How To Get Sponsorship For Your Cycle Tour

When planning an extended cycle tour, many people go in search of corporate sponsorship. Some come back empty-handed. Some are successful. But let’s be realistic: In the world of expeditions and corporate sponsorship, bike trips are small fry.

Having said that, if I want to (and only if), I can now comfortably rely on getting whatever equipment I need for my trips either at a big discount or free of charge, in return for providing publicity and/or feedback to people whose good work and principles I believe in.

By sharing the lessons I’ve learnt to get to this point, I hope that you will be better placed to decide if sponsorship is for you, and – if you decide it is – to increase your chances of success.

Northern California coastline

Before deciding whether or not to pursue sponsorship for your trip, you need to decide whether your time would be better spent working in a full-time job to earn the equivalent amount of money.

There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t look for sponsorship for your cycle tour.

If you don’t yet have an impressive and obvious track-record of successful projects, seeking sponsorship is an intensely time-consuming, frustrating and regularly disappointing process, for which you will need skin like old boot leather, the persistence of black shower mould and absolutely no hobbies or significant others to attend to.

Whether or not you’ve got a head-start, you’ll still need these Key Ingredients:

  1. At least one (big) Unique Selling Point,
  2. To convince the sponsoring company that they are going to benefit from their involvement,
  3. To all but guarantee that you can follow through with your plan, or at least be very convincing,
  4. To be able to select appropriate outfits to approach,
  5. To strike the right balance of cheek, luck, credibility, persistence and enthusiasm.

Let’s have a look at these points in a little more detail.

1. The Unique Selling Point (USP)

This is taken directly from Marketing 101. If you are planning to simply cycle round the world for the sake of it, no matter how noble an idea that is, you would be lucky to find someone willing to help you. You are just another round-the-world bicycle ride, of which there have been hundreds – why would people take special notice of you? What’s the hook?

If you are motivated towards a charity fund-raising effort and have got yourself some media coverage, things are getting a little more interesting, but probably not interesting enough. What really sets apart the successful, high-profile expeditions is a unique objective or twist to the tale. An Aussie cyclist wanted to bike solo across the three great uninhabited deserts of Australia. Englishman Craig Hughes cycled through Northern Europe visiting towns whose names began with each letter of the alphabet. Scotsman Marc Beaumont decided to break the world record. And so on.

I had one unique objective to my original journey – to make a feature film about a full-on life-changing journey of many years. A real, personal, human tale, not an extreme sport or travel documentary. No such thing, to my knowledge, had been published. (It has now, though, and you can watch the trailer here!)

'Janapar' Private Screening at the Royal Geographical Society, London

This, however, is where the strings can start attaching themselves. If you’re selling your project on a high concept and grand goal, the investment of your sponsors makes the commitment reach further than your personal motivations alone. If what you want is flexibility, the ability to change plans on a whim and to travel entirely on your own terms, you’re probably best off funding yourself, or finding some very laid-back supporters.

2. The Sponsors’ Benefits

This is the primary thing that a potential sponsor will assess, generosity and goodwill aside. How will the company benefit from involvement with your trip? With my trip, the answer was obvious – the sponsored product would appear in the film, which was likely to reach a wider audience than the website alone. This wasn’t a fail-safe card to play, though – many companies were unable to see the long-term benefits of this, or had too little faith that it would actually come to fruition. Every company takes this kind of risk when they enter into sponsorship.

I demonstrated my commitment to publicising our expedition well in advance of the trip. My expedition partner at the time and I spent a lot of time researching and writing press releases, making media contacts and getting our plans published in as many places as possible – local newspapers, radio interviews, the BBC website, Adventure Cycling magazine, and many more local and national outlets. Our crowning achievement was a 5-minute slot at the end of the regional BBC 6 o’clock news bulletin a few days before we left for the UK!

We also built a comprehensive website, and the effectiveness of this can’t be understated at the time of proposal. Since then, my sponsors have benefitted from having their products feature throughout the ongoing narrative that has unfolded since then, and having been reviewed (in most cases positively) on my popular equipment pages which draw a great deal of search-engine traffic.

