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The Gran Fondo and Sportive Experience: an Exploratory Look at Cyclists' Experiences and Professional Event Staging

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There has recently been a significant upsurge in popularity in cycling with not only increased participation evident but also new participants taking up cycling, especially in the UK, parts of Europe, US, and Australia. The branch of cycling that has witnessed the largest growth, in both numbers of events and participants, is the “gran fondo” or “sportive” cycle event. However, very little is known about either the organization of these events or the cultural experiences of cyclists participating in them. The focus of this article is to provide an exploratory narrative of the characteristics of a gran fondo or sportive, explored via a participant observation approach and interpreted through the use of experience theory. Drawing upon the exploratory stage of a larger “experiential ethnography” of cyclists at these types of events, the article presents observation findings from 12 event days to identify key characteristics of these events as experienced by participants. These are understood and contextualized within a discussion around the nature and concept of event experiences and related to the need for professional event organizers to identify experience components by applying models of experience within a management framework.
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Keywords: CYCLE EVENTS; EVENT EXPERIENCE; EVENT MANAGEMENT; GRAN FONDO; SPORTIVE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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