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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 Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

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Places I have been
(
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Australia
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left


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 Written on the road as I travel around the world on my bicycle


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Equipment Pages Index

Introduction
How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel 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
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Kickstands
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Camping
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Clothing
Bike Touring Shorts

Electrical
Short-wave Radio
Computer
Internet
mp3
Bicycle touring lights

Books
Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures
Shopping


See My Videos Here



(see all 3 book)

Obligation

http://www.planetbybike.com/display_article.php?Article_ID=3&Date=2005-02-19

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!

Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice 
(see all Equipment Pages)

Touring Bicycles
Panniers
Racks
Saddles
Tires
Lights

Fenders
Tools and Spares

Tents
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Pedals
Handelbars/Grips

Helmet
Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)


Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads


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