Interview: CyclingCam talks cycling and vlogging
Cam is a fast-growing British vlogger and cyclist. As part of our month examining the growth of cycling and social trends around it, we’re chatting to some of our favourite cycling content creators. Here’s our past one from Andreas, and now onto Cam…
What motivated you to start vlogging?
For me, I always loved making videos. I remember I got a GoPro when I was about 13, it was the original GoPro hero, and I just enjoyed making videos with my friends. The vast majority were awful edits of us doing dirt jumps on our bikes! Then during high school/sixth form I stopped making videos until a few months ago, that love was sparked once again, and now we have YouTube which is such a great platform to share content on.
How did you build the community?
Consistency and confidence. I get asked all the time ‘how do you gain subscribers and grow your channel’ and my response is simple: consistency and confidence, even if you’re not confident, fake it. Eventually you will become confident. I am not at all a confident person in real life, but I have found my outlet, my way to express myself in vlogging and creating videos. There’s nothing worse than watching a video where someone is talking really quietly and looking shy. People want to watch someone who will entertain them!
What’s your objective now you have an established online community?
I’m still very new to this whole online world, I was never a social media guy in the past, (my Facebook had been deactivated for the past 3 years!) until I started YouTube, and I feel it has opened up a whole new world. So yeah, continue learning, continue growing and generally improving my content.
What’s your biggest frustration?
Meeting the pressures and demands of YouTube’s cut-throat algorithm. If you’re not uploading regularly, your growth rate significantly slows. I still haven’t figured out why! But combine that with balancing a part time job, cycling training and a girlfriend. Sometimes it can get a little bit hectic!
What’s been your most fulfilling moment?
For me, it was hitting 100 subscribers. I’m not driven by views or my subscriber count but I think I had uploaded 50 videos by the time I’d reached that point. Some people are able to achieve that after their first upload, but for me it wasn’t so easy, so it was a proud moment. The first 100 is always the hardest.
Where do you hope to see it go in 2017 and beyond?
In 2017, again I hope to continue my growth. I also would love to start working with some brands, brands I believe in and can really buy into, and showcase them in a creative way on my vlog. Social media is so prominent. So many big brands are moving their advertising to social media and away from other mediums such as TV. I hope to be a part of that transition.
You have a very distinctive visual style: what are your vlog reference points / inspirations?
One thing I have learnt about YouTube is, being unique wins every time. If you’re unique, you will grow. People like to watch new things, simple. But my inspirations are; Jon Olsson, Julien Solomita, Cycling Maven, and of course no YouTuber in 2017 can’t not be inspired by the great Casey Neistat. Finally, Shonduras. I love how he is able to work with brands but still make content people enjoy watching. He is really able to portray a brand’s message in a fun and creative way.
How long do you spend shooting/editing each day?
Shooting a ‘daily vlog’ really is what it say’s on the tin! I shoot throughout my whole day. Typically I will record around one hour of footage that will be edited and condensed into a 7-10 minute vlog. The editing process normally takes between three and four hours.
What’s the pressure of daily vlogging like?
This is still something I am learning to balance! Particularly the stresses of training to compete at a national level. Sometimes this often involves late nights shooting/editing. But I am very lucky I have found a platform where I can combine two things I love, cycling and film. Organisation is a key element to dealing with the pressure too.
How do you see the state of cycling in Britain right now?
Since the success of Cycling at the London 2012 Olympics, the growth of cycling has been phenomenal! Never have I seen so many people out on their bike on a Sunday morning! I think growth has started to slow down in the last year or two but overall, in my opinion, cycling is in a really healthy position. I hope that one day, through the successes of my vlog, I’m able to help promote the sport, and do so in a fun, positive light.
You’ve done quite a bit around Zwift. Do you see online cycling communities as something which can expand the sport’s appeal?
I love Zwift. I am not paid by nor have I ever been paid by Zwift but it really has revolutionised indoor training. Zwift allows me to ride along side my uncle who lives in Northern Ireland whilst I’m in my house. That concept is incredible – mind-blowing. I’ve also hosted YouTube group rides on the software, and it’s really cool being able to ride alongside my viewers, some of whom are from the other side of the world. I think much of the concern at the moment in the UK, with cycling, is the safety. Zwift totally eliminates that. You’re in the comfort of your own home; no traffic to contend with. Also people’s lives are becoming busier and busier so not everyone is able to get out for three or four rides a week. They may be restricted to a Sunday morning for example. Zwift makes cycling so much more accessible so more people. It doesn’t matter if it’s dark and raining outside, it’s always sunny in Watopia (it’s also probably a few degrees warmer)!
What’s your advice to keen cyclists considering taking the step into competition?
Just do it. Don’t expect too much. Just focus on having fun, in time, the results will come. I got into racing by doing closed circuit criteriums. These crit circuits are all over the U.K, so you’re probably not too far from one. They’re really safe – many of the dangerous elements of an open road race are removed, such as the traffic, and junctions.
How much do you love Strava?! (have a read of this post from Nathaniel – he’s really, really loving it…)
When I started cycling, I loved Strava! I also loved chasing KOM’s and moving up the leaderboard on my favourite segment as fitness improved. However, I feel like Strava is at a bit of a stagnation. Many of the leaderboards are littered with ‘fake’ times, whether they drafted a vehicle or recorded a segment whilst in their car. One local climb near me, the KOM averaged 60mph! Strava did try to combat this by adding a yearly KOM, but it didn’t prove successful. It will be interesting to see how they expand in the future. Currently there isn’t any real competition. But maybe that’s exactly what Strava needs. But aside from the negatives, I love sharing my training with my viewers on there. They enjoy interrogating my stats from ride to ride!