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Why pay to do a ride? Thoughts please, Trollman welcome.(43 posts)

Why pay to do a ride? Thoughts please, Trollman welcome.MB1
Aug 28, 2001 6:57 AM
I was looking at the posts about the Bay Country Century and (not implying anything about this particular ride) it got me thinking. How many rides do you pay to do a year? Is it worth it? Do you get what you pay for?

I used to organize races and rides and lost money on every one. And got few thanks. Now we ride for free and get endless appreciation from the few riders that go with us. What is the difference?

We ride so much nowadays there are few 1 day organized rides that have any appeal. What is the attraction?

Lets talk. Thanks.
It works for me ...Humma Hah
Aug 28, 2001 7:03 AM
I ride a few fun-runs every year. It is a nice change for me. Most of my riding is solo, and even if I ride a small organized ride like yours, I'll usually end up solo most of the way because I'm so slow.

But on a large fun-run, I'll always find some riders about my speed. It gives me a chance to do some pacelining, and chat with some people who're not in a hurry.
Humma, you ain't any kind of slow.MB1
Aug 29, 2001 4:28 AM
Put most of us on your ride and our legs would fall off in no time. Put you on any of our bikes and all we would see is your cloud of dust pulling away in the distance.

I like and admire your ride and your reasons for doing it are quite appealing in their own way.

I'm just hoping you won't hurt me too bad next week (see, I can talk small too) >;-).
unless charitable, pay for support & shirt, sags, etc.Haiku d'état
Aug 28, 2001 7:05 AM
I was astounded at the price of the longer ones i'm considering--and looking at do(u)g's 508, geez...what's the entry fee for something like that? i was talking to the BAM guy last week and didn't realize that the entry fee was several hundred dollars for that event. then he explained to me that he has people spread out in a line across the entire state for a couple days, insurance costs (i think this was the kicker), food/water/gas/communication/blah blah blah.

for me, the appeal of these one-day events (125 mi or less) is the challenge (mountain centuries), distance, company of cyclists, or just having a good event-based goal for the month/year. entry fees of less than $30 are usually incidental.

otoh, motivations for things like the AIDS rides and the lesser ms-150 rides are obvious. i'm paying $50 to ride the 150, raising a good bit at only the expense of shoe leather (actually, wearing out my keyboard and telephone to raise the $), paying for my own hotel room, then doing the ride on top of the rest. the local century and other events aren't fundraisers for charitable events, just fun rides with other like-minded (at least some of 'em) folks and a day full of bike eye candy.

no haiku needed for this one.
They're fun, but they're getting expensiveCRM
Aug 28, 2001 7:21 AM
I like the organized rides for a number of reasons. For one, they're mileposts in the course of a season. Something to gear up for and to get everybody together to do. Another thing is that I just enjoy being around so many cyclists. My group rides are usually four or five people so it's kinda fun to do a ride with several hundred or several thousand other people. It's also nice to have people out on the course with food and water for you and usually something really good to eat at the end of the ride.

On the down side, they're becoming too expensive, especially the charity rides. I used to do a lot of these, probably 8 or 10 last year alone. Seems like the registration fees and minimum donations have skyrocketed this year. I know the money is for charity and that's a good thing, but it still makes it very difficult to do a lot of these events in the course of a season. The local Tour de Cure, for instance, raised their minimum donation from $75 to $125. As a result, there were a lot less riders this year and it wasn't as much fun. The bike club fundraisers are much more affordable, usually no more than $20-$25, and these are the rides I'm finding myself doing more of.
Charity rides, yes there sure are a lot of them.MB1
Aug 28, 2001 7:33 AM
On the other hand I have never seen anything bring new people into cycling like the AIDS rides. But boy does the cost add up if you do a few of charity rides a year.

And how do you feel about having to hit up people for "donations". How long can you keep doing this, or do you just pay it yourself?
I do one charity ride each year and put my all into fundraisingSteve Davis
Aug 28, 2001 8:38 AM
I ride the Pan Mass Challenge ( each year which benefits the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. This is a two day ride that has a pretty steep minimum. This year it was about $2,000, I think. Incredibly, more than 3,000 riders hit the start line this year and we anticipate raising more than $13 million. I have raised over $5000 in each of the last 4 years by sending about 100 letters to family, friends and business contacts. My largest donation this year was $500 and the smallest was $15. People are very generous.

