TCI Friday

I’ve been to bike events where 100 or so willing riders show up to a bar in the morning, get a short speech and set out on a circuitous route, with no real rest stops, ending up back at the bar. The fee, which was nominal, got donated to charity.

I’ve been to bike events where 100s of riders show up at a ski resort, get a packet of stuff and race number, grind themselves to a fine powder in the surrounding hills, and return to the ski resort for a catered party and free beer, a bike wash, a souvenir T, an official finish time.

I’ve been to bike events where many 100s of riders show up at a field on the backside of nowhere, set out in waves in various directions over various routes and distances, rolling back into a tent with a DJ and buffet, a bike raffle, commemorative jerseys, camping.

TCI is brought to you by Shimano North America.

I’ve been on teams, and I’ve been a solo artist. I’ve done rides just to contribute to a cause, and I’ve done destination rides that showed me beautiful new places. I’ve even pondered my own event, which would be a real boondoggle, maybe like a scavenger hunt, or a thing that required some running or the eating of strange foods. I have notes somewhere.

I’m fascinated by the way these things get stuck together, what the animating idea is, what the promoters think is important, the stuff they think people want or need to be motivated to sign up. I’m intrigued by those who see a ride as a money-making endeavor vs. those who try to raise money for a cause. None of that is judgment. I know people have a plethora of motivations and ideas, and maybe every ride is a good ride, on some level.

This week’s TCI Friday asks, what do you look for in a cycling event? What do you expect, and how much should it cost? How much is too much? And do prefer to take these things on solo or with friends?

We have sponsors at TCI, but we still need folks to subscribe. If you haven’t, please consider it.

Join the conversation
  1. spokejunky says

    I have a few more ride types to do in order to complete my bucket list and get a clearer picture. Out of all the rides a distilled needs versus wants list has widdled down quite a bit. The route is an absolute. It must be a part of the world I want to see and have elevation. The best rides I’ve been on has had a few sections which have me screaming at the choices I’ve made in life. I call it the cathartic ride assessment point. The promoter/organizer should be passionate about the route. IE – local that has thought “I love this part of the world and this is a tough route I’d like to share with others.” Finally, a good set of friends to share the experience with over the miles. That’s really about it for needs. I don’t need t-shirts, food, DJ, aid stations, bags-o-crap, etc. The latter is more mighta-kinda want things which are a complete other tangent that would take a blog post to cover. As a departing gift, cost of the event. There is really no tangential way to compare experience with cost until after the ride. Since I can’t really categorize cost into good or bad until after the event, then that kind of falls into need or want. Either I need to pay for this again or I want my money back because that totally sucked.

  2. alanm9 says

    The main thing to me is the volunteers. I’ve paid over 100 bucks for rides where the volunteers couldn’t care less that I’m there, or make it clear they’d rather be riding themselves. I’ve paid 40 bucks for rides staffed by volunteers who make me feel like I’m a super hero for riding my bike. They’re usually the church ladies and Kiwanis gents who are tickled just to be outside with their friends and meeting new people. Those are the rides I go back to.

  3. jlaudolff says

    I mostly want to be around people who love riding bikes. I love a great route in a new place. I love the local century that has so many riders, it clogs the roads and makes locals sit up and say there sure are a lot of bikes out today. I like a good hard challenge and a few events per year that kinda feel like races but aren’t in the USAC sense. I like riding a paceline with random people. I like riding all day and ending in a different place than I started knowing I have to complete the loop in the next day or so. I love being in a crowd of hundreds of bikes boarding a Washington state ferry.

    I’ve paid about $700 for about a dozen events spread out over the season from February to September and that feels about right.

  4. Jeff vdD says

    I’ve mulled on how to answer this question other than “It depends.” Because, well, it depends.

    I’ve loved big expensive events, small expensive events, big inexpensive events, and small inexpensive events. Some have been close, some have been 3 days away by car, some have required a flight. And I’ve been put off by all of those variables as well. Other than size, cost, and distance from home, what are the common threads?

    As much as I love riding with friends, I’ve enjoyed events where I didn’t know anyone. So it’s not that. As much as I appreciate great volunteers, I don’t spend enough time with them for those interactions to influence the goodness of the event. So it’s not that.

    What’s left are logistics (Rasputitsa 2022 failed on this measure, with different start/finish locations and a required shuttle ride for pre-reg), course (for gravel, I like at least a bit of Class 4), mass start (I’m not a fan of “start when you want” rides), and after-party (I can’t think of an event that’s messed up an after-party).

Leave A Reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More