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Dear CyclingTips readers,
Five years ago, we embarked on a mission to change how women’s cycling was covered. It took over a year of research, planning, consultation with industry partners, collaboration with experts, interviewing and hiring additional staff members, and then hundreds of thousands of dollars spent.
We launched. We tried. We adapted. We kept trying. We eventually had to pull back.
Nine times out of 10, when the CyclingTips team does something we all agree is amazing or important, the business side of things takes care of itself. This is what we trusted when we created Ella. We wanted to tell amazing and inspiring stories about women’s cycling, cover the women’s race scene, and bring to life the stories that never got told. There was definitely a gap in the market, but was there a market in the gap? We wanted to explore that.
Unfortunately, this is one case where the business did not follow. We were spending an unaffordable amount of time, effort and money without seeing sufficient advertising support we needed to sustain it.
From a commercial perspective, it was not feasible to keep pouring money into the content we were producing on a regular basis for Ella. The survival of online media businesses depends on metrics like pageviews and clicks, and that did not stack up with the fantastic coverage that Ella was providing. Most times women’s cycling coverage gets 1/10th of the traffic men’s cycling does, and costs much more to produce. This makes absolutely no sense for any sane business. But there is no metric for how meaningful and important a page view is for each of you. That’s what we need to change.
The whole experience frustrated me, it angered me, and it disappointed me. The hardest part is that I’m not even sure who to direct these emotions at. Ultimately, it’s pure and simple market forces at play. If we had the sheer number of readers and the engagement that meant advertisers couldn’t look away, we’d be in a good spot right now.
But we’re not giving up.
As we continuously re-evaluate our coverage of women’s cycling, we still feel there’s a way to make it work. And this is why we need your help.
Why coverage in women’s cycling is important
There are countless amazing stories that come out of women’s cycling that aren’t being told. To tell them, we need to go actively looking for them. We need an ear to the ground. We need reporters on that beat.
We’re not striving for better women’s cycling to be politically correct. We’re doing it because it’s important and valuable to the community, to the riders, and to who they inspire.
There is relatively little impact left to make in men’s cycling, but there is an enormous voice missing from half of our population.
What’s going to change
Since Ella was an advertiser-supported model, we needed to make sure we attracted a new audience (we couldn’t just attract the same audience we have and expect for it to pay for itself – it doesn’t work like that). But attracting a new audience and giving advertisers value required us to create a separate entity (which we called Ella – aka ‘her’ CyclingTips).
With a member-driven model, we will incorporate all our women’s cycling coverage under one masthead and not have any segregation whatsoever. We will cover the racing, the personalities, the issues and topics at hand. And we’ll be doing this at the level of quality you’d expect from CyclingTips.
What your support will help us achieve
We want to produce the breadth and depth of coverage women’s cycling deserves, and by joining as a VeloClub member you’ll be directly assisting us with that goal. Our target is 1,000 new members.
- At 250 new members, we’ll be able to launch a new weekly women’s cycling podcast.
- At 700 new members, we’ll produce on-the-ground coverage from the biggest women’s races, including the Classics, Giro Rosa, La Course, and the World Championships.
- Hitting our target of 1,000 new members will allow us to have year-round editorial coverage by hiring dedicated staff. That means hundreds of content pieces — the best news and reportage, feature writing, behind-the-scenes stories, profile interviews, and more.
Why membership will allow this to happen
Membership is a way for you to support our coverage of women’s cycling directly. Under this model, we’re not selling your attention to advertisers, we’re working for you directly. We no longer need to justify a particular type of content’s worth with pageviews and traffic vanity metrics. If we work for you, the readers who are passionate about this, we can bring top-notch coverage back to life, together.
I believe that a good story is a good story, no matter what gender, race, nationality etc. There are still many challenges that we need to break through, but with your support we can get there.
Let’s change this together and make a difference.