I don't mind hitting people up for this event because I believe the cause is a good one, and because more than 90 percent of the money raised goes directly to the charity. This compares very favorably to the Aids rides, for example, where less than 65 percent of the money goes to the charity (the rest is used for marketing, and ride expenses, etc.).

In addition to this charity event, I will ride in several organized centuries and many, informal long rides with friends.
Good point, % of money going directly to the chairty.MB1
Aug 28, 2001 8:44 AM
Sounds like another very well run ride. How was the support out on the course?

I like your point about the % of the monies raised going to the chairty. Does anyone audit these rides? Do the rides make this information available?
Good point, % of money going directly to the chairty.Bike Fool
Aug 28, 2001 9:15 AM
The MS150 rides do. That's why I participated. The breakdown is 50% goes directly to the local group, 35% goes to the National Headquarters, and 15% is for administrative costs. So, 85% of the money is used by the charity and 15% is used to run the events. I was really leery of getting involved in the late 80's because there were many so-called charity rides out there where 25% was going to the charity and rest was going to pay for somebody's salary, etc.
Good point, % of money going directly to the chairty.Steve Davis
Aug 28, 2001 11:04 AM
MB1, to answer your questions: The support on the PMC was excellent. By far the best I've ever seen. The course was well marked with arrows on phone poles, there were manySAG vehicles and LBS mechanics, and the food was very good.

One of the reasons I think the PMC is so successful is because of the huge amount of volunteers and donated goods and services. As I mentioned, there were over 3000 riders, but there were about 1,500 volunteers as well.

Most charity websites will list the percentage contributed if you look hard enough.
Usually just pay myselfCRM
Aug 28, 2001 9:49 AM
I really hate asking people for money, even for good causes. It's just that we're all bombarded with requests for money all the time and I don't want to add to it. If you donate to a charity, the next thing you know you're getting dozens of unsolicited letters and requests from every charity on the planet and they never stop. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad for anybody to solicit donations for these rides. In fact, that's the way it's supposed to work, I guess. I just don't enjoy doing that myself and I would rather pay out of my own pocket.
Sometimes you come out aheadbuck
Aug 28, 2001 8:07 AM
Take last weekend. $25 walk up fee. Water bottle, fruit, yogurt, t shirt (100% cotton!), bottled water. Police escort out of town with 350+. Fast paceline guiding me over 100 miles of beautiful NEW cycling terrain. SAG stops loaded with fruit, cookies, nutrigrains, water, sports drinks, PBJ, etc. Hot showers and all you can eat pizza at the end. Not a bad day at all.
Is that the rule or the exception?MB1
Aug 28, 2001 8:40 AM
Sounds like a really well run event. What ride was it and is that level of support common where you ride?

Around here there are so many rides they are beginning to compete with each other. I am particularly looking for thoughts about the "Charity" rides that want/require you to raise monies above and beyond the entry fee.

And what do you think of the part of the AIDS rides marketing (ImPossible?) that focuses on how much of an unusual or extraordinary effort it requires to complete one of their rides. I have always taken a great joy in riding and even when I first started I could do those distances if I had all day to do them. I am not sure of the benefit to the sport from giving people the idea that this stuff is grueling. I thought the idea was to have fun doing something healthy and rewarding.

Look at the posts below from the first and second year riders and how much they have done and all the fun they have had. If it were so terribly difficult would anyone be doing this?
one of the better onesbuck
Aug 28, 2001 9:11 AM
Hot 100 in Murfreesboro, TN. Eexcellent ride. I like rides that benefit the local cycling club and community. I am very skeptical of the big "fundraiser" type rides. Faster racers tend to use local centuries as training and it gives us non racers a chance to test ourselves. As far as a difficulty goes, it really depends on how fast you do the ride. There is a tremendous difference between turning in a 6 hour time and breaking 5 hours on a century. If you can hang with the fast group your finishing times can drop closer to 4:30. A lot of the riders who compromise "teams" on large fundraiser rides are culled from the office cubicles of corporate America and are often not very atheletic to begin with. In this case a century or 150 mile 2 day ride is a HUGE accomplishment. Most people who are tuned into this message board have more than a passing interest in cycling and can do these rides fairly easily.
Aides Ride Marketing...Kristin
Aug 28, 2001 11:39 AM
hmmm... You say that the Aids Ride was marketed as a difficult ride in your area? The Heartland ride was marketed heavily to novice riders here in Chicagoland. I was concerned about this. In mid April, I'm hearing radio adds stating that people who don't even own a bike could still consider doing the Heartland Ride in July! I thought this was unrealistic and irresponsible marketing. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm not sure I could have done that ride even with two previous years of light riding.
Yes Marketing.MB1
Aug 28, 2001 12:03 PM
Does riding really need marketing? Certainly not marketing that misrepresents the difficulty of the sport one way or the other.

