During the construction of BEAT Cycling Club, founders Geert Broekhuizen and Edwin Gulickx will let you take part in their adventure. In this blog post we explain how the creation of the club is taking shape and where we stand today.
Over the last couple of months, we have achieved beautiful things as BEAT and have made great strides in our development. The membership offer has been extended thanks to fantastic partnerships and BEAT has more amateur cyclists riding around the Netherlands and Belgium in its jersey than any other cycling club. No, we’re not ready to participate in the Tour de France, but we have established the very first professional cycling team formed out of a club structure.
On my way to the office recently, I was reminded of one of the most famous cycling quotes, "Parijs is nog ver" (It’s still a long way to Paris), from legendary Dutch cyclist Joop Zoetemelk. This famous quote has regularly been repeated on TV and radio at the recent Tour de France and I can still hear one of the GC-men saying: "There’s still a long way to go to the finish and everything can happen between now and then." This famous statement is a beautiful metaphor for the development of BEAT Cycling Club, but also for cycling in general.
Despite the great interest for the recent Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, the cycling news is also dominated by reports about cycling teams that are forced to fear for their further existence. Orica and Cannondale retire from sports sponsorship and successful teams like Quick-Step and BMC are also still in uncertainty about their future. Despite the fact that cycling is growing globally, too many pro teams struggle to find and maintain sponsorships and therefore their team’s continuity. Every news report on this subject reinforces our feeling that BEAT Cycling Club has chosen the right path. Of course, there’s still a long way to go to the finish line and we will face plenty of obstacles along the way.
For example, my colleagues and I are often asked when our team will line up at the Tour de France. The answer is that we are working daily to achieve the steps that will one day take us to this level, while the focus over the past few months has been on establishing a world class track team. Let me put it differently: of course we have the ambition of participating in the Tour de France, we have presented a clear goal and that ambition is still there. But as you know, our full commitment goes to changing cycling permanently with BEAT Cycling Club. That takes a lot of energy and, above all, a lot of patience. We’ve built a real club, where our members are the driving force and foundation for the final road team. This way we can generate new revenue sources that make us less dependent on sponsors.
Speed versus future-proof
We realize that with classic sponsors we would be able to take financial hurdles sooner, making it easier to take to the starting line of major races. However, binding classic sponsors to BEAT Cycling Club to pursue this goal is not our vision. On the contrary, our vision is that we do not want to be completely dependent on one or two sponsors like most cycling teams. This is the long road we will travel, together with our professional cycling team and club members, and far from a straightforward one. These long and complicated roads are what we expected to find when we all started this adventure. That’s what makes it challenging and exciting.
Value of membership
What does this mean for the coming months? Of course, we are all working hard on building our club. We feel strengthened by the increasing number of new members that join the club every day. We are busy expanding the offer for our members, but also being present in the world of professional cycling.
At the moment BEAT Cycling Club is the fastest growing cycling community in the Benelux. With over 5,000 supporters and over 500 active pioneers committed to our club, hundreds of cycling enthusiasts ride around in our club jersey every week. In addition to the largest membership share in the Netherlands and Belgium, we have also gained attention in Canada, Australia and the Far East in Singapore, China and Japan. And both the number of pioneers and our reach is growing day-by-day! We can really feel that BEAT is spreading across the world!
We speak a lot with potential partners who want to join because they identify the DNA of BEAT Cycling Club in themselves. In these conversations with partners, the word 'partnership' is key. It should not be about ‘a bit of pocket money and a sponsor’s name on the jersey. We are speaking with partners who want a connection with our members. These are companies who believe in a sustainable model and innovation and are of added value to our members and vice versa. As a BEAT member, you can buy professional cycling clothes, glasses, helmets and shoes at a discounted rate. But besides BEAT clothes and accessories, training camps and cycling holidays are also becoming more attractive, thanks to the BEAT members’ discount.
In addition to the expanded membership offer, there is also sporting success to report. BEAT is the world’s first cycling club to establish its own professional cycling team. Five-time world champion Theo Bos, Silver Olympic medallist Matthijs Büchli and vice-European sprint champion Roy van den Berg are part of the team led by Tim Veldt that will go for gold at the 2018 Track Cycling World Championships in the Netherlands.
BEAT riders represented sportively
We have been visible in the (professional) cycling sport over the past months. Our rider Piotr Havik rode to an excellent 22nd place in the Dutch road championships, he recently crowned himself to WattMeister and through that, managed to earn an internship contract with Team Katusha Alpecin. A beautiful debut for Piotr and BEAT amongst the pro peloton. And then there’s Theo Bos, who’s at the Keirin in Japan and is currently fully committed to preparing for the World Championships in the Netherlands. We are incredibly proud of all of these performances.
But also at amateur and recreational level, BEAT members are well-represented and visible throughout the world. Keep us informed of your sporting performance and share it via social media or on our website with the hashtag #RoadToBEAT.
BEAT Cycling Club is happening. We connect amateur cycling and elite sport and we have only just begun. For ultimately this is what our club is about: a common passion for cycling shared through every level of the sport. That's also where we continue to pay a lot of attention: further supporting our community members to get more out of their sports with the offers we are currently developing. Keep an eye on our site, newsletter and social media.
Finally, we would love to talk to you in person during one of our BEAT Club Days. I would like to invite you to attend one on Saturday, September 2nd at 10.30 am in “De Proloog” in Amerongen, The Netherlands. I hope to meet many of you here to discuss BEAT together. After a discussion, brainstorm and lunch, we always end the day with a nice ride.
Do you have any questions related to this blog post or otherwise? You can always reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org . See (or mail) you soon!