We passed a modest milestone on Saturday: The British Continental turned two.
It’s our party and we’ll write a soppy celebratory blog post if we want to
OK, we’ll admit it, this is hardly an earth-shattering achievement. The British Continental won’t be troubling the record books yet. And we certainly don’t expect any wild street parties to mark the occasion. Nonetheless, we’re really rather proud of getting this far. In two short years, we’ve transformed a tiny, hardly-read blog into what we hope is now a credible, respected and well-used platform for all things domestic cycling. All produced by people from the cycling community in their spare time simply because they love this crazy sport. So, to paraphrase the classic song, it’s our party and we’ll write a soppy celebratory blog post if we want to…
It all started with a tentative ‘welcome post’ on 28 November 2018. There was no grand plan or strategy at that time. Just a vague hope that a few occasional posts about domestic racing might be of interest to the wider world. And an invitation to the rest of the cycling community to get involved if they’d like to.
To our surprise and delight, we had an overwhelmingly positive response from the off. Engagement with the blog quickly snowballed. People came forward offering to contribute posts, make introductions or provide behind-the-scenes support. Riders, teams and others agreed to take part in interviews and share the off-the-record gossip. Brilliant photographers stepped forward to offer their imager for use on the site. And, probably best of all, lots of you, our followers, starting reading what we had to say.
Before we knew it, The British Continental was becoming an immersive, plate-juggling occupation rather than the small side hobby it was originally intended to be.
Since then, we’ve gone from strength to strength. The number of website views has grown year on year (we’ve had more web views this month than we’ve had in any month to date), our social media following continues to expand and we’ve added a quickly-growing podcast.
The whole endeavour is still stitched together in our spare time. We run The British Continental because we’re bike racing fans. All of the content produced on the site and our podcast is done for free by fans, riders and the wider cycling community because we are all passionate about domestic cycle sport.
The modest proceeds we have received so far from sponsorship, t-shirt sales and kind donations from followers have gone to covering our costs and making what we do as good as it can be. We’re really grateful for those.
We love what we do and get an enormous kick interviewing our heroes and covering the sport we revere. That’s not to say we don’t have the occasional wobble when we wonder whether we should prioritise our day jobs, family and social life a little more and put The British Continental to bed. Ultimately though, our passion keeps drawing us back.
Our hope is that through our efforts we have helped to create new fans of the domestic sport, have told stories that otherwise wouldn’t have been told, celebrated performances that otherwise wouldn’t have been celebrated, showcased riders that would otherwise not have been showcased and made domestic cycle sport just that little bit more accessible, more intriguing and more engaging than it would otherwise have been.
Our mission is to continue to use our platforms to showcase stories about British bike racing, teams and riders and, through constructive debate, help change the domestic sport for the better. We want The British Continental to continue to be for, and by, the domestic bike racing community. From eminent journalists like William Fotheringham and former national champions like Colin Sturgess, to race organisers, riders and fans, we’re proud to have had a plethora of contributors and voices on The British Continental and we hope this long continues. We also want to put our endeavours on a more sustainable footing. In the background, we have been having some exciting conversations with companies that love the domestic sport, like what we do and want to support our mission. So fingers crossed, we’re hopeful we’ll have some exciting new partners in 2021.
For now, though, we just want to say a massive thank you. A thank you to everyone who has contributed The British Continental, without whose passion and energy we wouldn’t be able to keep on doing what we do. And a thank you to everyone who reads our posts, listens to our podcasts, follows us on social media, buys our t-shirts and gives us encouragement. With a bit of luck, the UK will be back to road racing next year. We hope to see you on the road!
Featured image: David Hares