In the implementation of the program of the project initiative for partnership and cooperation of five organizations – two from Bulgaria and one each from Romania, France and Germany, the focus was set out on three main activities, namely:
- Network cooperation of interested parties – through cycling sports clubs from partner countries;
- Promoting, identifying and sharing good practices from partner sports organizations;
- Meetings, events and activities to raise awareness during partners cooperation;
The activities described in the project “BIKE – Biking Innovation and Knowledge for Everyone” complement each other and are implemented at the same time and their differentiation and proper implementation is as follows:
- Preparation stage
The preparation activities for the proper and appropriate implementation of the “BIKE – Biking Innovation and Knowledge for Everyone” project, followed the project proposal and were as follows:
- exchanging correspondence for specifying of detail and in depth the various logistical and organizational commitments of the partners from Bulgaria, Romania, France and Germany, through the group leaders;
- held a preliminary conference webinar with all the heads of the organizations involved in the project to clarify the responsibilities, organizational issues and expected results described in the project proposal from the implementation of the initiative;
- selection according to pre-defined criteria, of participants in each partner organization – for the partner sports teams – 10 participants, and for “Letets Hristo Toprakchiev” Secondary school – Bulgaria – 3 members of the school management directly involved in the sport cycling
- preparation meetings were held to allocate tasks related to full participation in project activities.
- Agreements drawn up (declarations signed) outlining the responsibilities of each, in order to avoid the risk of non-performance of any of the activities
To all participants have been prepared and sent guidelines by the coordinating organization for the preliminary preparation of the things, which they are committed to present at the cross-border meetings. Part of the preliminary preparation was also the development of advertising and other visualization materials, the creation of a logo in conjunction with the donors logo – EU and Erasmus + Sport and the slogan of the project. All materials – banners, flags, posters, brochures, badges that will be used to identify themselves to the local community were made with these logos, as well as the logos of the participating sports clubs.
The Bulgarian partner organizations held several organizational meetings before the first international meeting to specify the schedule and the program.
- Second stage – first cross-border meeting
The actual implementation of the “BIKE – Biking Innovation and Knowledge for Everyone” initiative was realized in two directions, as follows:
Module 1: Meeting of partners in the country coordinator – Bulgaria. The event was hosted by SDRUZHENIJE SPORTEN KLUB DRAG – Sofia and Sredno uchilishte “Letets Hristo Toprakchiev” – Bozhurishte. The cross-border meeting took place between 01.03.2019 and 04.03.2019 with 39 total participants, with two of the selected participants, both from the German and Romanian sports clubs, not being able to participate:
Bulgaria – SDRUZHENIJE SPORTEN KLUB DRAG – Sofia – 10
– Sredno uchilishte “Letets Hristo Toprakchiev” – Bozhurishte – 3
France – Martigues Sport Cycling – Martigues – 10
Romania – Clubul Sportiv Intersport – Miercurea Ciuc – 8
Germany – SSV Gera 1990 e.V. – Gera – 8
The meeting was opened at 10 am by the representatives from Bulgaria on 01.03.2019 with the official hanging of “martenitsi” to the participants from Germany, France and Romania according to the old Bulgarian tradition for the First of March – “Baba Marta”. This is a beautiful holiday, when all of Bulgaria is colored with red and white, symbolizing respectively the power, blood, sun and warmth and the good start and light respectively. Today, the “martenitsa” is a symbol of love, health and long life: in white, the purity of relationships between people is woven, and red brings the warmth of friendship. That is why the Bulgarian participants used this symbolism to show their partners their personal attitude and achieved their goal – the mutual introduction and acquaintance to be in the spirit of friendship, oneness and sportsman spirit. This was followed by a presentation of the Erasmus + Sport program, the logo and slogan of the project and a presentation of the partner organizations themselves in historical terms.
The introduction part ended at 11 am, and after sort break, from 11:30 am, the German representatives held a lecture on “Pedagogical approach as a tool for upgrading knowledge in cycling sport for managers and coaches”, followed, as scheduled from 12:30 until 13:00, by a Demonstration Module – technical requirements for bicycles and equipment used in competitions according to the International Cycling Union (UCI), problems with abuses in sporting events and the fight against technical fraud, manipulation, doping and racial or sexual discrimination in cycling competitions Dragomir Kouzov, Bulgaria.
