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ClickThruThurs and Women’s Cycling News
By Imelda March
Date: 12/13/2012
ClickThruThurs and Women’s Cycling News
Amber Pierce (Rais) of professional women’s cycling team Pasta Zara-Cogeas-Manhattan shares her personal quest to make inroads on news about women’s cycling worldwide.

Amber Pierce (Rais) is an American professional racing cyclist who lives in Graz, Austria. She blogs for another network; however, we at the Daily Peloton Cycling News enjoy supporting women’s cycling efforts. On her blog she recently answered the question: How can cycling fans better support women's cycling? and came up the brilliant idea of #ClickThruThurs!

She has a B.A. in Human Biology and an M.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University.

Amber took some time to answer a few questions, share her enthusiasm for cycling and to inspire our audience to get involved with her efforts.

DP: Define “clickthruthurs”?

Amber: Click-Thru Thursday came about as a result of so many fans asking the same question: what can we do to help support women's cycling? It's remarkable how many fans aren't content to just spectate, but want to be actively involved in the sport about which we're all so passionate. Click-Thru Thursday is a way that any fan can make a difference by investing just a few minutes a week.

Every Thursday, fans take a few minutes to "click-through" the articles on women's cycling, team websites, athlete pages, programs, affiliated sponsors, and more, and by doing so as a focused, collective effort every week, fans can actually spike the quantitative Return On Investment (ROI) for those companies invested in the sport.

In other words, teams and athletes can show their sponsors concrete numbers indicating how they've increased web traffic - or click-through rates - for their sponsors; likewise, news sites will see better click-through rates on their articles covering women's cycling and be encouraged to provide more coverage for the fans.

I'm emphasizing women's cycling here, because that is the context in which this idea was born; however, I want to make it clear that this initiative is a way for all fans to support ALL the good stuff they see happening in the sport - the great junior programs and races, or teams and programs dedicated to upholding clean sport. Whatever you see out there that is good and worthy, click away!

Fans can post links, articles, sites, sponsors or other good stuff on Twitter using the hashtag #ClickThruThurs, to share with other fans. For now I encourage everyone to post using the hashtag as much as possible, because at the moment, that is how we can track participation.

My hope is that soon we can start tracking the click-through rates as well, to see how different that data is from other days during the week. The bottom line, though, is that fans take a few moments to click-though each Thursday, whether they post using the hashtag #ClickThruThurs, or whether they even log into Twitter or not. Just a few minutes each week will make a real difference, and that is what I really want fans to know: you have the power to create positive change, and this is one very simple, effective and quick way to make a real difference. Your clicks count!

DP: You are working on expanding the Q&A with both Glacier Glove and The Impetus Agency; I wondered if you could provide some data on the impact or number of mentions that “clickthruthurs’ received both on Facebook and Twitter this past week?

Amber: Evan Filler from the Impetus Agency did an analysis of the hashtag #ClickThruThurs and found that last Thursday - the first-ever Click-Thru Thursday - generated over 291,000 estimated impressions on Twitter alone. It's a very encouraging start, and I think we can probably break half a million in short order with a little more awareness and participation.

Cycling fans have so much more influence than they realize, and I hope that this initiative will help that become clear. The sport depends very much upon the fans, and this is a really simple, positive and constructive way that they can support their favorite programs, teams, athletes, sponsors and media sources.

DP: You are plugging Glacier Glove -- please provide specific temperatures in which you have used the Glacier Glove (Waterproof, Super G or Cyclocross)?

Amber: I love the Perfect Curve glove for freezing/sub-freezing temperatures. I have used them on four-hour rides in -5C/23F and had perfectly comfortable hands. What sets them apart from other gloves is not just that they keep your hands warm, but that they give you such good dexterity at the same time: you can shift and brake naturally without the awkward, cumbersome feeling of other winter gloves.

The Super G Race glove is great for racing in freezing (sub-zero up (32F) to around 3C/37F) or cold and rainy (under 5C/41F) conditions; they're thinner and lighter, but still keep your hands comfortably warm and offer arguably even better dexterity. The texture seems like it might get too slick in the rain, but the way the neoprene interacts with wet bar tape and hoods actually gives them the perfect amount of grip for easy, natural handling (as they do in dry conditions too).

The Cyclocross gloves have breathable palms, making these great for shorter races in cold or wet conditions (for example: a winter cyclocross race or early spring criterium), or dry and cold training conditions (around 4+C/39F+). Across the board, I've never found gloves that can match the warmth, comfort and dexterity of these gloves. I love working with this company, because they make a product in which I really believe, and because they are good people who believe in and give back to the sport.

I know I probably sound like I plug them all the time, but that is really only because I believe their products can improve the quality of riding bicycles for anyone. And that is really what it's all about - enjoying the ride!

DP: When can we expect the announcement of the full roster for the Pasta Zara-Cogeas-Manhattan team? From what you are allowed to share, can we expect additions from this side of the pond?

Amber: I would imagine the team will be posting more press releases soon, though I don't know their timetable. You have probably already seen that Amber Neben (United States) has joined the team, and I am really looking forward to racing with her. Also joining the team with more strength for the mountains is Evelyn Garcia (El Salvador). For now what I can say is you'll be seeing the name of yet another American on the roster, as well...

DP: We know that the “clickthruthrus” is a fan based effort, what reaction have you had from the Pasta Zara-Cogeas-Manhattan team sponsors on this front and can we see them been active participants?

Amber: Click-Thru Thursday is an initiative I came up with and want to promote independently of any team affiliation. It is truly a fan-based effort, so it's up to the fans to decide who and what they want to support. Of course, the fan base includes athletes and journalists, too.

The beauty of Click-Thru Thursday is that everyone wins - the sponsors get more visibility and engagement, the teams/athletes/programs get to show greater return on investment (ROI) to their sponsors, and the fans support it all by driving that ROI in the directions of programs that are, in their eyes, doing a great job.

My hope is that in the end, we'll create this great positive feedback loop that will encourage current sponsors to stay involved in the sport, as well as new and potential sponsors to get on board. Our team supports women's cycling as they have for more than 20 years, and as such, they support the idea. But, they support it the same way that any fan would support it - as individual fans and participants coming together to have a positive impact, not necessarily as a women's team, or my team, per se.

DP: What are your plans for 2013?

Amber: I'll be racing for the same team, though the team has undergone some major changes to the program. The team will be called Pasta Zara-Cogeas-Manhattan, and we'll be starting the season with training camp in El Salvador. We'll race the Vuelta Internacional Femenina a Costa Rica/Women’s Tour of Costa Rica, followed by the Grand Prix San Miguel, Vuelta a El Salvador, Grand Prix Grand Saint Bernard/Grand Prix GSB, and the Grand Prix El Salvador. From there, some of the team will race in the U.S., but I'll come back to Europe to do a block including the early spring races, Classica Citta di Padova, the World Cups (Trofeo Alberto and Tour of Flanders/Ronde van Vlaaderen) to name a few. After that, it looks like we'll be doing a big racing block in the U.S., though the details on that remains to be determined (TBD).

Again, in Amber’s own words – “It's #ClickThruThurs! Please take a few minutes to click through the sites of programs/teams/athletes/sponsors you think are good and worthy - your clicks will help keep them going! Remind your fellow fans!

We invite you to follow Amber Pierce (Rais) on Twitter at @ambermalika. Additionally, keep up with the discussion thread by visiting #ClickThruThurs on Twitter.

About the author: An experienced racer, 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 news and general peloton ramblings. She also holds an MBA, is a marketing strategy expert, and is a social media team member/contributor to the Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association.

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