Cyclocross, or ‘Cx’. One of the craziest and exciting forms of cycling and bicycle racing imaginable. If you’ve never seen it, imagine taking a bicycle more suited to road riding, and putting it on the most obstacle laden course you can find. Make sure that there are plenty of roots, rocks, and tight turns as well as cold rain and mud. And if that’s not enough, make sure that the courses have hurdles that you have to carry your bike over (unless you are exceptionally skilled) and hill climbs that you can’t ride.
Not only is the racing exciting but no two races are ever alike. As well, the people that are involved and riding tend to be great and very positive, and the sport is too. In years of being involved in sport, you’ll never seen one quite as welcoming of people from any conceivable background or skill level – with the only requirement being that you want to be there.
This is somewhat ironic as it does seem that the vast majority of racers arrive claiming they aren’t looking forward to the race and that they hate it, only to finish covered in mud, often battered, and sometimes with broken bikes, elated and exclaiming it’s the most fun thing they’ve ever done! It’s no wonder it’s currently the fastest growing area of cycling. But what does this have to do with business success?
Cyclocross is a grassroots sport, and though many of the races are only supported by a few key businesses, some of them receive huge support from various businesses in both sponsorship and presence, with many of these not even being directly related to cycling at all. What’s really amazing though, from a spectators standpoint; you see these sponsoring businesses and remember them because they’re so rare (and many of us don’t often pay attention to sponsors these days). But like the sport itself, you can see the welcome and support of the sponsors, and remember them for it.
You’ll remember the helmet manufacturers, the bicycle shops, and the bicycle component makers. But also the non-cycling businesses; the snack bar company, the hat company, etc…
Not only that, but there are dozens of photographers going to Cyclocross races and all these sponsors tents and banners wind up in the photos that are then shared and seen on social media – not only by the racers, but the uninvolved friends of the racers. This means extra exposure and visibility.
One of the trickiest things to do as a business, especially a small one or a start-up is to get the word out and be visible. Consider for a moment the possibility of getting involved in a local sport, social activity, or any event where you can take part and support it. You get direct visibility and if you can be present, you get direct contact to meet and talk to your customers. In a business world where everything is going online and remote, personal contact can be a memorable and powerful key to success – one which is often overlooked.
And if you get involved in an event that has little to no support otherwise, you will have little if any competition, and people will remember you for caring enough about them and what they are doing. That memory will inevitably pop up when those people are shopping for what you sell.