The official opening continued with a press conference from 14:30 until 15:00 in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, where Deputy Minister Stoyan Andonov welcomed the representatives of the partner sports cycling clubs. The program continued at 16:00 with practical demonstrations with Dobri Despotov from Bulgaria, finishing at 18:30. The day ended with official group dinner, where participants continued to get to know each other and share their experiences, learning to craft the symbols of friendship – the “martenitsi”.
The second day 02.03.2019 continued with an initiative that emerged in the preparatory phase – a demonstration day, under the leadership of Dobri Despotov on the track of Kolodrum Plovdiv (European Capital of Culture 2019). For this purpose, with the assistance from SDRUZHENIJE SPORTEN KLUB DRAG, a transport from Sofia to Plovdiv was organized and bicycles were provided for all participants from the sports clubs partnering in the project. The demonstrations lasted from 11:00 to 16:00, after which the participants had the opportunity to get familiar with the sights of the city of Plovdiv – its historical and cultural heritage.
The third day 03.03.2019 started with the Bulgarian national anthem in honor of the Third March – the national holiday of Bulgaria – the day of its Liberation from five centuries of Turkish slavery – with a brief informative talk about its essence: uniting the Bulgarian people in one common cause, in one celebration and under the banner of common ideals and values. The day continued with a lecture from 10:30 to 13:30, held by Sebestyen Szabolcs from Clubul Sportiv Intersport – Romania, who presented their uniquely developed program covering three Olympic cycles (for a 12-year period) training professional athletes. The session also looked at programs for engaging young children for a healthy lifestyle by cycling, implementing innovative training sessions with a demonstration module.
In the afternoon from 15:00 to 18:00 the French lecturers presented their socially active methods of involving marginalized groups in cycling with an emphasis on attracting and retaining volunteer activists, their open policy for the mobility of coaches and managers in the lecture “Modern problems in cycling sport in EU”- Jaussaud Vincent, France.
The evening was dedicated to the national holiday of Bulgaria and a movie was screened to the visiting partner organizations, ending with a gala dinner and festive fireworks.
The last day of the first transnational meeting 04.03.2019 was summarizing, starting at 10:30 with meeting with the managers to discuss the data from the classes held and to set the parameters for the next meeting in Germany. From 11:30 to 14:30 followed a meeting Sredno uchilishte “Letets Hristo Toprakchiev” – Bozhurishte, where a Practical and Demonstration Day was held – presentation of sporting methods and techniques for training athletes – to help coaches. All participants were actively involved in the demonstrations: coaches, managers, competitors and athletes from the cycling clubs of the project partners. Pupils from the school and their parents also participated in part of the demonstration in order to promote cycling.
Participants, volunteers and supporters, were given T-shirts, hats and flags with the logo of the project, the EU and Erasmus + Sport and the partner clubs
- Stage Three – Intermediate Period Activity between the two transnational meetings.
Within this period, despite the highly active sports season full of various events, competitions, processions and cycling tours, work was also done to put into practice within the sports clubs the lessons learned from the first 5-side meeting. In the active outdoor sports season, under the guidance of cycling club leaders, techniques and approaches were applied, building on the knowledge and skills acquired so far at national level. Various management and coaching approaches have been tested and the results achieved at local level were analyzed. In order to assist, inform and consult on the implementation of the project activities during this stage, the team worked actively through webinars and conference calls. There was also a demonstration sports initiative at Sredno uchilishte “Letets Hristo Toprakchiev”, attended by children from the whole school.
- Stage Four
The meeting of cycling sports clubs in Gera, Germany, which had to be withdrawn and actually took place between 04.10.2019 and 07.10.2019. The meeting could not be attended by two of Romania’s representatives, which were replaced as a number, together with the missing representatives from the first meeting, by SDRUZHENIJE SPORTEN KLUB DRAG, taking responsibility as initiator and coordinator of the project. Thus, the total number of participants was 47, as follows:
Host Germany – SSV Gera 1990 e.V. – Gera – 10
France – Martigues Sport Cycling – Martigues – 10
Romania – Clubul Sportiv Intersport – Miercurea Ciuc – 8
Bulgaria – SDRUZHENIJE SPORTEN KLUB DRAG – Sofia – 16
– Sredno uchilishte “Letets Hristo Toprakchiev” – Bozhurishte – 3
Day 1 – 04.10.2019
With the arrival of all participants in the meeting, from 10:00 to 12:30 the Vice President of the German team presented the model of management of Cycling Sport Association SSV Gera (Germany).
