To be frank, I’m doubtful the Cycling iQ blog is anywhere significant enough to even warrant this post but it’s important to me that new and regular readers understand where the future content they read comes from, as well as any connections the author (me) has to it.
Definitely not the Cycling iQ office… but the UCI’s HQ will soon be just down the road from work.
As noted already, Cycling iQ began in September 2011 after I decided to take an introspective break from the commercial side of the bicycle industry. Some of my favourite things – cycling, traveling, market research, analysis and reporting – were distilled into my most recent role (international market manager at BMC), which ultimately informed me that; 1) few media outlets were focused on road cycling in Asia, and; 2) the fragmented global retail landscape of the bicycle industry was highly topical but not well understood. This made me believe there was room for a dual-channel blog that attempted to at least partially fill some information gaps. [Cycling iQ was never about me, so it’s strange to be writing a personal post such as this].
A reasonable understanding of the bicycle industry lead to the ‘Vertical Limit‘ series, followed by articles about companies in the bicycle manufacturing sector. Though I already knew many of the larger factories by name, actually speaking with representatives involved research, countless overseas calls and emails. It was important to me that content was original and facts were obtained and/or corroborated from the source. In the following months, Cycling iQ was referenced by respected sites such as The Inner Ring, Bicycling, VeloNews, CyclingTips and Road, which made me believe the basic formula was sound.
The philosophy around original content also applied to the coverage of professional road cycling in Asia. I figured the best way to find out about these races was to go myself. As a new blogger with few media credentials, this meant burning through some savings. Attendance to my first race, Tour of Beijing, was self-funded, as were Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL was the first race to pay for my on-site costs, which I am still incredibly grateful for) and Tour de Taiwan. I emailed or called other race organizers to see what assistance they could offer and became accustomed to receiving responses along the lines of “we have no budget for foreign media”. To be fair, any race organizer would be right to question what exposure a blogger in Australia could possibly give to a UCI2.2 stage race in Asia.
During my travels on the UCI AsiaTour circuit, I quickly learnt the value of good media contacts. It was through such a contact that I received an invite to be Tour de Korea’s official reporter in April 2012. Not only would my costs be covered, but I would be paid a small wage! On arrival into Seoul, I received a loaner Samsung Galaxy tablet and 4G network card so I could tweet and blog 24/7. Paradise! Not long after Tour de Korea, I was invited to perform a similar role at Tour of Chongming Island and Chongming Island World Cup. A certain momentum was developing and Tour de Singkarak was the next race to invite me along, but it clashed with another appointment. This brings me to the behind-the-scene changes mentioned above.
As a by-product of Cycling iQ’s scope I’d been keeping a constant eye on the bicycle industry job market, but knew a rare combination of factors would be needed before I personally leapt into a permanent role. Without going into unnecessary details, a casual conversation commenced a great dialogue, which led to an unmissable professional and personal opportunity. As of August 1 this year, I will begin working for Scott Sports based in Switzerland.
Most readers will immediately recognize the complications of working for a global bicycle brand whilst writing about the bicycle industry. I know that many bicycle industry insiders have found the market information presented in Cycling iQ articles quite useful. It also takes much time to research and compose the type of industry articles I enjoy writing. This could be called the ‘price of market intelligence’; on the one hand, market data is very valuable to brands and interesting to readers; on the other hand, it gives me less time to write about pro cycling in Asia.
Ultimately, I’ve decided the best way to avoid any perceived conflict of interest in future is to stop producing brand- and market-specific industry content before starting my new job. All current content will remain available as a resource. Cycling iQ will continue as a source for information on the people and places of the Asia-Pacific cycling scene, with a particular focus on the UCI AsiaTour. Better yet, I hope a regular salary will allow me to pay for more great images from people like Sonoko Tanaka, Aaron Lee and Mike Mokhriz. There will be less regular spare time for writing, but I’m optimistic this will result in the most interesting content floating to the top.
A huge thank you to all regular readers and visitors to Cycling iQ. It’s immensely rewarding to log in each morning and see so many different nationalities have visited the site. Special thanks to anyone who has referred readers or friends to Cycling iQ. Though I’m a little disappointed that lengthy industry-analysis pieces will no longer be a regular feature in future, the previous nine months have already been instrumental in informing me that the growing sport of cycling in Asia is a far more interesting (and accessible) area to write about. I hope you will continue to enjoy learning about it with me.
I’ve long suspected you of being a replicant, given your superhuman work ethic, so it seems appropriate to reference Blade Runner at this point: “the candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long”. Good luck with the next project.
Many thanks, Rob. Don’t rush back from Europe – would be great to get in some rides with you.
Thanks for the excellent work Cam. Will miss the industry insider stories, but you never know what the future might hold.
Best of luck with the new job, no doubt it will be as big a success as the blog has been.
Cheers for being a significant part of the racing coverage Nick! Would be nice to think Cycling iQ could get more post-stage quotes from you again in the future.
Congratulations. I very much enjoyed the Vertical Limit series and will miss the market intelligence pieces you wrote. Enjoy Switzerland. I’ve lived here for about 9 years, it’s a great place to live, work and ride a bike.
Thanks, Greg. As a New Zealander, I suspect the outdoors of Switzerland will be a great fit! Your support of Cycling iQ is greatly appreciated.
Ah ha, I knew there was something in the works and wish you all the best in your next step.
You’re never far from industry news, Christopher! Drop me a line anytime you’re back in the EU zone.
2nd Greg’s comments above. Vertical Limit read like quality docu-drama to me. It explained a lot, particularly the fracturing of wholesale/retail chain, increase in quality, drop in prices …
All the best in your next job move, and thanks!
Thanks Paul, I especially appreciate your support from the beginning. It may take a few months to settle into a new rhythm, but I hope you will still find future content of interest.
I’ve enjoyed reading your articles over the last few months, Cam, and will still look forward to the race reports.
All the best with your new position, I’m sure I’ll see you around somewhere!
Many thanks, Zac. It will be great to catch up; maybe at Eurobike? Otherwise, I hope to see you when I’m next in Japan.
Very much enjoyed your erudite writing Cam. There will be a big bike industry knowledge shaped gap out there for someone to fill in your absence. All the best to you in your new position.
It’s been great to have your company almost from the beginning, Simeon. Thanks a lot for your kind words.
Thats a bit further to travel to have a chat! Good luck and well done Cam.
Congrats on your new job. Enjoyed reading the blog – its been spot on. Hope to still see you as a regular visitor to China in the new role.
Thanks a lot Shannon. I expect to be in China regularly in the future – really looking forward to seeing you and your new bike space venture.
Bit late to comment, but I’ll add to the sentiment. A fascinating, insightful and slightly peculiar take on the cycling industry that I have enjoyed very much. Best of luck in Geneva and keep paying the domain fees!
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I just found your blog reading up on Taiwanese bicycle companies. Man was the information valuable. Now after reading for a few hours I came to this post… Sad to read that there won’t be more articles about the industry. Glad to hear that you ended up with a new job in the industry given the somewhat jaded feeling I got reading your texts about the industry.
Hi Eddie, thanks a lot for dropping by and also for your comments. I’m really happy to know that you’ve found the information here useful. While the industry articles stopped more than one year ago, I still occasionally post some quick facts/stats on Twitter. I would also highly recommend bike-eu.com and bicycleretailer.co; both of whom have their fingers on the pulse with good industry data. Cheers, Cam
I found Cycling IQ some months ago but I would like to thank you now for your amazing work with this ! I really love your section “Business”, it helps me to understand some things. Please continue posting news 😉 Cheers from Spain
Thanks a lot Andres!
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