BEAT Cycling Club: a new cycling model
My name is Geert Broekhuize and I am one of the founders of BEAT Cycling Club. I live in Gand, Belgium, but I was born in Holland 33 years ago. I was introduced to the world of cycling at a very young age. Actually, I started my career in sports as a skater. Speed skating is a very popular sport in the Netherlands, and many athletes train in summer by cycling. This is where my passion for cycling began. My first working experience was on a women’s cycling team with the ex-sprinter from Holland Jean-Paul van Poppel.
From there I launched my career in marketing and communications in the world of cycling. In 2009 became the PR director for Cervélo TestTeam; in 2011 I moved to Quick-Step as a marketing manager and in 2013 Team Giant-Alpecin hired me as a communications manager. In 2016 I stepped away from the pro team environment to create something new in the world of cycling and I launched BEAT Cycling Club, together with a group of enthusiasts from both inside and outside the sport.
During my years in marketing and communications at the highest level of the sport, I saw that professional cycling teams were focused primarily on sponsorships and struggling due to their dependence on them; winning races was seen primarily as a way to give sponsors a return on their investment. As a result, the teams virtually ignored the huge audience of amateur cyclists out there, even though there are millions of cyclists looking to connect with the professional sport.
I was intrigued by the idea of building something that would include these amateur cyclists as part of a professional cycling organization.
So the club structure was born; an organization that could also decrease teams’ dependency on sponsors. Actually though, what we’re doing is nothing new; the club structure is the most common model in other sports as well.
BEAT is a cycling club that launched two years ago. The club is growing daily and currently has 1,500 members. We have more than 25 partners supporting the club. BEAT is a club open to all kinds of cyclists. We support them, challenge them, and help them reach their full potential and realize their ambitions as cyclists, using know-how and tools from the professional sphere, since we have two cycling teams racing on the professional level: a UCI Continental road team, racing mainly 1.2, 1.1 and 1.HC races in the Benelux, and a UCI track team that is active on the World Cup circuit.
We are working hard every day to better support our members and to further develop the club and our teams. To have a greater impact, we need to be more well known in the cycling world, and so we have ambitions to create even better professional teams in the future — and who knows? Maybe our road team can be the first cycling club to participate in the Tour de France. That would be something awesome to achieve as a club.
Focusing on the present instead, as a club we want to expand even more in our third year. For the BEAT Road Team: We have had a very successful first year. It is not easy to build something new from scratch, but with our experienced staff members and partners we were able to make some great progress already in our first year, winning two UCI races and achieving several podium places. In 2019 we have five strong new riders on board with whom we can compete, even against Pro Continental teams. For the BEAT Track Team: We have had two outstanding World Cup seasons, winning a total of eight World Cup races and our riders have also been winning European and world championship titles. We are going into an exciting year with the Olympic Games in 2020, so the coming season is important. We aim to go to Tokyo with our riders, and we want to achieve as much success as possible on the way.
We are very happy about our partnership with Selle San Marco. Their line of saddles is perfect for our professional cyclists, but that’s not all. The brand philosophy, called “Comformance”, is developed especially for the “V.N.R. Very Normal Rider”, but it is also very well suited to the members of our club.
Keep following our Club and if you want to sign up you can contact us on our website: https://www.beatcycling.club/en/
Best regards to everyone,