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Governing body also launches search for Britain's Biggest Cycling Fan...

From today, supporters of the country’s top cyclists are being given the opportunity to become an official British Cycling Fan which the governing body says offers “unrivalled access” to the national team.  

The new fan membership would appear to be an attempt to get armchair cycling fans off the sofa and in to the velodrome if not actually on to bikes.

Costing £20 a year, the package includes priority booking for top events including the Track World Cup and exclusive access to Great Britain Cycling Team training sessions, as well as discounted travel to events and “money-can’t-buy” competition prizes.

People signing up - which you can do through the British Cycling website - will also receive a welcome pack, a monthly email, breaking news, a fan card and pin badge, discounts on magazines and tailored digital downloads.

To underline the star power at its disposal British Cycling wheeled out Sir Chris Hoy and Olympic triple jump gold medallist turned TV presenter, Jonathan Edwards to help announce the new membership.

Six-time Olympic champion, Sir Chris Hoy, said: "Racing and winning in front of a home crowd is the greatest experience that any athlete could ever dream of. British fans are amongst the most passionate in the world and cycling is a sport that we’re really excelling at.

"The launch of British Cycling Fan is an acknowledgement that the sport is now mainstream and in an incredibly exciting place. Ahead of another great summer I’d encourage as many fans as possible to join us and show their support for our incredible sport.”

The first fan to sign up is another Olympic gold medal winner - former triple jumper Jonathan Edwards, who now presents sports, including cycling, for the BBC.

Edwards said: “I’ve loved watching the outstanding successes of our British cyclists over the last few years. As a fan of cycling, I am really looking forward to showing my support this summer and getting behind the team. I’ll be watching from the sidelines and cheering loudly for our heroes as they cross the line!”

British Cycling also said that it is looking to find Britain’s Best Cycling Fan - with the winner receiving an "an ultimate fan experience package" during September'sTour of Britain.

It says: "Cycling enthusiasts are being asked to tell British Cycling just why they are Britain’s Best Cycling Fan. The best stories and personalities will be featured on British Cycling’s website and social media channels with monthly prize draws throughout the summer as the cycling fan community builds."

Sky’s ongoing sponsorship deal with British Cycling was extended for a further four years two years ago to take it through to 2016, focusing not just on backing elite athletes through the national squad and Team Sky, but also grassroots initiatives such as Go Ride and Sky Ride. However, all good things come to an end eventually and 2016 is now just 18 months away. Today's initiative can be viewed as part of a strategy to ensure that if the relationship with Sky does end the organisation won't be left with a massive funding gap to fill. 

With British Cycling’s membership booming it would also seem to make sense for the governing body to look for ways to capitalise on the kudos and raised profile the orgnaisation has enjoyed amongst sports fans over the past few years - due to the exploits of British riders on road and track.

The launch of the new Fan Membership is timed to coincide with growing interest in cycling with the Grand Départ of the Tour de France a little over a fortnight away to be followed by the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Tour of Britain in September.

It is perhaps surprising that the organisation has taken until now to launch the initiative, given the huge support for the country’s cyclists at London 2012 and the rapport its elite riders enjoy with the sporting public in general; three cyclists – Sir Chris Hoy, Mark Cavendish, and Sir Bradley Wiggins – have won BBC Sports Personality of the year since 2008.

One of the big draws of the membership package will no doubt be the priority ticket allocation for the annual British round of the Track World Cup, which plays each year to a packed house, and London will also be hosting the Track World Championships in 2016.

Only time will tell if the lure of priority tickets for these events will prove a draw - it may well be that the fans most likely to take up British Cycling's new membership are those who already flock to the velodromes in London and Manchester for headline events. If that isn't the case, and Fan Membership takes off some of the existing audience for track cycling events may find themselves displaced.

We asked British Cycling whether there are any plans for priority ticketing for such events to existing members, as has happened in the past, or if people will have to take out the new fan membership to benefit from it.