What else can a company gain from your project, other than brand association through media outlets? Well, you can give them something to use themselves. We proposed to all our sponsors that we would send them expedition updates by email, including the story so far, links to photo resources and information about publicity that we’d had on the way. Many of them use this material in their own publicity – it’s great reading material for potential customers, as it’s essentially a compelling human story amidst a lot of shiny bits of metal.

Extrawheel by the ger

Some companies will also be interested in you from a product-development perspective. If you are happy to test prototypes to destruction and provide feedback, as we’ve done with fringe bike-trailer makers Extrawheel, you become part of an R&D effort as well as a brand ambassador. It’s been rewarding to see the progression of Extrawheel’s trailer design and the effect our input has had.

3. Proving Yourself

We had no history of daredevil expeditions to show to potential sponsors. For this reason, early attempts were met with doubt. We had to rely on enthusiasm and well-informed dialogue to get the ball-rolling. Our months of research into every aspect of cycle-touring came in very useful, as we were able to show that we knew what we were in for, and that we knew what we wanted.

If you have successfully completed such projects in the past, then you have a nice head-start. But approaching a company with such a plan, with no previous experience, will sound ludicrous. It’s essential that if you reach the second stage and receive an interested response, you know what you’re talking about. You need to know exactly what you want from the company.

When we were talking with Kona, they were impressed and reassured that, for example, we asked for 8-speed cassettes rather than 9-speed, steel frames, and 26-inch wheels, and explained why in each case. We also elaborated on our route ideas. In reality, we had no idea what we were in for! But the important thing was confidence and preparation.

Small details like this are important to convince your potential sponsor that you know what you’re doing, and that you’re going to follow through with your plans. Again, having some good media exposure at this stage will also help, because the more people know about your plans, the less space you’ll have to suddenly change them (although it can be done, as we hopefully demonstrated and justified).

A well-designed website helped us a lot; this was a regular focus for positive comments. It was often the first port-of-call for marketing managers reading our emails, and displaying already-secured sponsors’ logos consolidated our legitimacy no end.

There a certain inertia to the process – once one established name is on board, others will follow. We approached Wheels4Life and The Wilderness Foundation with our plans, and set up a stall at One Life Live, a ‘new beginnings’ exhibition in Earls’ Court, London. That’s when things really started happening.

4. Choosing Sponsors

Some companies care about cycling, or outdoor expeditions, or whatever their field of business is; and community-fostering and social involvement. Others care more about profit margins. You will quickly learn which category a company falls into. Generally, the bigger the company, the more the swing towards the latter will be. Research specialist cycle stores and then use this knowledge to your advantage.

As well as this, before you carpet-bomb the corporate world with proposals, think very hard about each company you contact. If you’re sending out emails, then you have one chance alone to make an impact. You might as well expend this energy contacting a smaller number of companies that you would truly like to see involved with your expedition, and who really have the product that you desire, rather than sending carbon copies to thousands of companies who might fall under some industry related to your trip. The frenzy of ‘free stuff’ can initially be difficult to ignore, but do you really want a glow-in-the-dark saddle that you’re never going to use?

There is an ethical dilemma here as well. I was loathe to be associated with some of the companies that we considered contacting. So we didn’t contact them. Even if Halfords, the likes of whom have put countless local bike shops out of business, had wanted to sponsor us, I would rather be promoting a smaller, more focused company who invested real human passion in their work, like the wheelbuilders at the family-run Leisure Lakes Bikes. We also focused on companies who showed their commitment to good ethics and social activism, such as Kona with the Kona Bike Town and AfricaBike schemes.

There is a balance to strike here between this ideal and the reality – all companies need to make money somehow. You’re going to help them do this.

Sleeping under the Saharan stars

The essential thing is building relationships on a personal level.  This means making contacts and approaching real people, rather than ‘info-at’ email addresses. Just talking to people about our ideas led to pretty much all of our sponsorship, directly or indirectly. In contrast, the endless hours – days – of sending emails were pretty fruitless. It is far more rewarding to be personally in contact with a company director, and it leads to far more reciprocal benefits on both sides.

