A break from my regular posts, this post details the New Voices programme I'm launching, in which I aim to seek out and share writing from around the cycling world, with the particular aim to amplify the voices of aspiring writers, and in particular passionate cycling fans from under-represented backgrounds.
One of the things I’m most proud of is that writebikerepeat.com has given a platform to a number of new voices, giving opportunities and space at the table to writers, artists and designers who may not otherwise get the chance to showcase their work, at least within the sphere of cycling media. It’s a mutually beneficial situation – contributors are given a space to share their work, oftentimes work that is a little unconventional or different from what you might see in mainstream media, and in return I’m able to fill the site with unique perspectives, amazing images and beautifully written pieces of work. I’ve showcased work from contributors from six different nations since the site relaunched six months ago, with almost 50% of my contributors being women, and I would love to feature more diverse contributors moving forward.
With this in mind, I’m launching this call for pitches to invite other early career writers to become a part of the writebikerepeat.com team – here’s more information.
What's in it for you?
While I’m hoping to launch the site as a paying market in 2024 (as I want to reward the high quality work that I’m publishing), I am currently navigating the loopholes of paying freelancers and not getting in trouble with the UK tax person. So, I can’t offer financial reward at present, but more importantly, for writers looking to launch their careers, or to move into a new field of writing, this is an opportunity to have your work featured in an online publication, establish a presence and begin to build a body of work to show potential future employers/hosts of your freelance work.
I will offer guidance and editorial support for any pieces selected for the site, along with any advice I can to help you on your way.
What am I looking for?
I’ll start by saying – I probably don’t know what I’m looking for until I read it, so if you read this and nothing seems to fit don’t rule yourself out – try me.
My favourite pieces of sports writing are evocative, whether that might be a poignant piece of writing about an experience at a race, an honest interview with a rider about their struggles with injury, or a funny article looking at the lighter side of the sport - I want to feel something when I read your work.
Different perspectives and angles – I want to read something new. A piece on a rider that has inspired you. A listicle on 5 races that would have changed a rider’s career if one small detail had been different, alternate universe-style. An interview with a rider who has a fascinating story to tell but is often overlooked by the media. A think piece on the connection between the hormonal cycle and women’s racing or sports psychology (expertise welcome and in fact advised - if you're a geek about something that connects to cycling, I'm into it).
Write with love and passion, with knowledge and experience, or with humour and insight. Or all of the above. Step outside the box. Essentially, show me your flair as a writer, or your passion for the sport, and don’t worry about word counts, rigid formats, or anything else that’s particularly ‘traditional’ in terms of journalism. Oh, and creative writing - poetry, short fiction - I'm here for it. Also artists and graphic designers, I'm always on the look-out for unique imagery to go with the pieces for the site, so feel free to contact me also if you'd like to see your work accompanying a future piece of writing.
And I’m especially keen to encourage diverse voices that aren’t amplified in traditional sports media, so if you feel that label applies to you please let me know in your pitch.
Oh and one last thing - I'm interested in perspectives on the elite sport of cycling - any discipline is fine, but unless it in some way connects with pro racing, it's not for me at the moment - so I'm not looking for personal stories about your own cycling adventures, much as I'd love to read them in other publications. This also isn't the place for tech stuff unless it brings to life the tech in connection with the races or racers - so no gear or kits reviews, again, great for another site, but not for this one at the moment.
Send me your pitch. There’s no specified format for a pitch – if you’ve never pitched before don’t worry, all I need to know is what you want to write about, and why you think you’re the person to write about it. As long as it conveys the message of what you’re hoping to write about, that’s enough.
If it’s something you’ve already written that you’re seeking a home for, feel free to just send the piece and I’ll take a look. If you haven’t written it yet, give me an idea of when you think you might be able to have it written (for example if you have research or interviews to carry out as part of it, let me know).
There is no deadline – only that as the new season begins, there will be less space available as I devote more space to what’s going on in the races.
If you haven’t written the piece yet, but have some examples of your writing elsewhere that I can read to get a sense of you as a writer, please include them (links, screenshots, etc). If you don't, don't worry - previous experience is not essential.
Tell me about yourself, too. I'm interested in people not just words - tell me a bit about yourself and your background. Why cycling? Why this story in particular? Anything you feel is relevant.
Ideally I’m hoping to feature a new writer once a month at a minimum – but it will depend on what is right for the site as I’m looking for contrasting pieces (much as I’d love to feature four articles per month about the multi-faceted skillset of Lotte Kopecky, I probably won’t! One would be nice though...). So please don’t be disheartened if it’s not good news – a no for now is not a no forever – feel free to try again with other ideas in the future.
Ready to send your pitch? Send your idea to: [email protected]. I will aim to get back to you within a week or so but please feel free to nudge me if you haven't heard anything after two weeks.