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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 108 > RANGING WITH BLACKBURN

RANGING WITH BLACKBURN

HOW DO YOU REVITALISE A WELL-LOVED BRAND IN THE RATHER DOWDY WORLD OF CYCLE TOURING? IF YOU’RE BLACKBURN, YOU BRING IN THE AMBASSADORS. AND IF YOU’RE CHIPPS, YOU TAG ALONG TO FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON.

Robin Sansom doesn’t really fit my idea of a brand manager for Blackburn Design. In his checked shirt and shorts, with sandy coloured surfer fringe and flip-flops, he looks more ready to take to the stage with an acoustic guitar to duet with Jack Johnson.

Yet over the last few years, Robin has taken the Blackburn brand from ‘trusted and reliable’ (but a bit dull) to ‘innovative and cutting edge’. One of his pet projects has been the introduction of the Blackburn Rangers – not a new football team, but a yearly influx of brand ambassadors who are sent out into the world to spread the word about the rapidly expanding range of products that the company is producing.

Back in April, I had the chance to follow along and see how Blackburn gets this message over to its new disciples. Refreshingly, this isn’t done in a conference room but in the middle of the redwoods above Blackburn’s home in Northern California.

Drop bars? What is this, grit.cx?
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About Singletrack

UK Adventure: A Dead Good Day Out Pete Scullion follows one of the Lake District’s coffin trails, from graveyard to pub. UK Adventure: Down The Sandstone Way Oli Townsend checks out England’s newest long distance trail. International Adventure: Rumble in the Jungle Jason Miles races across Sri Lanka, fuelled by tea, coffee, and a fear of elephants. Trail Hunter: Through the Bogs of Time Tom Fenton revisits the remote, and rather wet, Doethie Valley. Is it as good as he remembers? Singletrack Room 101 Resident Grumpy Mark presides over your submissions to Room 101. Classic Ride: Avebury, Wiltshire Tom Hutton explores the rolling hills and standing stones, while testing Murphy’s First Law of Mountain Biking. Grouptest: Waterproof Shorts We’ve ground our gussets, soaked our seams, and wet our waistbands in search of shorts to keep our derrières dry. Bike Test: Living the Ti-Life Jason Miles stops stroking and staring at three polished 29er lovelies from J Guillem, Kona and Stanton and takes them out to see whether they ride as well as the look. Through the Grinder An array of goods sprinkled with summer rain, ground in summer mud, and very occasionally exposed to actual direct sunlight. Grinder Bike: Scott Scale 710+ Scott’s plus size hardtail put through mile after mile of testing. International Adventure: Murky Morzine Our Rob heads off on his summer holidays, which prove somewhat damp, but nonetheless fun. International Adventure: Blackburn Rangers Chipps goes riding in the wilderness with the varied characters who will be promoting the Blackburn brand this year.
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