What is CrankedUP? It’s the question thousands are asking since the launch of one of the most ambitious events to hit the cycling world in years.
In short, it’s a new kind of cycling festival, combining online turbo action with music and entertainment.
Wiggle is just one of the partners supporting the CrankedUP team’s ambitous plans, joining a number of charities including Cure Leukaemia, Pancreatic Cancer UK, Action Medical Research, and Macmillan.
And, on December 20, Wiggle will be taking part and hosting a room you can visit to win prizes, meet the team, and race against some special guests.
To get the full low-down on everything that’s taking place on the day, we spoke to the event’s organiser and mastermind, Keith Williams.
A committed cyclist and accomplished tech genius, Keith explained what’s happening and when, and what the experience will be like for those of you that can’t wait to sign up.
Keith Williams is cranked-up for CrankedUP
Wiggle: Tell us a little about the CrankedUP experience – what can people expect?
Keith Williams: Certainty. We want to bring the certainty of a real festival feeling, leveraging the demand that riders have for using indoor trainers and adding in new Zoom and digital production technology.
Key elements a rider will get are a demanding challenge with an entertainment element, just like you get at a physical event, but bigger! An experience that is high energy, positive, fun, inclusive and exciting leading into Christmas.
Riders will be at home riding a virtual course either solo or in teams of two, three, or four, challenging themselves to ride as far as they can on a course of their choice within two, six, or 12 hours.
Only one rider on a team can take the saddle at any one time which makes changeover critical and tense, adding another dimension to the race.
W: What will the experience be like for those taking part – what will they be able to see and do?
KW: A new cycling world they haven’t seen before! On the day, each rider and team will enter a virtual arena via their screens at home. It’ll feel like a festival with multiple stages.
From there it begins. Riding virtual courses together with multiple virtual stages and rooms where riders will see all the other competitors around the world on video. You can connect directly with other teams in virtual rooms and chat and meet new riders.
Riders will be able keep up to date with live leader boards of solo and team results. Every rider will experience a main stage of MCs, live music, and DJ mixes throughout the day.
We even have a big name and resident Wiggle DJ Grant Plant!
Riders will also have the choice of virtual rooms they can drop in and out of from our partners where options are either to ride with awesome people, just hang out, watch gear talk, listen to inspirational stories, and discover exclusive content as you rest.
As with all events, every rider will prepare as they would for a normal event, with drinks, energy bars, gels, and turbo towels – It’s going to be a real race feeling.
W: Is it only for experienced riders? Who should get involved?
KW: It is for any rider that has a turbo and app that connects to Strava – anywhere in the world. Essentially, it’s for people that love a challenge and love good music. Friends and family can pop along too to watch their loved ones and also have a great time!
W: How will the ‘rooms’ work? Can anyone join any other room?
KW: We will have a rider production hub where all of the public shows and rooms will be available. It is literally drop in and out anytime, and as many times as you like as a rider, rider-in-waiting, or a guest.
In each room, riders will have lots of tools that allow for chats, video content, polls, catch up on social media hashtags, matching with other riders based on interests, access to leader boards, and more.
There will be what we call “main stages” and “private rooms”. Main stages will be where all the music DJs and MCs are hanging out playing mixes, plus partner rooms such as the Wiggle stage where planned giveaways, games, and entertainment will be happening live.
Main stages will include your favourite riders’ pain cave and they’ll be publishing the course they are riding so riders can join them. Private rooms are available for riders and teams that want smaller intimate settings for strategy, syncing, and chatting.
Family and friends will have access to main stages and private rooms for their team.
W: Where did the idea for CrankedUP come from?
KW: That Covid! Having two Ironman events cancelled, I took to VR Ironman races and Redbull Timelaps. They had the challenge but I was still on my own. It was missing that human-to-human connection and entertainment element which makes an event feel like a real event.
So, I created my own music and online stadium experience with music with friends using Zoom. We created magic without knowing it, so we had to take it to the masses – now we call it CrankedUP.
W: What do you hope CrankedUP will achieve?
KW: The most fun a rider has ever had on a turbo, leaving everyone addicted and wanting more. And, of course, connecting the world together through cutting-edge cycling experiences while making cycling accessible and fun for more people. If we could also achieve raising lots of money for good causes, that would be awesome too.
W: What will those taking part get out of it?
KW: An unforgettable experience that brings a new level of cycling and comradery.
W: What are the long-term goals for CrankedUP – Do you think virtual events will continue in a post-pandemic 2021?
KW: Yes. CrankedUP will go beyond COVID-19 and we see it working in parallel and complementing physical events. We want to create the best virtual cycling festival to bring 100,000s of riders and spectators together around the world into one place.
Our plans are to have a winter series and then begin to evolve CrankedUP into a real e-gaming experience where we can produce a combined physical and virtual arena with in-game elements.
CrankedUP takes place virtually throughout the world on December 20 and taking part is just £10 per entrant.