. You will be surprised at what you can get, when you simply ask.
Over the last couple of seasons I have gotten to know the guys behind the products I use. And they are really cool people. They are just riders who love to ride, love to create innovative cycling gear, and love to get out and share their adventures. One great example are the folks at Princeton Tec. Check out the shenanigans of Living on the Dash.
This is a great time of year to start researching potential sponsors, polishing your resume, and planning your 2009 schedule. Most companies accept inquiries in the fall, so be prepared and good luck!
And remember, the Princeton Tec Swerve contest is going on all week, just drop a comment to be entered into the drawing.