5. Serendipity

It’s often said that there are forces beyond our understanding that drive the world. The truth is not supernatural – it’s a fact that human beings are innately altruistic towards those with whom they empathise, and that people are now connected by far fewer links than we would normally suppose. Word gets around faster than you imagine.

With that in mind, consider meeting a) someone who was trying desperately hard to get as much free equipment as possible, or b) someone whose life’s dream was to cycle round the world, and who wasn’t afraid to enthuse about making this dream happen. Who would you rather help?

Example 1: By the end of 2006 I had dedicated my existence to making my dream reality, telling everyone I met about my plans and showing uninhibited how enthused and excited I was. Quite unexpected things began to happen.

Whilst working in the French Alps that December, I met a man who held a top role at the WWF conservation NGO, and his family. He was so impressed by my plan that he invited me to visit the WWF HQ near Geneva, Switzerland, to talk about the expedition.

Just before I went there, he called me to tell me that he’d been on the plane recently and had got chatting about my plans to the guy next to him, who happened to be the boss of the European branch of Kona Bikes, and did I want to meet him? (Yes!)

In Switzerland, we sat in the sun and chatted for the afternoon about it all. I returned to England with the promise of anything I needed from the current Kona range, and a variety of film-related ideas with konaworld.tv as well.

All because I talked to a stranger about my ideas. You never know who’s listening.

Talk to everyone, no matter what you think will happen. Show them that you have a dream. When you do this, “the world conspires to help you”.

Example 2: Andy went on MySpace in search of other young environmentalists, found out about the One Life Live exhibition in March 2007, sent a message to the organiser and was freely given a 40-square-foot patch of floor space in one of London’s biggest exhibition halls.

We spent 3 days there surrounded by a variety of bikes and equipment we’d quickly cobbled together. We slept in the boot of my parents’ car (never again!) and took showers in the local leisure centre. We told visitors that we weren’t selling anything and that we just wanted to tell people about our ideas. We arranged to meet Hans Rey, founder of Wheels4Life, and a representative from The Wilderness Foundation. We also met two like-minded young entrepreneurs and went for a drink with them.

A few weeks later, I got a call from a strange man who said he was from a production company and did we want to meet them in London to talk about possibly filming the journey? He’d heard about us from a guy he’d met at a networking session who had heard about us from one of the two people we’d gone for a drink with after the exhibition, and thought it sounded like a good project to get his production company up and running. We met them and are now filming the first feature-length documentary of a long-term cycle tour. All because Andy went on MySpace.

Things will happen by themselves, once you surround yourself by people with similar focus. Don’t sit in front of your email account. Take every opportunity you can to get out into the world.

Example 3: We spend hours, and hours, and hours, and hours (you get the idea) sending near-identical emails to every bike shop, bike maker, accessory manufacturer, mail-order company, etc we could find – thousands – asking if they would help by sponsoring us in some way. We received practically nothing in return.

Emails can be (and usually are) ignored or deleted. Nobody knows who you are until you meet them.

Steppe riding

Now go and ride.

Do you have any experience with expedition sponsorship? Is it worth the effort and commitment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

38 Responses to “How To Get Sponsorship For Your Cycle Tour”

  1. Andy

    Great article there. I would also add that sponsorship is worth the effort, but think of it as including people in on your project, your dream, rather than getting free stuff. Enthuse other people and develop long term relationships and friends. If your project is big it might take a while so it makes sense.
    There is no harm in associating with people that already are involved in your field of interest. Your expedition is probably a passion, and therefore you automagically share that with these people. You are developing your network and you need to look after it. It’s always better to see electronic comms as something which is in addition to people-facing contact. Who wants to spend all their time communicating over email anyway? That’s not real life, is it?
    Something I noticed recently is how useful it is to organise a party or an event and invite everyone who is interested and everyone you know to it. Put on a dinner, raise funds, have a dance, etc… Maybe.