A spokesman told us: "Yes, existing members have access to all the Fan benefits, except the pin badge, through their British Cycling member dashboards, which is being updated now."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

11 comments

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VeloPeo [300 posts] 1 year ago
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Would be great to get some clarity on that last para. BC members have always had priority tickets for track nationals, world cup events etc

Will not be a happy camper if that's taken away. Would hope that this is effectively a new BC membership category for those that don't cycle - rather than something extra existing members will have to buy to retain priority ticketing.

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usedtobefaster [152 posts] 1 year ago
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VeloPeo wrote:

Would be great to get some clarity on that last para. BC members have always had priority tickets for track nationals, world cup events etc

Will not be a happy camper if that's taken away. Would hope that this is effectively a new BC membership category for those that don't cycle - rather than something extra existing members will have to buy to retain priority ticketing.

+1

The way this is worded I suspect it's an add on that existing members will have to buy if they want to maintain priority access ... disappointing if this is the case.

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Ordinary Cyclin... [29 posts] 1 year ago
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What a great initiative this is! I'll be signing up for sure. I hope it's also to include access to women's cycling events too.

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sean1 [175 posts] 1 year ago
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I think this is just a new membership category, same as Ride membership but without the liability insurance.

So it is a membership option for people who don't ride bikes, but who are keen on following the British team.

As far as I can tell from BC website, priority booking will be the same for all membership classes, as before.

http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/membership

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VeloPeo [300 posts] 1 year ago
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Yes it will - Tweeted BC and got this response

@BritishCycling

Existing members have access to all the Fan benefits, except the pin badge, through their member dashboards, to be updated shortly

Good news - minor panic over  1

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Notsofast [95 posts] 1 year ago
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Or for people with CTC membership instead of BC that want to go to cycling events, I'm in.

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Awavey [105 posts] 1 year ago
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apols just curious but is there any reason why you hadnt joined BC before then?

AFAICT this fan membership deal is virtually equivalent to the bronze level ride membership thats always been there, same cost at least, same ticket priority deals, though you get the insurance on the ride membership and a race licence which fair enough may have made people think you couldnt join unless you raced.

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Al__S [957 posts] 1 year ago
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Saw complaints about booking and card fees for the Revolution series. On top of the face value of the tickets, they're charging £4.50 booking fee per ticket plus a £2.50 transaction fee (so eg for one ticket, £7.00, two tickets £11.50 etc).

Maybe British Cycling could encourage promoters not to pull stunts like that? There'd be far less complaints if the tickets were just more expensive face value...

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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Al__S wrote:

Saw complaints about booking and card fees for the Revolution series. On top of the face value of the tickets, they're charging £4.50 booking fee per ticket plus a £2.50 transaction fee (so eg for one ticket, £7.00, two tickets £11.50 etc).

Maybe British Cycling could encourage promoters not to pull stunts like that? There'd be far less complaints if the tickets were just more expensive face value...

Revolution isn't organised by British Cycling but by the Face Partnership I think. The booking fees would have been set and charged by Quay Tickets in the past and going forward it will be See Tickets, you can't expect a ticket agency to sell the tickets, print the tickets, post them out, deal with any complaints, handle the customer services side of it and not cover their costs.

Those fees seem somewhat ridiculous though.

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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See Tickets appear to be charging 10% booking fees plus delivery which seems reasonable to me. I'm positive Quay were the same.

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Chris James [363 posts] 1 year ago
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Awavey wrote:

apols just curious but is there any reason why you hadnt joined BC before then?

AFAICT this fan membership deal is virtually equivalent to the bronze level ride membership thats always been there, same cost at least, same ticket priority deals, though you get the insurance on the ride membership and a race licence which fair enough may have made people think you couldnt join unless you raced.

You don't get insurance for the bronze membership, only the silver and gold. These are all 'race' memberships. The 'ride' membership does give you insurance, but not a race licence.

I am a member of the CTC and BC (bronze). Silver race and CTC membership are the same price, but you get a magazine with the CTC. BC give you very little, except a provisional licence which can be used for cyclocross but it useless for
road racing (you need at least silver membership to be able to buy the full race licence).