If you’ve ever searched the word ‘bike’ into the website Kickstarter, you’ll know that there is no shortage of technological innovation out there which aims to improve cycling safety and experience for recreational riders. From a new type of clipless pedal, to the smallest yet loudest bell imaginable, as well as every type of light you could ever ask for; there’s no end to the new cycling inventions you could choose to fund if you fancied it.
But with such growth in helping us to enjoy the experience of riding our bikes, why is the experience of watching professional cycling remaining so stagnant? Why has there been so little improvement in cycling broadcasting from the dodgy and often inaccurate distance and time graphics?
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This was the essence of part of a speech made by UCI president Brian Cookson last week, as he addressed the SportAccord convention – a union for international sports organisations.
“One of the biggest challenges – not just for cycling, but for many sports – is the need to evolve while staying true to the essence of your sport,” Cookson told the convention, “How do you progress and embrace innovation, particularly in sports presentation, in order to make the spectator and viewer feel even more engaged; to be drawn in, and to want more?”
With sports like football revolutionising the way viewers consumed live broadcast in the early 1990s, its no real secret that cycling has significantly lagged behind in that regard and has not capitalised on broadcast capabilities to propel the sports popularity further. But how does Cookson propose to improve the situation?
“In cycling we will look at technology such as cameras on bikes and in team cars to see how they can be used to enhance the viewer experience,” said the UCI president.
“Imagine being able to share the view of Chris Froome as he rose up Mont Ventoux or came up the Champs-Elysees to win last summer’s Tour de France? And why stop at cameras – what about having microphones on bikes?
If we, as leaders of our sports, cannot think out of the box and have this kind of discussion in good faith then we certainly run the risk of seeing our sports stagnate” he added.
So what do you, the viewer, think? Is it time to innovate the way we watch cycling or are these gimmicks that might not stand the test of time?
Let us know what you think in the comment section below or in the forum thread here.