University Students Launch Cycling Website|
Collegiate Cycling News (CCN) - the newest entrant into the on-line
world of cycling sports media that will act as a central hub for
information and discussion about collegiate bike racing in the United
Combining a labor of love into
Collegiate, in 2010 there were 295 teams and 4,834 license
holders, 904 of which were women collegiate racers. All these compete
in 11 U.S. sanctioned collegiate bike racing conferences.
What do you do when you cannot find a news source for collegiate
You create your own! The students at the elite
Northwestern University have created and launched—just since
February 7 — a new website,
Collegiate Cycling News (CCN), that is sure to wake up the cycling
One of a growing number of niche Internet sports sites, CCN appeals
to fans disillusioned with the minimal coverage of their favorite
sport. These days, collegiate cycling is seen largely as an untapped
bicycle market that receives little attention within the cycling
While rolling from bike race to bike race, including to national
championships, the Medill students discovered that unity and
communication were the missing ingredients within the collegiate
cycling world. CCN’s founders hope to fill that void while they
fulfill their love for both journalism and collegiate cycling. They
envision CCN as a cycling journalism brand that will attract a
community of followers from around the country--and even the world.
Creating a new brand and attracting followers is typically an
uphill battle. However, these Medill students, who are also members of
the Northwestern University Cycling Team, believe that their niche
site will succeed and are counting on advertisers that are always on
the hunt for sites that have specialized audiences.
Collegiate cycling is comprised mainly of small schools. “It’s not
a mainstream ball sport, so you get a lot of schools that aren’t major
players in basketball or football, and they have an opportunity to get
their name out there,” said Jeffrey Hansen, USA Cycling’s Collegiate
program manager.” And that’s how collegiate cycling schools see it, as
a recruiting tool/advertising tool. Because how often have you heard
of Mars Hill College or Lees-McRae College or Fort Lewis College
outside of the world of cycling?
The Daily Peloton Cycling News first learned about plans for
the site via the USA Cycling Newsletter and quickly became interested
in helping CCN founders spread the word about their project. We spoke
with current CCN staff members Scott Rosenfield and Alexandra “Axie”
Daily Peloton: Tell me about this project. Who’s idea was it and
how long have you been planning it?
Collegiate Cycling News
(CCN) is a website designed for collegiate cyclists by collegiate
cyclists that provides a central hub for information and discussion
about athletes participating in collegiate cycling in the United
DP: How many other people are involved with the CNN team?
To date, we have approximately 25 contributors based around the U.S--all
students who race at the collegiate level. However, CCN is always
looking for contributors. Although the largest firms in the U.S.
utilize boards of directors and/or advisors, we want CCN to be
completely a student-run project. Yes, we have told some of our
professors about the project but what makes this project special is
that it is collegiate-run.
We got lots of help from Jeffrey Hansen, USA Cycling’s collegiate
program manager, who provides guidance as to who we should be reaching
out to build the collegiate cycling community. We would be remiss if
we did not mention Joseph Hooker who currently serves as our web
DP: What is your background in publishing? Have you been
involved with a project like this elsewhere?
We have not done anything like this in the past. However, Scott
brings writing and reporting expertise from being a feature sport
writer/contributor to Cyclocross (CX) Magazine.
Axie Navas wrote for the Vail Daily in her home state of Colorado;
in addition to being a media representative for USA Cycling
DP: Are you on the collegiate racing team?
Yes absolutely! We race for the
University Cycling Team, a club team, which participates in the
Midwestern Collegiate Cycling
Conference (MWCCC) . The MWCCC is among the largest competitive
conferences, with over 40 members who compete in road, track, mountain
bike, and cyclo-cross disciplines.
Our team prides itself with attracting students who have never
ridden a bike before and showing them the ropes and watching them
develop their athleticism.
DP: Are you a scholarship cycling team or a club team?
We are a club team that exists due to support from Higher Gear,
Blue Grass and Griffin Strategic Advisors.
Northwestern University Cycling Team competes as part of the USA
Cycling Collegiate recognized Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference,
one of 11 collegiate cycling conferences. A school’s division status
is based on the number of full-time enrolled students; as a result,
schools may compete in Divisions I or II.
DP: Do you have any succession plans in place? Who will take
over when you graduate?
Yes, we have been giving that concept a thought and we realize the
importance of looking into the future management of the CCN. We aim to
look for and groom an editor yearly to step up to larger
responsibilities by creating content and posting.
DP: What kind of content will you produce?
We will utilize a multi-pronged concept by creating content that
relates to our target audience--collegiate cycling students. The most
obvious content we aim to gather is nationwide bike race reports. In
addition, one our goals for content development includes connecting
other bloggers to our site.
DP: Are you going to profile all the men/women who went from
collegiate cycling to pro cycling teams?
As we said, we want to create a collegiate cycling community while
at the same time expand into the wider market later in the process.
DP: How will you measure success?
We feel that our success will be when we are able to continue the
flow of information during the months of May to August into each new
season. This is where other websites have failed in the past and we
think that bridging mountain bike and cyclo-cross news at the
collegiate level is an excellent medium for a continued collegiate
cycling conversation. Then, when we get to the national championships,
we are hopeful that there will be more of a sense of community because
of our online discussions.
DP: Are you going to write about collegiate bike racing students
whose goal is to make the Olympic team and represent the U.S.?
We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin but we will have some
coverage on that level. Our goal is to cover the entire spectrum as
well as capture human stories from all around the collegiate cycling
DP: What type of journalism job will be of interest to you after
this project (sport writer or main stream news?)
Axie: I have a passion for both cycling and journalism and if it
helps me down the road to get a job with the National Geographic that
would be good.
Scott: I plan to earn a law degree and then explore politics.
DP: To your knowledge, are there any collegiate cycling historic
rivalries? If so, who or what are they?
Since collegiate cycling is a new sport, the rivalry that exists in
the MWCCC is between Marian University and the rest of us (the teams).
We plan on keeping an eye on the issue and report back to our
DP: What outreach programs are you using and how will you
We will have a link on the USA Cycling website coupled with the use
of Google Groups and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and
Flickr. Hopefully, we will also connect with important people in the
cycling community, gain an understanding of how today's media
technology works, and continue to pour our time into our labor of
love–Collegiate Cycling News.
DP: How many hours are you dedicating to the CCN website?
We are currently averaging 21 hours a week on the CCN website. This
does not include our training and academic work.
Learn more about Collegiate
Follow discussions by visiting Daily Peloton Cycling News on Facebook
Ride and Learn: Marian University
Ride and Learn: Mars Hill College
Ride and Learn: Lees-McRae
About the author: Imelda March lives in Chicago and is a
member of Team Kenda. She is a frequent contributor to The Daily
Peloton Cycling News team, reporting on women’s cycling issues and
general peloton ramblings. Imelda is an experienced racer who also
holds an MBA and is a marketing strategy expert.
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