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US-based Team Traveller seeks support for European spin-off set up by Britain's James Stout...

A US-based amateur cycling team that is expanding internationally has turned to a crowdfunding website in an attempt to raise backing for its elite riders during the 2012 season. Initially, Team Traveller is looking to raise £6,000 through the website PleaseFundUs.

Founded in Lexington, Virginia, next season Team Traveller will be racing not only in the US, but will also have a squad based in Europe that will compete in countries including Great Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and Spain, plus an Australian team riding in Victoria and New South Wales.

On its page on PleaseFundUs, the team says it has “taken on several ex professional cyclists who have been cut from cycling teams without notice due to “financial issues.’

“We believe this isn't right or fair.

“We want to form a team which overcomes the transience of the pro cycling scene and provides a nurturing home for talent from around the world.

“To this end we have riders from the UK, Spain, Columbia, Moldova and Belarus. These guys wouldn’t normally get the opportunities we want to give them, but they deserve them.”

One of those riders is British cyclist and diabetic James Stout, formerly with Team Type 1, who has helped set up the European side of the team, and who talks about some of his own plans for the coming year on his Insulin and Embrocation blog.

Team Traveller from Sam Theurer on Vimeo.

The team admits that the £6,000 it is looking for via PleaseFundUs is a drop in the ocean compared to what it actually needs (its published budget for 2012 is around $150,000), but will help get the elite team up and running.

£4,000 of that will go on bikes (net of what is described as “a great sponsor deal”), £500 on licences and £1,000 on kits – Team Traveller’s zebra print outfits being inspired by those worn by Mario Cipollini while with Domina Vacanze.

There are incentives to get involved, too – a donation of £20 or more will get you a pair of gloves or socks and a social media shout-out, while £100 gets you a jersey, all the way up to £5,000 which gets you sponsorship space on the jersey plus rides and other events with the team.

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.

6 comments

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 4 years ago
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I'd be more inclined to donate enough for a jersey if the jersey in question was a nicer design - who wants to look like a zebra?!

Best of luck though - I might still donate a bit.

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a.jumper [846 posts] 4 years ago
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Sorry: no say, no money. They should consider a fan-owned model like Exeter City FC, Ebbsfleet or most cricket or rugby union clubs.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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I was waiting for others to post because i didn't want to be shot down in flames, lol

I think this is the wrong route to go down, Crowd Funding worked really well from getting The Bicycle Academy but to say that £4000 on bikes and £1000 on kit? the figures just don't add up :s To get a couple of decent bikes may take 4k but to kit 2 riders out for them surely aint going to take a grand?

I like the idea of Crowd funding until i see things like this which seem to be abusing it in my eyes, If they need $150,000 to run for 2012, i fail to see that not having £6000 from people is going to make a big different, do they have the rest already secured?

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jamesstout [3 posts] 4 years ago
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Thanks for the write up lads;
I'd like to put a few things straight; first up, our kit is straight up cool, if you dress like a prick you've got to go fast or you look like a real lemon!

As for fan ownership, the fans are stakeholders. we're committed to listening to our donors but it's pretty hard to give them a say in everything we do. DO you really want to pick the squad for every race, make decisions about who goes for the overall and who for stage wins, when we ride and when we watch? there are such a high volume of decisions to be made that it's unworkable. Maybe we could use a site poll to decide when to attack?;) we aim to increase participation by having riders stay with fans, by having fans join us training and with a documentary film project we've signed up for. That said if you have ideas. Jamesstout [at] teamtraveller.com

and finally as for the costs - those aren't bikes we're BUYING that's the cost of shipping stuff into the USA from sponsors, covering import/export taxes etc. Likewise kits - we want to feature all our sponsors on the kits, like the simonstrong bike, but that kind of print design ain't cheap!

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Cammy [5 posts] 4 years ago
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Let's face it we all go out wearing lycra all year; and in the eyes of Joe Public that's weird enough as it is. So why not have a little fun with it!

I'm looking forward to my travels with the UK contingent!  4

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a.jumper [846 posts] 4 years ago
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jamesstout wrote:

As for fan ownership, the fans are stakeholders. we're committed to listening to our donors but it's pretty hard to give them a say in everything we do. DO you really want to pick the squad for every race, make decisions about who goes for the overall and who for stage wins, when we ride and when we watch? there are such a high volume of decisions to be made that it's unworkable. Maybe we could use a site poll to decide when to attack?;)

Well, that's the same sort of rubbish that opponents of fan-owned football clubs come out with. Tosh about "stakeholders" and absurd suggestions of how fan-owned teams work. Then they go and sell the team to someone else and fans usually get the short straw.

In reality, there are many possible solutions, including the representative democracy of Exeter City, Barcelona, Real Madrid and so on, or you can be a bit more radical like Ebbsfleet United are trying. In all of those models, there are the usual staff making the high volume of decisions. I don't know if http://www.supporters-direct.org/ can help with cycling like they do football and rugby.