That's it! Let's forgive the lawyers and hate the marketers!

I am pretty sure that you are smart and experienced/cautious enough to have gotten through that ride without killing yourself.
Trollman has been beckoned...Trollman
Aug 28, 2001 8:53 AM
The reason Trollman would pay to do a ride would be to ride with friends-yes Trollman has friends.

Trollman knows a lot of riders who do not ride as fast or as far, so every once in a while Trollman likes to hang out with these people. Trollman thinks that charity rides are good in several ways:

There is support for the less experienced riders.

Free food and other items.

Usually a good t-shirt of some sort.

It is a good way to socialize.

If it is for a charity, all the better.

Although Trollman has never organized a ride, Trollman would be upset if no one showed up.
I bet if you put on a ride...MB1
Aug 28, 2001 9:00 AM
people would be flying in from all over the country. For various reasons. Might even be willing to pay. Now there is an idea for a charity fundraiser!

BTW I usually get a chuckle out of your posts.
Would that be the "Roll With The Troll" Hundred? (nm)Greg Taylor
Aug 28, 2001 9:19 AM
I'm thinking the "Prozac Century" nmSpinchick
Aug 28, 2001 9:21 AM
Yup, this works...Greg Taylor
Aug 28, 2001 9:11 AM
Trollman, not a bad summation.

The guys that I ride with usually do two or three organized events -- Seagull Century is a fixture (expensive at $40, even with all of the frills), Bike Virginia (a bargain for what you get: 5 days, baggage handling, sag support, organized meals) is always in the running, and usually one more in September. Yes, we can ride for "free" on Sundays, but an organized event gives us an excuse/kick in the butt to remove ourselves to a different location and mix with others.
Trollman gives his thanks.Trollman
Aug 28, 2001 9:40 AM
Check this out, 11 $$$ rides in September.MB1
Aug 28, 2001 9:44 AM

Then the Seagull in October. $60 after August 31. Can it possibly be worth it? The roads are free, you can ride them anytime.

Who can do all of this stuff. Seems way overboard.

I am thinking about doing 10 100+ mile rides in September including leading a couple but there is no way I have any interest in doing more than 1 of these organized rides.
Yes, it's worth it.look271
Aug 28, 2001 4:07 PM
Have you ever done it? Best organized rides I have ever done.Good food, great support, great ride. Flat as a pancake. Worth every penny.
re: Why pay to do a ride? Thoughts please, Trollman welcome.Spinchick
Aug 28, 2001 9:16 AM
I did 3 charity rides this year. Two were great - well stocked rest stops, SAG wagons and repair vans passing by often, great finish line party and meal. I ride solo most of the time so I like to ride with a group from time to time. Even without drafting, I rode at a faster average pace than usual. Next year, however, I will limit it to one charity ride. My friends and family are sick of being hit up for donations all the time. Next year's will be the Leukemia Team in Training Century. The minimum is a couple thousand. It's meaningful to me because a good friend is suffering from acute Leukemia right now. I will ride my ass off for her. I also plan to raise much more than the minimum.
Now there is a good reason to do one of these rides.MB1
Aug 28, 2001 9:54 AM
I'll pray for your friend.

But can you do that effort more than once a year? The fund raising not the riding.

Your friends and family are the example of what I guess I am trying to say. Is it fair for all of these charities to ask people to ask people for money every year? And where does all the money go. Just because it goes to the charity not the ride expenses doesn't mean the charity is getting it to where it could be best be used.