After lunch break, from 14:00 to 16:00 the hosts presented good practices in the management and administration of their team, after which the participants visited the hosts’ sports base SSV Velodrome from 16:00 to 17:00: 00 hours and held demonstrations of different techniques. The host base is provided for free by the municipality and has its own velodrome and a huge saloon with all the necessary equipment for conducting an indoor training, room with bicycle ergometers, changing rooms and bathrooms, equipped with everything you need.
The day ended with a 50 km procession – a cycling tour of the outskirts of the town of Gera, for which the local community was informed by through leaflets and, despite the cold and rainy weather, willing followers cyclists joined it also. All participants, volunteers and supporters involved were given T-shirts, hats and flags with the logo of the project, the EU and Erasmus + Sport and the partner clubs.
Day 2 – 05.10.2019 started from 09:00 to 11:00 with a lecture by Hristo Zaikov from Martigues Sport Cycling France on Volunteering and Mobility in Cycling.
The presentation continued with the positive experience of SSV Gera in attracting volunteers – 5 of their coaches pursue their activities completely free of charge. From 11:00 to 12:30 there were role-playing demonstrations in which mixed teams from different countries were formed, with German trainers making two special demonstrations for outdoor training with tactical activities and in SSV Gera complex – a demonstration indoor training in bad weather, which was filmed by local television, broadcasting a two-minute media report on the “BIKE – Biking Innovation and Knowledge for Everyone” project.
From 14:00 to 16:00 Mr Zaikov presented the capabilities of Martigues Sport Cycling – France for continuity and the mobility opportunities they offer to managers and coaches.
In order to introduce the other participants to the local customs and morals the hosts had organized a visit to Gera Hohlerfest from 16:00 to 18:30 – a local festival with people dressed in their traditional costumes, where the participants merged with the environment, push the limits of linguistic, cultural, ethnic and gender differences, creating friendships and carrying that euphoria to an organized dinner.
Day 3 – 06.10.2019 Starts from 09:30 to 12:30 with a lecture by Mr. Dragomir Kouzov (Bulgaria) and Bernd Herrmann (Germany) on “Innovative Ideas and Their Implementation in Cycling Sports”. For lunch, participants had to prepare their own lunch – grill and sandwiches – as a team (all other lunches were prepared by the volunteer parents at the SSV Gera base).
After 14:00 until 17:30, innovative interactive training models were presented – virtual via mobile devices. Demonstration sessions were held on how virtual tours can be conducted through the interactive model. This innovative strategy was demonstrated by the coordinating organization SDRUZHENIJE SPORTEN KLUB DRAG Bulgaria, and Mr. Herman presented his know-how in the pedagogical approach to improving coaching techniques.
Day 4 07.10.2019 The last fourth day was set as a Demonstration Day, which started from 10:00 to 12:30 with the exchange of coaching practices, sports methods and techniques at SSV Gera camp.
After lunch break, from 13.30 to 15.00, the hosts screened a film about the growth of a competitor from Shimano team “Nieuwe Helden”. The film presented his career as a cyclist – from the way he started, his diet, his training, his relationships with his teammates. It was emphasized on how important it was in difficult moments he could count on his teammates and despite the fact that he compete alone, many successes were due to the team’s coaches and managers, which during competitions communicate with each other and guided him, which led to the winning of the Tour de France.
In conclusion of the cross-border meeting from 16:00 to 17:00, Dragomir Kuzov, as project manager and manager of the coordinating organization SDRUZHENIJE SPORTEN KLUB DRAG, delivered a summarizing and inspiring closing speech, motivating the participants to work in a team, doing their best to make cycling from sport to lifestyle.