    Reply
  2. Viv Mainwaring

    Thank you for a really helpful article as we are in the process of trying to get sponsorship and funding for a similar project called The Kiwi Knights. Two guys are walking the original path of the Knights Templar form London through France and on to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. We are making a film of the expedition also and I am afraid that I concur with the article that unless you can make personal contact with people you will not succeed in galvanising support behind your project. We still have little financial support but the guys left London on Sunday heading for Portsmouth in the hope that as the project develops then it will create enough of a buzz on the net and seem substantial enough to garner some credibility. It is obviously a risky way to go, but they are at least going.

    Reply
  3. bishal

    can u do me a favour i need some help about writing sponser letter for a dance party which m going to organise….m confuse n m not sure….can u plz help me…………

    Reply
  4. naomi

    I’m going to Mexico for 6 months to help street children, many of whom are orphans. These kids really need help and I need to raise some money to be able to go there.
    Please check my donation page:
    http://www.justgiving.com/Naomi-Graham
    please donate, however small, every little helps!!!!

    Reply
  5. Bicycle Touring Resources from Ride Earth - GoBicycleTouring.info

    […] you’re dreaming of a long-distance tour, but cash is an issue, you’ll want to check out How to get Sponsorship for your Cycle Tour.  This is the most detailed article I’ve read on the […]

    Reply
  6. Jessica

    If your dream is to cycle across the world or a few continents, yet you have no previous background to get the sponsor’s confidence in you, I suggest starting with one country (big on) and try to fund it yourself initially. Once you achieve this you will have a background to present to sponsors for future planned trips. The other benefit of this is you won’t necessarily have to put your dream on hold due to the fact you can not get sponsors. Do it once and the rest shall follow. Document your entire trip with lively stories and quality photos including the products you used, no matter how modest. This will appeal to you future sponsors interest of marketing their products via your travels. And ideally if you trip includes raising money for a worthy cause, that will appeal to the human side of the sponsors.
    Just my humble opinion
    Jessica Ogden

    Reply
  7. Cycling Sponsorship

    One of the things that you need to understand in getting sponsorship is the question: “What’s in it for our company?” If you are planning to get a good amount of funding, you need to understand first the need of the company and you need to let them see that need. They need to get a good amount of benefit in sponsoring you. 🙂

    Hope this idea helps!

    Reply
  8. Sue Hacking

    Yes, I agree sponsorship is hard, I left my decision too late for this year, I emailed all my contacts and it’s people who know me have contributed for the cancer charity. I am biking to Paris – it’s a test run really like you say you need a track record. All the companies have refused. Even Jordan’s refused to sponser me a few nut bars! I went to bike shops no joy. I asked JD to sponsor me a pair of cycling shorts and they said they’d consider it… at least they didn’t say no but they haven’t been back. Needs lots of preparation, I’m learning a lot. Have found for charity pubs will help …. If anyone wants to donate gofundme.com/Preston2ParisWheels – for a good cause.

    Reply
  9. Danny M

    Great write-up! I personally agree with the fact that you never know who’s listening. We buzzed our story around on our tour from Austin Texas to Los Angeles California in each city we stopped. Numerous times people offered us places to stay and one time just picked up our meal tab out of sheer enthusiasm! We never bothered with sponsorship on that voyage, but I plan to on my sequel pedaling from Santiago Chile to British Columbia Canada. Times are hard nowadays both in the USA and abroad. We are writing a book with plans to appeal to an enthusiastically confused crowd. I hope this would inspire some companies to think about our ideas for themselves, not just for sponsorship, but sponsorship would be nice…

    Reply
  10. Resources | FEATCanada

    […] How to get sponsorship for your cycle tour Although this article focuses on cycle touring, Tom’s advice is applicable to any expedition. “When planning an extended cycle tour, many people go in search of corporate sponsorship. Some come back empty-handed. Some are successful. But let’s be realistic: In the world of expeditions and corporate sponsorship, bike trips are small fry.” …more […]

    Reply
  11. pawan kumar

    itrrested for cycling sponsorship

    Reply
  12. The most popular posts on adventure blogs | Slow Quest

    […] How To: Get Sponsorship For Your Cycle Tour […]

    Reply
  13. Jennifer Jenkins

    My husband, myself and our two small children are moving to California from Georgia, by bicycle. How would I go about getting a small (or large) sponsorship to help out a little bit along the way? Any comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Hi Jennifer – pretty much all the general advice I have is in the article above. Let me know if you have a specific question and I’ll try to help.

