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Commuter cycling and advertising: some initial thoughts

1 behoovingmoving bike Blog Posts Brisbane Bike Share cycling Europeana Giant Harriet Walker IWM Real Riders Spoke Media urban cycling

I was intrigued by this Giant video "Giant Real Riders Sponsorships 2011 (thanks to @behoovingmoving  for the link)

The video tell us that Giant will sponsor 30 "real riders"with a contract, brand new bike and all the gear"(0:32-0:35). Unfortunately, the  Real Riders website was down so I couldn't pursue this further to get a better understanding of what that sponsorship would mean. Hopefully it will come back up soon.

On the same day I came across Spoke Media , a Melbourne start up commuter bicycle advertising complany that "creates shared value by connecing sustainable
advertising wtih riders cycling around Melbourne."(from their website) The premise is that an ordinary cyclist can advertise businesses on their bikes via what appear to be plastic discs which are attached to the spokes. Advertising stickers are then attached to the disks. After an initial inquiry I discovered that the types of buisnessess which will be promoted include Bicycle Victoria, The Cycling Promotion Fund, and other community businesses with a cause of sorts.

This is encouraging to know as, while I am quite fond of the colour of the advertising materials on the Brisbane Bike Share system,


I wouldn't necessarily consider promoting commercial companies (not the brands I might be wearing or the bike brand) while I was cycling. (although having said that, that is exactly what Giant are hoping for....) 

I wrote an article for Anthilll magazine earlier this year where I asked whether urban cycling was a movement, a market or both  In this article I offered a few examples of bikes, clothing, events and bloggers who are engaged in providing services and/or promoting events related to urban cycling. Both Spoke Media and Giant seem to be tapping into this market in innovative ways. Giant, being such a large organisation, can appeal to one's desire to be seen as valuable (we could be sponsored by an internatioanl company) while the other appeals to our desire to engage and contribute to a worth cause in a proactive way  (I cycle and advertise Can Too (Cure Cancer Australia). Interestingly, Spoke Media are also offering reimbursement for participation. I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

Over the past few months I've been working through different ideas and trying to understand the breadth of discussion around the field. Obviously, as we are about to launch our range I am keen to understand how and where to position products. More than that though, I've been promising myself to start a Masters in Marketing for over a year now. The more I write on this blog, the more I convince myself that it can be possible to use urban cycling as a test site for the research!!

Earlier this year I featured an article by the Independent's journalist Harriet Walker in a blog posting where I compared two approaches to women and cycling

Of course, not all advertising is for the everyday women and indeed, a short look back in history reveals a few lovely examples of appealing to the "real rider

Here are some examples I sourced from Europeana

The Alert Cycle 

Advertising The New Cycle Co. Lo. - a new women's bike

Fisher & Co Cycling Store advertisement for the young working men


The Quadrant Cycle Co. Birmingham where men and women are shown riding together


and my favourite

Imperial War Museum. A recruiting and transport poster - Äre you fond of cycling?


Any thoughts or links most appreciated!

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