- Stage five – Post project activities
The current partnership had an impact at national and international level. The implementation of the project provided an opportunity to precisely define and analyse problems in cycling management. Recommendations were gathered for each partner organization, with measures to improve the management capacity of their sports club. The exchanged good practices, methods and programs to promote cycling as a sport for all were summarized, with focus on developing and creating young athletes – competitors. All the information about the activities and the results of the events in the “BIKE – Biking Innovation and Knowledge for Everyone” project, are published on the websites of the partner organizations, Facebook and others social medias. Good practices in volunteering also were shared and published. A comprehensive strategy was drawn up, bringing together and building on all methodologies gathered from the cross-border partners, uniting efforts for clean and fair sport, involving people of all ages, free from prejudices, and orientated for healthy and active way of living in a more environmentally friendly planet.
MobilityHristo Zaykov started his career in Bulgaria, winning the emblematic tour of Bulgaria 6 times. This makes him one of the best competitors in Eastern Europe. After the fall of the Iron Curtain (geographical mobility was a great test for athletes and coaches), in 1999 he began his career with the French team Martigues as a sports director.During the meetings he told us about his experience in attracting competitors from Eastern Europe to France. An example is Nikolay Mihaylov from Bulgaria. With the help of Zaykov, he developed a successful professional career at Martiques. In his interview, he says:”In France, I came across many people in the team of Hristo Zaykov. He has made me the competitor I am today. I am very grateful to him for everything he has done for me.”After a strong start from France, Nikolay Mihaylov continues his career in other European teams. He was an honorary guest of the press conference in Bulgaria, Sofia. Now Nikolay Mihaylov v’s main goal is to spread the experiences and practices he learned during his career outside Bulgaria. He is also a patron of the children of Sdruzhenije sporten klub Drag, and when he is in Bulgaria he finds the time to impart his knowledge in training and good skills in cycling disciplines, by incorporating individual qualities into the team aspirations of sports clubs.Mr Zaykov is a good example of mobility for coaches and managers, proving that, with well-defined goals, any good coach and manager can be realized regardless of which country in the territory of the European Union is located.But things are two-way. Not only does he teach, apply and disseminate good practices from Western Europe, but he also successfully implements the “Strict” sports practice from Bulgaria, which helps him a lot in building many successful athletes. Nowadays, competitors need to have “rigorous” discipline so that they cannot resist the temptations of modern society. Currently, another Bulgarian athlete, Ventsislav Venkov, is training in the Martique team. He attended both meetings in Sofia and Gera. Although he is still at the beginning of his sports career, he is already finding ways to spread even the small experience he has gained among his cycling friends from Bulgaria.Peter Mitov is in the management team of Martique. He participated in the second meeting in Germany and spoke about his experience in collecting best practices and successful coaching techniques. Besides being from Bulgaria and having French citizenship and working for Martique, he has a career in the United States, California where he teaches. His experience in this field is very rich and demonstrates his skills in physical demonstrations in the form of training in Gera, Germany. Also, with his transcontinental acquaintances, he quite skillfully attracts team sponsors. The German team has little experience in mobility. The structure of their club is predominantly made up of former club competitors who, along with their sports careers, study and acquire the necessary education. But they have good experience in volunteering. Half of their team is made up of volunteers. Their volunteer coaches work to care for the young generation of cyclists in the various training groups.New type of cycling was introduced to our SSV Gera, and more specifically in the coaches’ remuneration, namely that graduates are paid by local authorities and those who are in the process of training by sponsors. This state-supported financing model is an extremely good practice.Another good practice in the German team is to set clear criteria for the competitors and their future development. Each age group has clear criteria (or points that a competitor must collect during the season). If he does not manage to achieve these results, he is automatically dropped from the team. While in Bulgaria this practice does not exist and anyone can train and compete until he or she has given up or has to be explicitly invited by the coach to leave. This not only burdens the club financially, but also hinders the work of the coach and his assistants.