      Reply
  14. Patrick

    I Love What You Are doing ..
    I am broke , soon no where to go. this is something i would of never thought about in a million years .. here i am. Let me tell you , for weeks now i been trying to get some support for a trip from new york to Alaska about 6,100 miles , 115 to 125 day trip and i have not getting any support or an reply , In this world you need doe to make bread. i have no bike , no gear ..
    just a motivation to do this. with no family support and not many friends, i am going crazy here.
    All I need is a bike and some gear and believe me i will take this trip.
    But SO Many people doing this over the years sponsors don’t want this , to them it’s something that has been tried hundreds of times.

    thank you for having this page and thank you for allowing me to comment.
    if You Or anyone has a bike i can tour with or some gear or just a simple hello, it would be appreciated

    Patrick Dolan

    Reply
    • Patrick

      An Update, I Decided To Cancel This. I didn’t get no support ,donation or anything from anyone.
      So I Have Decided To Walk From New York To Alaska With Just $500 And A Backpack And See what happens

      Reply
      • Tom

        Patrick – that’s great. Taking the first step is the most difficult part. If you can, do check in from time to time – I’d love to hear your story.

        Reply
  15. Dara Brennan

    Hello my name is Dara. I would like to cycle around around the world and trying to find the best way to go about it. I have no extreme cycling experience. I have cycle all the way around the island of Ireland, tried my hand at some long distance running and some short triathlons. I am keen for adventure and have been travelling around the world since 2004. Originally I was planning to try this solo but after read your page realize I may be naive. I would be interested in joining any current expeditions or up coming ones. I am currently living and working in Saudi Arabia and would be free to leave at any time or date.
    Thanks for any help or info you can provide

    Regards
    Dara

    Reply
    • Tom

      Hi Dara. My main advice would be to stick to your personal reasons for wanting to do this, rather than waiting to join a trip that’s been designed to fulfil someone else’s objectives. Solo touring isn’t more or less difficult overall, it’s just very different.

      If you’ve cycled all around Ireland, you’ve already got more experience than I had when I began!

      Why not pick a starting point and a date, and begin to work towards it? (Telling people helps stick to it!) Choose a starting region/season that’ll be easy (Europe in early summer), so you can learn the ropes without stress. Have a long-term direction in mind, but just focus on getting started – you’ll have plenty of pedalling time to think about future plans. Put those Riyals to work; be financially self-supported and stay clear of sponsorship and publicity so you have minimum pressure and maximum flexibility.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
    • khizar

      Hey Dara am planning a world tour solo ..of you are interested than I can join you but am facing problem of sponsership ..I don’t have enough money to afford my whole tour ..I can go with you ..

      Reply
  16. John Spencer Kennedy

    I would like to make a world tour on a bicycle, especially to the UK and USA from India by road. If any one know sponsors who support this event would be a great thing for me. I just want to make this world tour on cycle a great success. please help me with sponsors for the programme for which I shall remain greatfull to you. Thanking you ..Sincerelly your.. John Kennedy

    Reply
  17. tony crosby

    A lot of you here inspire me, i’m setting up a bike ride, its my first so i’m riding 653 miles, from scotland to ashford (uk), its almost top to bottom then nest year i will venture onto something bigger and better. anyway i use to be homeless some years ago now and im fundraising for this charity that helped me out, this charity is amazing, the work they do helps so many young people get off the streets and back into society. I’m currently looking for sponsors at the moment, ive had a bit of luck and have a few businesses intrested which is great so im going to take the information given and use it to my advangtage. thank you.

    tony crosby

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Glad you’ve found this useful, Tony. What’s the charity you’re fundraising for? Feel free to post a link!

      Reply
  18. Joel

    Hi Tom,

    Great article. My girlfriend and I are currently trying to secure sponsorship for our upcoming round the world motorcycle trip and reading this has been very helpful.

