#VOOM 2016

Returning from a well-deserved holiday on the 9th of May meant I had only one day left to submit my Virgin Media VOOM pitch before deadline. So without an internet in my newly rented home, I tethered a wifi connection from my phone, enabling me to upload a video I’d made in a day on the kitchen table.

Fading out around the minute mark is one of its imperfections; however, it was the best I could do in the given time frame and feeling it communicated the idea well enough, I pitched it.

Interspinning

The idea was born after being forced to move further out of London due to increasing property prices. Instead of cycling to work free of charge as I previously had, I’ll now be joining the many commuters travelling into the city from further a field than zone six. Which means I’ll spend a lot more time sedentary whilst paying a hefty rail fee. I wanted to combine exercise with my commute and be healthier after calculating how much free time I’d have if I then wanted to the gym after a day travelling to and from work.

Training on a train?

I’d tweeted Richard Branson directly earlier in the year, before I knew anything about the #VOOM competition:

rich

VOOM is a nationwide competition to find and support Britain’s brightest businesses – with a £1 million prize fund for the lucky winners who receive enough public votes online.

No more than 75 hours after pitching, I read via the news that Fitness First funded 1Rebel had picked up my pitch, altered it slightly and were running it. Within a few days they had more than 20,000 social media shares of news stories covered by The Evening Standard, Bloomberg, The Drum, Metro, Mashable, Huffington Post, Digital Trends, StylistBrit CoBikeBiz, Londonist, Yahoo, to name a few. A NBC journalist in New Jersey had even written an article about this ‘fantastic’ idea for CNBC.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 20.34.24

In just a few weeks ‘Ride2Rebel’ had 12486 people in line for tickets, according to their websitehttp://ride2rebel.london, a domain that was registered on the very same day I uploaded my pitch to VOOM. 10th of May 2016:

10may

Coincidence?

I began to watch their PR machine gather momentum whist my own VOOM pitch struggled to reach a pitiful 44 votes. I decided to try to contact James Balfour and Giles Dean at 1Rebel to ask them if I could be involved in my money spinning idea.

1rebel_1

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12_luxury_boutique_gym_1rebel_by_studio_c102_london_yatzer

king

Lo and behold

My attempts went ignored and as the closing date of the Virgin competition drew closer I had to try and drum up the 756 votes I needed to get noticed by Richard, whilst resigning myself to watching their conceptual drawing of something I’d made on the kitchen table travel around the globe

1rebela

1reblang11lastrebe

I don’t want to sound like I’ve sour grapes, but I had my reservations about the whole thing from a health and safety point of view anyway. Besides, who’d pay £12-£15 to ride a bus with a bicycle onboard when you can ride the streets, gratis? Surely only the most foolish of Londoners? The kind that gives things away for free?

There were some fantastic pitches and deserved winners in this years competitions. Quite a few cycling ones too. If only I’d of contacted The Great Outdoor Gym Company about combining forces and using bikers energy to power the bus/train, then maybe that would have been a winning formula?

More here: https://www.vmbvoom.com/winners

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