Volunteering:From the two meetings, it became clear that volunteering in all countries is predominantly parental. They support the teams that train their children. The problem, however, is that, among them, volunteering is not at the level it would like to be.France has the most experience in this area.The competitions organized by Sdruzhenije sporten klub Drag are to the people who are somehow involved in the organization and running of the competition. Only the parents of the children of the club volunteer for this work. But that doesn’t stop the club from organizing some of the most important highway races for amateurs. Sdruzhenije sporten klub Drag also supports children from social and marginal groups for cycling. The partner in this direction is Sredno uchilishte “Letets Hristo Toprakchiev. The school provides training for children from the Home for Social Care in Gurmazovo. The coaches and managers at Sdruzhenije sporten klub Drag with these children and their involvement in the sport of cycling. Sponsorship and financing:Managing sport at a macro level, mobilizing local and government authorities and creating a better, coordinated and coherent sport policy in Europe.Local and government funding in Germany and France is best developed.In Germany, A and B licensed coaches (from the National and Regional Cycling Federation) receive salaries from the government, indicating that the German authorities are fully involved in sports and cycling. In Germany, there is a consistent policy in sport.In France too, the government is providing considerable financial assistance.
In Romania:The Novak Cycling Academy budget are based on two incomes : sponsorships and proiects with city and the county (government money). The sponsorships are based on advertisement, the company’s logo must appear on our cycling jersey, casual clothes, cars and any used materials.
Bulgaria: The most difficult task for all teams is finding sponsors. In Bulgaria, clubs are mainly funded through sponsorship. Different packages are offered to main sponsor, medium and small sponsor, depending on the size of his logo and activity are positioned on club cars, jerseys, advertised on social media. Unfortunately, state funding is not well developed.
Both in Bulgaria and Romania, in order to finance clubs at municipal or government level, clubs must participate in competitions through projects and, if approved, they will be funded. In Romania, the percentage of public funding is around 40%, compared to 20% in Bulgaria.
In France, there are many innovative ways of doing so.1. Printed leaflets, which are distributed in places where there is a large influx of waiting people-dental offices, doctor’s offices, rehabilitation centers, schools. Their motto is to have more sponsors with small sums than to search for a big one.2. Organize tombolas with competitive bidding items.3. There is an annual fee for all club members4. They go to big competitions, where parents of sports gather, where they give out leaflets.
In Romania, the sponsorship keyword is the name of club owner Eduard Novak, and with his ability to persuade people, he manages to attract a lot of sponsors. He is the first and only Paralympic in Romania, which makes him very popular. It also helps him to have a lot of relationships and people who respond to his team funding needs.The same phenomenon is observed in Bulgaria. The club’s sponsors are mostly close and familiar to the club’s owner Dragomir Kouzov. Although not many attempts have been made to attract, large corporate companies such as A1, things are not working out. It may not be for them to sponsor an unpopular kids club, even though the kids at Sdruzhenije sporten klub Drag are some of the best racers. While in Germany the opposite is true. The best efforts are made for the development of child-youth sports and sufficient financial resources are allocated, regardless of whether the children have won many prizes. This is due to the “mindset” of business owners and the benefits they enjoy, which motivates them to be “generous”. For example Mercedes donated 3 new vans to the SSV Gera. All clubs agree that the most important thing when looking for sponsors is to emphasize the idea that this money goes to our children, to their health, even if the results they show are not as important as the fact that this way we protect them from the “modern” temptations among young people – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs. It is also a basic method of combating aggression, racial discrimination and intolerance in sport. Sport teaches discipline, respect, tolerance, teamwork.The meeting in Germany demonstrated innovative interactive training models – interactive smart simulators. Demonstration sessions were held to use special applications to conduct interactive distance training around the world with options for route selection and degree of difficulty. This is done with the help of bicycle simulators and specialized software that allows two or more riders to organize joint rides or races on a pre-selected track. The software can be installed on both a tablet and a mobile phone. This new approach to training is a great help to coaches, since at times when atmospheric conditions are not suitable for outdoor riding or any other outdoor training, they can carry out full-time indoor training.Promoting an ethical approach to the sport of cycling and anti-fraud in racing;
Promoting Cycling among Women to Combat Gender Discrimination and Equal Opportunities in CyclingDuring the meetings, attention was also paid to women in sports and equal opportunities in cycling – there is no gender divide in all teams attending the meetings. On the contrary, they emphasize their equality. They train under the same conditions and are offered equal opportunities.At SK Drag, the best competitor with the most prizes is a girl.The German team also has some pretty good female athletes.