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Just started our Collegiate team...What to buy?(15 posts)

Just started our Collegiate team...What to buy?Swat Dawg
Feb 12, 2003 6:43 PM
This spring the Swarthmore College Cycling team will be racing hard in the Collegiate road series, and we are trying to figure out what items are most beneficial for a team to own. We have received pretty good dollar support and we are already paying for race fees, transportation, subsidized jersey price, tubes, and what not. In order of importance what stuff would you buy for your team with say $500-750. Thanks for the help. Oh, and Anybody in the Philadelphia greater area that is interested in riding with some college racers shoot me an email. We love to have people along on our rides.

Swat Dawg '04
at least one set of spare wheels nmDougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 7:56 PM
re: Just started our Collegiate team...What to buy?raptorUW
Feb 12, 2003 8:44 PM
As a collegiate racer & past club vice president, i'll toss these suggestions in.

1) make sure race fees/transportation/clothing are funded well. This is more important than a wheelset in the pit at one race a weekend. if you're planning on nats, funding can get eaten up quite quickly.

2) race food. if all else is covered, spend the money of gu/clifshot/etc.

3) a wheelset might be nice, but any parts beyond that and you'll run into compatibility probs & diminishing returns.

4) team trainers? good for warming up at races/winter training

5) cool factor: custom waterbottles, casual clothes, pop up tent.

by the way, how many club members do you have? i'm impressed that you've managed to fund race fees, transportation, etc. did you get the school to sign on or accomplish that via private sponsorship?
Feb 13, 2003 10:27 AM
I agree with funknuggets and the others. Spare wheels are nice, but in reality some guys probably already have a set they would be willing to use as "team" wheels, or browbeat the LBS into ponying up a set. The kind of team building that encourages someone to be willing to share and/or give up wheels is crucial to teamwork that is key in collegiate racing.

A decent set of tools will get you way farther IMO.

One big message: LEAVE A POSITIVE LEGACY!! Continuity in collegiate racing is so incredibly lacking. Part of the reason they have a hard time earning funding from the sports depts, much less outside sponsorship, is that there's never any good history, continuity or reporting. Partly this is because most colleges don't hire a coach or director for their cycling programs (as they do for the Big Three ball sports), they just leave it up to their students to run, which means all the intellectual capital on the team goes out the window every 2-4 years. This means it is seriously up to you not to leave a mess (or a black hole) for your successor. Document everything you went through (sponsorship deadlines, clothing deadlines, other hassles / triumphs), plus team results and schedules, membership, anything you can think of, and leave it in a binder for the next incoming prez.
fantastic advice...funknuggets
Feb 13, 2003 10:49 AM
lonefrontranger is way right and onto something that I had forgotten. Get the ball rolling, and increase incrementally every year. Try and find a faculty advisor that has a genuine interest in the sport. Our first year was kind of sketchy (If anyone knows Doug Wynn from Tx-he is the man!), the next year was better with way cool jerseys and shorts, the next year we went to more races and got funding from the school, and the next year we even had a stage race. All in all I think a pretty good job, but I am saddened to say that I dont think there is much left at the school. So, perhaps we should have followed Lonefrontranger's advice.

Maybe try out a website.kushogun
Feb 12, 2003 9:58 PM
I'm the person in charge of running the cycling website here in lovely Lawrence for the University of Kansas. Our club has an annual budget of a couple thousand dollars, and I must say that our visibility to sponsors and ulumni has increased due to our site. If you have some extra money, spend $20 a month on a domain and a basic web design. It's good to post some pictures, future races, club rides, etc. Try and get the website on your jersey somewhere, or get some signs/banners made to hang up at your races. Networking and visibilty is everything. Before you know it, you should be getting private donations from ulumni or interested local cyclists. If you're lucky, get in touch with companies like Trek/Cannondale (they'll make it through chapter 11). Companies like that offer free frames for a season or grassroots programs with huge discounts. Aside from the website, I second all of the afore mentioned suggestions. Make sure race fees are covered, travel expenses, racing liscenses, food. It cost us about $500/racer last year for nationals. It adds up in a hurry. Aside from that, don't worry too much about wheelsets and stuff like that. Establish a relationship with your LBS. They may offer their help (tools, equipment, discounts) for a little space on your jersey. You'd be surprised how much people want to help if you ask. Also, you should try and do something on campus to increase your visibility among the student body. Do a program like an air and oil day to clean up all those dirty chains, or adjust deraillers, etc... Anyways, hope this helps. By the way check out our website. We just ticked over 10,000 hits last week. Good luck with your season and keep the rubber side down!
re: Just started our Collegiate team...What to buy?rogue_CT1
Feb 12, 2003 10:52 PM
With $500-$700 you should be able to get at least 2 sets of fairly good wheelsets. Beyond that I would recommend tires and like the other poster mentioned, gels/bars/food. Very important on race day, especially stage races.
Contingency fund?rollo tommassi
Feb 13, 2003 7:59 AM
Sounds like you've done a great job getting this put together - congrats!

It is a long season, so it may be wise to consider holding on to that sum for an 'emergency', be it a broken frame or ripped shorts.

Good luck, and keep up the good work!
re: Just started our Collegiate team...What to buy?Swat Dawg
Feb 12, 2003 11:05 PM
Sponsorship and everything has come together very well for our inaugural season. As a club sport a significant majority of our transportation costs are covered by the school. Past that, however, we have managed to get on our own. The other leader of the club and myself contacted a large number of local businesses, and received a good response from them. Our title sponsor is a local Architectural firm [W.S. Cumby & Son, throw their name out their :-)], who made a good commitment to us. We have been talking to a local Saturn dealer (Will go unnamed, unless...$$$), but the general manager has been really shady. He sounds really excited about sponsoring us, but everytime I call he can't talk or I leave a message and he doesnt call back. So their dealership is basically X-ed off the list of people to go to. I just wish he would display some business manners and say, "NO." It would keep us from being in the dark. I could go on about that...