    The hard part is just knowing the right person to contact and getting the face to face time needed to tell your story.

    Keep up the good work,

    Joel

    Reply
  19. Pedalingmusic

    We have completed our 2013 Summer trip to New York City, but our journey is just beginning!
    Now comes the bigger challenge to find sponsors, we also ask help to people to make a contribution, you can see what we already did at http://www.pedalingmusic.com , it`s for a great charity.

    Reply
  20. Dr. Jeff Brodsky

    Greetings! I loved your article (and the many reply’s). I am 61 years old. I’ve had 2 heart attacks. In 1983 I rode a bicycle (dressed as a clown every day) from Disneyland in Anaheim, CA to the UN Building in New York City. I did it to raise funds for a children’s home we were building in India.

    In about 2 weeks, I begin training for a 2nd trip. This time, my current plans are to ride from Bellingham, WA to Key West, FL. The uniqueness of this ride is that I plan to ride totally Barefoot. I have now been barefoot for over 3 years in solidarity with children we rescue from the worst, most evil crime perpetrated against a child in our society today.

    I am doing this ride to raise funds and awareness in my fight against child trafficking. I am the Founder and President of an organization called JOY International – http://www.joy.org – Most people in America are not aware that there are close to 300,000 child sex slaves in America with just a handful of Safe Houses for girls that are rescued. I hope to raise funds to build a Safe Haven in Colorado.

    I believe the story is compelling (my USP) with having overcome 2 heart attacks. I already have a major nationwide health club behind me as they see that I’ve already succeeded in riding across America and my understanding of what it takes both physically and mentally.

    I am hoping to get sponsors for the Bike and other gear as well as other senior citizen type products. If you she any ideas, I would sincerely appreciate it.

    Thanks again for your article – it was extremely helpful.

    Dr. Jeff

    “No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

    Reply
  21. Hilary

    Sponsorship is ok, but to me being committed to the requirements of a sponsor just to be given an extra piece of equipment or finance is an extra tie…which contradicts the whole idea of the bike ride itself – that of freedom and getting away from the sickness that of commercialism that is helping to destroy this planet. It is de-humanising people on a global scale. As much as I commend you for your research, commitment and preparation prior to embarking on your cycle trips Tom, I personally don’t agree with sponsorship. The grovelling phase of offering yourself for a piece of equipment prior to the trip. Having served in the Reg. Army and been a prof. cross-county skier during my time, I should not have to an immaculately grovelled introduction and promise to show ‘the logo’ whenever they want it shown. It angers me that those who produce a better preliminary approach on paper have a better chance of sponsorship than someone who has been a professional athlete.
    If folks don’t like this statement, you should consider that pandering to these corporations. Lol, now what was that phone number for Kona? :-))

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Is it possible to have a sponsorship arrangement that doesn’t involve destroying the planet, de-humanising people, or grovelling?

      Do take a look at this article for a slightly less black-and-white perspective.

      As for what the ‘whole idea of the bike ride’ is, that’s ultimately for each rider to decide for him/herself.

      Reply
  22. Ros

    Hey Tom, Great article with some great ideas. I am an Aussie who wants to cycle across Canada with members of my cycling club (if I can talk anyone into joining me). I hadn’t though of looking for sponsors, but now I will. Thanks

    Reply
  23. badr

    hello cyclists
    i’m a morrocan guy who preparing my bike my hand made bike bags to start my travel through muritanie,senegal,gambia.. i hope it’ gonna be a long trip.I will start by few money,and i’m really optimistic and i feel i can do something while i’m cycling to make few money that i can live with.thank u a lot for these useful information in this page.
    good luck for everyone,go cycle you will never ever go back to your 1st life.

