Plans for the 104th Tour de France
In July 2016 the publisher of RIDE Media, Rob Arnold, set off to cover the Tour de France as a journalist for the 19th time. Joining him was Tour debutant Mark Ferguson. The pair collaborated throughout the three weeks of the race.
RIDE will be back at the Tour again in 2017… and, once again, looking at things from a different perspective.
RIDE on Tour in 2017
– By Rob Arnold
The hotels and flights and rental car are booked and I’m set for another adventure. The 104th Tour de France is 64 days away; it may seem like quite a while – there’s the whole Giro d’Italia to consider before the Grand Départ in Düsseldorf on 1 July – but in the cycling world there’s always reason to talk about the Tour.
My journey last year was done in conjunction with Mark Ferguson, the creator of the Cycling Maven YouTube channel.
Today, Mark achieved his funding target in a Kickstarter campaign to help fund his trip to the Grand Tours… at least that’s the end goal. He’ll start by following the Giro, which starts in Sardinia next weekend, with his girlfriend and collaborator Hannah.
They have plans on how to present their trip – and have asked viewers for their suggestions over the past couple of weeks.
And going on how quickly his viewers chipped in funds, it’s obvious that Cycling Maven is on a winning formula with his ‘vlogs’. People love what he’s doing and the engagement with his audience is first-class.
Some readers of RIDE have asked if myself and an associate from the Tour, François Thomazeau, will be working on Cycling Maven videos again this July; the answer is no.
We have watched as his channel grew to over 40,000 subscribers and appreciate his fine editing, humour and the kind of following he has generated in a short time. And, of course, we wish Mark and Hannah all the best.
As much as we enjoyed the partnership in 2017, RIDE will present our own observations and cover the Tour independent of Cycling Maven in 2017.
(To see a very long exchange of myself and Thomazeau talking about cycling, click the link below.)
A little history of my experience on the Tour… (much of which has been told before):
From 1998 to 2013, my role on the Tour was writing the English content for the race’s official website. For 16 years I called the action live online at the biggest race in the world: a total of 10 prologues and 326 stages… literally millions of words typed and lots of clicks conjured.
Since 2014, I’ve covered the Tour with Thomazeau as my cohort. For that first year of ‘independence’ (ie. freed from my box in the ‘zone technique’ where I’d type all day long), I also travelled with an Australian journalist, John Thompson-Mills.
Last year’s experiment with Cycling Maven was a chance to showcase the race in an entirely different manner.
It was an awakening to the power of YouTube; Mark couldn’t always find the fast connection but once his clips were uploaded it took only a matter of minutes before the comments began to flow.
In the three weeks of the Tour, he netted around one million views and the content clearly resonated with many around the world.
There were numerous cameo appearances by myself and others who I introduced Mark to as we drove from La Manche to Paris, via the Pyrenees and Alps… sometimes with François in the back seat (at other times the French journalist joined other colleagues from start to finish).
To see the genesis of the planning for the RIDE/Maven collaboration, have a look at the interview from our original introduction (below).
The Tour is over two months away and there’s a lot of racing to come before that annual fête of sport and culture.
By the time of the Grand Départ we’ll know who the new president of France is and there will be a very different political atmosphere. But, as they say, the Tour is the Tour: it’s a thing of beauty that appeals to millions around the world.
There are many ways to follow the race. RIDE Media will continue to showcase the event with interviews, articles, photos and more – thanks to our website and other media. Maven will do his vlogs with Hannah. Thomazeau will be working for The Cycling Podcast in 2017. And, of course, SBS will be beaming images live from every stage – along with a host of extras on the Cycling Central website.
It was fun covering it for the official website, a joy to do with François, JTM and Mark… and I’m very much looking forward to my 20th complete Grand Boucle.
On y va…!
Below is a little compilation of our journey from 2016…