Maybe I think too much. Maybe I ride too much. Maybe I think too much.
Stop thinking. Never stop riding...Spinchick
Aug 28, 2001 10:15 AM
Well, that is why I decided to keep it to one, meaningful ride a year. Most people (I ask) will be giving to charity anyway. If I let them know in advance that I will be doing a ride, they will plan their charitable giving accordingly. No to mention, my friend is an elementary school teacher and so I'll have all those eager kids (and their appreciative parents) to help with the fundraising.
Motivationgrzy mnky
Aug 28, 2001 9:29 AM
Ultimately people want an indentity and a sense of belonging. Paying for an organized ride meets this need. It certainly isn't about value - you could take the money and eat a whole lot better and still have money left over for a strange t-shirt.
Maybe I just have too many t-shirts that I would never wear.MB1
Aug 28, 2001 9:46 AM
Talk about some ugly shirts. And all those sponsors logos. Why not a shirt with nice artwork and color that I might want to wear somewhere besides the basement?
True, but that's not a bad thingCRM
Aug 28, 2001 9:56 AM
It's about being social with people who are interested in the same things as you. There are really only two places where the cycling community congregates: races and organized rides. And either one is going to cost you if you want to participate. So, to me, the "value" is not determined solely by the cost of the food you eat or the t-shirt you receive. It's a forum, much like this message board, to meet and hang out with people who share your passion for cycling.
Agreed!(nm)grzy mnky
Aug 28, 2001 1:05 PM
We can all thank the lawyers......curtis
Aug 28, 2001 9:52 AM
...for the expensive insurance. Who says they aren't dedicated to public service?
Aug 28, 2001 10:10 AM
Sorry, but that's a really ignorant statement. I suppose you're implying that all the lawyers in the world are drumming up silly lawsuits against the organizers of charity rides and therefore insurance rates are higher. I'm not carrying the mantle for every single lawyer in the world, but to imply that the legal community as a whole is responsible for high insurance costs is ridiculous.

First, people sue, not lawyers. People hire lawyers to represent them when they want to file a lawsuit. And, ultimately, lawsuits are decided by a jury of people, not lawyers. If people didn't decide to sue and juries full of people didn't award money to them, then there would be no lawsuits.

Second, have you ever wondered how the huge insurance companies all have incredibly big buildings as headquarters? Did it occur to you that one of the reasons insurance rates are so high is because insurance companies make tremendous profits?

To make a statement that the cost of riding in an event is too high because of lawyers is just ridiculous.
And another thing . . .ReasoN
Aug 28, 2001 10:26 AM
Most lawyers aren't public servants nor are they "dedicated to public service." They're people who are hired to do a job, just like you.
Are you a lawyer?LOL
Aug 28, 2001 11:09 AM
ha hah
Was it too obvious? nmReasoN
Aug 28, 2001 11:17 AM
lawyers don't award money, juries doDog
Aug 28, 2001 4:13 PM
Just remember that a lawyer has no abilty whatsoever to award anyone money. They can only ask for it, usually from a jury. There is always another lawyer on the other side asking the jury not to award the money. The jurors choose whether to award and how much. Only those non-lawyers on the jury can award the money. Blame your neighbors, not the lawyers.

Many people don't get it. If you want to change "runaway" jury verdicts, you focus on the jurors, not blame lawyers. The intellect, biases, and values of jurors are what determine awards.

Amen -- Oliver Wendell Holmes said...Greg Taylor
Aug 29, 2001 5:08 AM
that the American jury system was designed to "inject an element of popular prejudice into the administration of justice" (or something to that effect). Civil juries are frightening, especially if you represent any sort of large employer or company. Here in the People's Republic of the District of Columbia, you go in with two strikes against you. Just try putting any sort of an employment case in front of a DC jury...
think this waycyclopathic
Aug 28, 2001 1:08 PM
you vote with your $$ for what you think is important.
Even if it costs a few hundred bucks I am glad there're people organizing brevets (is 12$ too much to pay??) rides like Boston-Montreal-Boston, Gold Rush, Paris-Brest-Paris, etc. Are you getting what you paid for? sometimes you do sometimes you don't but you always meet people who are as crazy about cycling as you are.
Often crazier.MB1
Aug 28, 2001 1:14 PM
And I generally admire them as I try to gently and quietly make my escape.
I see your pointcyclopathic
Aug 28, 2001 4:26 PM
still I'd bet a lot of guys fish because they like to hear fishing stories
big reasonColnagoFE
Aug 28, 2001 1:18 PM
safety. you are usually safer widing with a larger group on road. plus most of these events benefit some charity and you get lunch, drinks, support and sometimes even free beer!
Oh well then! No one ever mentioned free beer!MB1
Aug 28, 2001 1:30 PM
Must be a pretty local/small event that the promoters dare offer alcohol.

I was more soliciting thoughts about the rides where in addition to an entry fee you have to raise additional mandatory "donations". I have just been feeling uneasy about all these $$$ rides and the motivation of the promoters other than to make money.

Do you feel that over time you are helping some cause or are we being taken advantage of?