    Reply
  24. Rebecca

    Hi! I came across your website while looking up advise on sponsored cycling for charities. I am just curious how that works and i would very much appreciate your help and advice. A bit about my trip first. I’m traveling Eastern Europe at the moment, with no known end date, to learn and exchange ideas and experiences in sustainable farming and lifestyles by working on various organic farms and Eco educational centers. As I’m broke like most backpackers, I am seriously considering doing it by cycling between each WWOOFing host. I just remembered a backpacker I met on a hike that was raising money for a charity during a 3 month walk in Western Australia, and I am curious how that works and if I can raise money for charity on my trip because it would give it so much more meaning and purpose, and of course motivation to keep going during hard times. I am totally novice at cycling, so a sponsorship is not something I’m necessarily aiming for, but I am wondering how to get friends and people I meet during my travels to donate and why they would.

    Love to hear your opinions!
    Cheers,
    Rebecca

    Reply
  25. pankush

    Hi Tom,
    Your adventure story is really inspiring.I am planning something like this from India to U.K. with my Girlfriend.I wanted to know what are the legal formalities required at the International borders for crossing with the bicycle.
    And secondly,i want to ask the approximate amount of costs involved in such a major tour.
    Your help would be greatly appreciated.Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  26. Wesley

    Tom,

    Thank you for putting this information out there for novices such as myself and others. However, I do have a few technical questions and I hope you can help me by answering those in your best experience.

    I am a microbiologist and six months from now I will embark on a cycle tour through Africa to raise awareness about the current threat of antibiotic resistance to our ability to fight disease, especially in developing economies, and the drastic need to take care of our available antibiotics. As part of my journey I’ll be visiting African research institutions where researchers are working hard to understand and survey antibiotic resistance and I intend on highlighting the efforts of these researchers/institutions on my blog (https://cycling4science.wordpress.com) and through social/regular media. Finally, I intend to raise funds to further support one or more keen student(s) at one of these institutions studying the development and spread of antibiotic resistance or its socioeconomic impact.

    To this end I already have a website running, am active on social media, am constantly handing out business cards and have formal backing and networking leverage from the UK-led global campaign group Antibiotic Action as well as commitments from some small local newspapers to publish regular updates authored by myself.

    My questions to you are:

    1. Do I need to have my activity registered as a charity or in any formal manner for companies to provide sponsorship? I am assuming companies write expenditures such as this off against tax but need some form of proof to show that the equipment or money was donated to a formal cause.

    2. It is now 6 months almost to the day till I leave and I reckon now is the time to start enquiring about sponsorship. However, although I already have some traffic on my webpage I am not certain whether I should hold out a little longer and try and build more momentum, or whether I should just get going at it right now. How many months in advance did you send out your first letter or talk to the first representative about sponsorship? And when did the sponsorships really start becoming a reality – months, weeks or days before departure?

    3. When you contacted specialist companies, did you ask for specific pieces of equipment or just whether they would sponsor you in any way they see fit?

    Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Tom. And GREAT trailer by the way, I have bookmarked Janapar as my next Sunday night movie!

    Regards

    Wesley

    Reply
  27. Nick Nguyen

    Hello Mr. Tom,
    I have been following your blogs and I found most of them interesting, helpful, and down-to-earth practical.
    I feel I should not ask you about my specific circumstance, given how deep your blog already covered this topic. However, I would venture to ask you personally:
    I am MIT student and I just join the MIT-Harvard Spokes 2016 team, and in the summer of 2016 we will start driving from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, CA and on the way, we will stop at dozens of schools and library to host “learning festival” where we teach local students hands-on, project-based classes. Our goal is to provoke and inspire the youth to pursuit their interests. Spokes has successfully performed its mission for several years now, and I will be one of the 14 students who will bike across the U.S., strike to outperform previous years’ impact. We have been fund-raising from our friends and family, also from our schools’ departments and organizations, mostly in form of cash. However, we never attempted to ask for sponsorship for biking equipment and beyond. I think that companies that work in educational improvements, college preparation, or school supplies might turn out to be potential sponsors. Nonetheless, I would love to hear your suggestions about where we should begin to look for.
    Sincerely,
    Nick

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  28. Book Review: Cycling Full Circle – Vélo Livresque

    […] by bicycle might begin with a travel foundation grant, free or at least discounted gear through product sponsorships, a substantial amount of training, or, at the very least, some years of experience riding bicycles. […]

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