We have the food and such covered somewhate with a sponsorship from GU, and other sports training supplement companies. I would have loved to have gotten hooked up with Trek/Cannondale or somebody, but their sponsorship deadlines were way before we started putting this stuff together. We did get linked up with a small company called Leader. Their bikes aren't well known, however, their prices are great and their frames are quality. I have done a lot of research on them and have been pleased by the things I've found out. I showed the frames and deal we were getting to our LBS and whereas before they had given us some shop credit and no other help in setting up deals with vendors, they suddenly decided that with six people purchasing frames, they wanted to help. While I appreciate our LBS, I was a little disappointed by their response to us. Unfortunately, they kinda think small, and aren't really well organized to make themselves a larger presence. Disappointing.

We actually hold a bike clean up day in the spring, which the campus likes and makes us look good. This spring we have launched plans on a Bicycle Safety Clinic, and Fun day. Actually, I think that this is the best selling point we have. The safety clinic is run in conjunction with the Town fun fair, and it promises a lot of positive exposure for our sponsors. Having this as a hook, has made sponsorship dollars a lot easier to obtain. As a matter of fact, one healthclub said that they could "sponsor" us, but that they would make a significant donation if we hosted another bicycle safety clinic in the fall for them. So if I had any advice, it would be figure out something positive to do for the community, preferable that involves children. On the point of stuff to get, I definitely think that the trainers would be awesome, and the website is the most important thing to get up. I don't know how to do that stuff, and some of my other teammates are taking care of that. It will be really important when we gets it done, as it will provide us a link to alumni, and hopefully some alumni support.

I'm sorry that we didn't get on this sponsorship business sooner. We didn't start working on this stuff in earnest till late November-December. So, a lot has happened in a short time. It is all coming down to the season and we are seeing our work to completion though, and I am really proud of what we have accomplished so far. It has taught me alot in a short amount of time, and has been fun. Everybody around here laughs at me cause I spend so much of my time surfin' around looking at bike stuff, but it is something that has so overtaken my life that I can't get away from it. I think that everybody else is just jealous that they don't have a hobby that they love as much as I do cycling. The world would be a better place if people found stuff they loved, dedicated themselves to it and to thinking about ways they can incorporate that love into improving their community, but that is a whole 'nother matter. Thanks for the suggestion, I'm still
Best of Luck!!!funknuggets
Feb 13, 2003 8:21 AM
Myself and three other guys founded the Southwest Missouri State University team and we actually spent our cash on getting some swanky literature and promo material for our sponsorship campaign. We did end up getting a nice package from cannondale and the local shop (A&B in Springfield, MO) and so it paid off. We also pitched to some of the larger companies, but they balked. I would spend the cash to get a few extra jerseys. The ideas that the others stated are not bad either. Since you all are getting the same bikes, I would also consider getting 4 or 5 replacable rear dropouts from Leader. I have seen those damaged far too many times. Sometimes they bend back, other times they snap. And when you are in the middle of nowhere, finding a replacement dropout is not always the easiest thing, especially on Sunday or when you have no clue where anything is at (ie: Beckernville)

Consider a toolset, Some differing cogsets, etc, cables. Let the riders pay for their own tires and brakepads and such. You may even start thinking of using some cash to grease some local wheels and sponsor a race on your own. It is one of the biggest pains in the butts to put on, especially in collegiate racing, but if proceeds go to your team and local vendors pay you to have booths, etc, it is one of the BEST ways to line the pockets of your team. Then you can consider wheelsets and the like... seems to be lots of good advice around here and just let us know if you have any other questions. Good luck this season.

KEG and health insurance.......nmafrican
Feb 13, 2003 10:19 AM
Question for you: Jerseys for gen. public?PseuZQ
Feb 13, 2003 11:31 AM
Colleague of mine is an alum and a cyclist. He might appreciate being able to purchase a jersey. Any plans to make them available? (post a link if ya got one!)
Question for you: Jerseys for gen. public?Swat Dawg
Feb 13, 2003 12:00 PM
As a matter of fact we are putting together the jersey order right now. We are planning to make the order over the weekend actually. So if he is interested in getting in on a piece of Swartmore history, the price is $55.00. I don't think we will be making another order til next spring, so this might be the only chance for awhile. Have him send me an email at I know, it's sketchy to put the email out there but it's ok.

I really appreciate everyone's help. We have come a long way and are looking into organizing a CX race next winter, and maybe a road race in the spring. I am definitely feeling LFR suggestion about leaving a positive legacy for others to follow. That is one of my biggest concerns. I want this to be something that is bigger than the 1.5 years I have left here. I have heard that a cycling club was started maybe a decade or so back, but it fizzled, and I would hate to see hat happen. So much work to do, and so much school work to do. A little more time would be great, but I'm lovin' it so I can't complain.

If anybody else is interesting in genuine Swarthmore merchandise, that also supports our club costs, please send me an email at the above address.

Swat Dawg '04
OK, my bud just e-mailed you. (nm)PseuZQ
Feb 13, 2003 1:59 PM
Thanks for telling him. (NM)Swat Dawg
Feb 13, 2003 3:02 PM