The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions,
and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world.
My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell
books about touring
Where am I?
Photo Use Info
Subscribe to Newsletter
Continue My Travels
Places I have been
(How can I
India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present
/ Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010
Sept 2007 to May 2008
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007
SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006
June 2003 to June 2004
AZ, Mexico, and
March 2002 to April 2003
How I started
The 5 years before I left
Sign up for my RoadNews Newsletter
Written on the road as I travel around the world on my bicycle
Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.
Equipment Pages Index
How Much to Bring and Weight
Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
more about Sponsorship)
HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames
Steel Repair Myth.
and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs
Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets
How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Bike Touring Shorts
Bicycle touring lights
Pictures of Equipment Failures
all 3 book)
It's been a long learning curve into the world of sponsorships. I remember doing
a google search about this topic that literally came up with zero zippo, nada
results. Not even one article from any big shot on this topic. Now, there will
be one because I believe that my experience will keep you away from the pitfall
that I had to go through.
Before you start reading it, ask yourself whether you have the time and energy
to go after sponsorships or whether you really need them. Having sponsorships
also mean more responsibility and pressure to stick to a plan. I decided to go
after sponsorships because I definitely wanted to offset my expenses and I
wanted the experience. I will warn you that it will take you a significant
amount of time not to mention depending on your goals, you might only save a
couple of hundred dollars after hours and hours of writing letters, follow up
calls and frustration with companies. For example, one guy from a bike store
told me that I am no different than a regular customer so why should I give you
a discount? Well, ask your customers if they are going to cycle 18000 miles
around the world promoting your shop along the way! You will definitely learn
how to deal with frustration! If you made it through this paragraph, read on and
learn from my mistakes.
At first, I thought that my trip was so incredible that even banks would chip in
with thousands of dollars. I believe my trip is incredible but the problem is
that it's a trip that I have never done and companies weren't sure if I could
finish being a first time explorer. I was bummed, I carefully prepared
individual letters to big companies that didn't even care to reply. I learned
that my sponsorship strategy would have to change to smaller companies that are
recognized for their support to athletes with a much less ambitious goal.
Equipment donation or discounted merchandise. With that plan in mind, I started
a combination of cold-calling, going door to door, letters, emails contacting
many companies and finally sponsorship started to come in pretty easily and
quickly. Below you will find some tips that I believe were helpful.
First of all, you must ask yourself what your sponsorship goals are and be
realistic. I was expecting a check from ING because they sponsor the Boston
Marathon and they would sure sponsor a bike marathon around the world. That’s
not necessarily how it works. It did not hurt to try but had I spent my energy
with the right strategy in the first place, I’d be much better off and much less
frustrated when opening my mailbox. Set your goals!
Next, if you decide to cold call, make sure that you have a sales pitch ready to
go and a script to leave a message. Most of the times, you will leave a message.
Make sure that your message is clear and explains the objectives of your trip
and most importantly your sponsorship objectives. If you leave a message to
someone saying that you are biking around the world, you will probably not get a
call back. They get tons of similar calls everyday.
Have a sponsorship package ready with all the benefits that you will offer to
your sponsor. Most times, they will ask you to apply with such a package. Mine
can be seen on this web site and feel free to copy whatever you like.
Have a professional web site. I’ve seen many web sites of bike tourers out there
and I can boldly say that mine is one of the best. I spent many hours on it so
that when my sponsors and visitors had a chance to stop by, they would see how
serious I am about my plans. I had many sponsors congratulating me on it and I
am sure they made a decision partially because of my site.
Always go prepared. I am no salesman but when you call someone be prepared with
what you are going to say and be honest. Tell them whether you used their
products, what your expectations are about their equipment, what you will
provide to them.
Have a spreadsheet to track your calls. This is probably the first thing you
should do after setting your goals. Write down the list of companies that you
want to contact along with the dates, a summary of your conversation and the
next steps. Basic organization here!
Don’t give up. Be persistent. If you haven’t heard from them, follow up. Half of
my sponsors did not return my calls or emails but when I followed up, they
remembered me and they were put in the corner because I had the right of at
least a call back. If they were tough, I would ease the laws asking for at least
an employee discount or wholesale value.
Link yourself with a charity and donate all the money to them. It’s a win-win
situation because sponsors like it and you feel great too. Don’t do this only
because you want to get sponsored. There is a whole new set of emotions and
decisions that comes along in choosing a charity.
Lastly, I’d like to say that my strategy would have been much more successful if
I included the US in this trip. Most of my sponsors are internationally
recognized so they will enjoy the international visibility but it would also be
very beneficial for them to enjoy some local exposure as well. I will certainly
try to get a few sponsors from countries that I will pass by but I won’t spend
as much time anymore. I think I reached my sponsorship goals for now.
Good luck to you!
Tips & Advice
(see all Equipment
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground