A new paradigm in racing: The Secure Parking Carpark Climb powered by Bikebug
Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 10:35 AM
A new paradigm in racing: The Secure Parking Carpark Climb powered by Bikebug – Ever wanted to race your bike but not too keen on the traditional Saturday afternoon gatherings in locations around Australia to don numbers and compete? Then VTWO’s Dan Wilkins and Andrew Gooding have the solution for you.
The Secure Parking Carpark Climb powered by Bikebug – the inaugural edition of which will be held on March 19 – is a new concept for cycling in Australia that builds upon events like alley cat racing and and on a larger scale, international event series such as the Red Hook Crit, with the view to radically changing the perception of what actually makes a bike racer.
“Cycling is no longer just for racers anymore,” begins Wilkins, one half of masterminds behind the event. “People love riding their bike but they don’t necessarily want to do the whole traditional racing kind of thing, so this event gives them the chance to get into competitive spirit of things, but in a way not seen before.
“This event is going to bring together your graded club racer and your fixed-gear, tattooed hipster male and female who just loves riding their bike,” Wilkins explains, laughing at the generalization of those riders who choose to only use one gear.
The New Kids
Reflecting on the success of events like the Red Hook Crit as a part of the ‘cultural landscape’ of cycling, Wilkins and Gooding started a Melbourne based cycling club, Melbourne Cycling League, 18 months ago as an alternative to the traditional setup of clubs that primarily offer racing.
Running a marketing agency, VTWO, Gooding and Wilkins knew they had to use the right channels to make it a success. VTWO is a marketing company specialising in strategy, content creation and campaign execution – it’s been involved with campaigns for the likes of Taylor Made Adidas Golf in the past, so they have the runs on the board when it comes to pursuing the right channels.
“We have amassed just over 10,000 followers [of Melbourne Cycling League] on Instagram, primarily through UGC (user generated content),” explains Wilkins. “We find that Instagram and Facebook are the best channels to provide content for our users for a number of reasons and we’ve had a lot of success in a relatively short amount of time.”
He knew they had to capitalise on this interest by staging an event which could encompass the entire demographic that was interested in the fledgling organisation. “This carpark climb actually started life as a criterium,” says Wilkins. “It fell through at the final hurdle and we knew we had to find another way to do it.”
The New Paradigm
True to their marketing mission statement, VTWO found a spin on hosting the event that has added to the interest and intrigue – holding it in a carpark. “We took a marketing approach to the brand of Secure Parking,” says Wilkins before explaining that people generally don’t associate carparks with brand loyalty. “It’s a chance for that company to create some brand awareness and loyalty whilst an organisation like Bikebug – from a more traditional standpoint in terms of cycling – can also be involved.”
So on March 19, at 6:30pm, heats for the first ever Secure Parking Carpark climb will begin; two-up sprints, with four categories – men’s road and fixed, women’s road and fixed – where three minutes will be considered a standard time but the winner will do it “substantially quicker than that”. The ramps have a gradient of approximately 3% – “enough to take the sting out of your legs” – and NO polished concrete. For safety.
“As with any event, a bike race in a carpark has certain requirements, so safety is our number one concern,” says Wilkins. “We did a lot of research and reconnaissance before settling on this location.”
Wilkins is quick to add however, that the event will boast “a party atmosphere” as worlds collide (in cycling terms, anyway) and racers compete for prizes which Wilkins assures “are very different to anything you’ve seen at bike races”. There will also be Bikebug-branded cowbells for spectators to make even more noise – something the organisers want.
It adds up to an interesting experiment but one that seems most likely to be a hit, given the interest already on social media. With only 120 spots on offer (only 17 left!) and just under a month until the event, the promo video has had over 9,000 views on Bikebug’s Facebook page alone. It’s a simple concept and one that could be coming to a major city near you, if VTWO have their way.
“There are plans to take it around Australia in the future,” says Wilkins. We’ll be learning from this first one, we certainly aren’t afraid to try new ideas and ways to make them work. The key is how we and the team at VTWO refine this, enabling a series folks will really get behind.”
Click here and here for details about the Secure Parking Carpark Climb. To enter, click here