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  1. #1
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Lifelong Bib # Assignments

    Here in Michigan, we're exploring a plan to issue lifelong bib numbers to all licensed riders in the state.

    What would be the disadvantages?


    For us, we're peninsular. We get very few out-of-state riders.

    From year to year, we range between 1000 and 1200 licensed riders.

    The biggest question is regarding mixed fields of 45+/55+ and W/55+ and W/J/45+ And all the Masters who race 1-2, etc.

    Shoot it down. Or make it work.
    We want to make it work.

    Some obvious advantages:
    - eliminates a cost for promoters.
    - more convenient for riders
    - uniformity for photo finish camera
    - can use cloth numbers that are breathable and don't wrinkle
    - can mandate use of two numbers in every race
    - can color-code numbers to distinguish between categories.

    But what's the deal breaker?

  2. #2
    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    I think it would be great.

    What happens when somebody shows up to race and forgets their cloth number? Just give them a random paper number from the set you use for one-day license holders? Given that you need to provide paper numbers (and a way to match them up with riders at the finish) to handle that situation, does that reduce the positive benefits of the plan?

  3. #3
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    A four digit bib wouldn't fit on my back.

  4. #4
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Washington does it, you get one number each season. You would use it for both elite and masters races.

    If you forget yours you would get a rental number, I assume.

    edit: also, when you upgrade you just keep your number for that season.
    Last edited by mattm; 12-09-13 at 08:09 AM.
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  5. #5
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    We have discussed this in Florida as well.

    Biggest issues are:
    1) we just don't need 4 digit numbers on ppl's backs, already hard enough to see
    2) ppl will forget numbers at home
    3) Even as a peninsula type of state, there are a ton of out of out-of staters
    4) most everyone is eligible for various age groups and cats, so too much mixing of numbers, making it difficult for officials on road
    5) lots of one-day license riders through year

    I know it seems like a great idea, until all the headaches pop up. As a promoter, I know the cost of numbers. We spend literally thousands of dollars per year on numbers and pins. So, if there was a way to give up that expense, plz bring it on!

  6. #6
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    When you have finish line judges calling by eye they like to have unique trailing digits in a field, and as few as possible to remember (e.g. there might be 3 digits on the number, but within any field the last two are unique for up to 100 racers). Your proposal doesn't have fatal flaws but it makes it harder for finish judges. That said, I also heard rumors that USAC is talking about eliminating judges as part of the assigned officials and leaving it up to the promoter.

    There also has to be sufficient exception handling:
    - Rider A forgot their number and rented one for the day (make sure results get assigned correctly)
    - Rider B is from out of town and doing some races (promoters still have to be able to provide numbers, just fewer of them)
    - Rider C upgraded halfway through the season
    - Rider D is racing in 40+ and 1/2/3 (around here you sometimes get two different numbers, so they can tell if you're in the wrong race)
    - probably some more...

    Given how flaky a lot of bike racers are, I don't know that it's more convenient for the riders-- it's one more thing for them to forget and then need in a hurry and be angry that the promoter didn't have a team standing by to pin their numbers on as they showed up late...
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Wylde06's Avatar
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    I am just over the border in Ohio and have done quite a few Michigan races (and I know a few people who regularly race in Michigan). What would you do for out of state racers?

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    Id suggest going halfway, maybe offering people to "buy"/reserve their number for the season. I say buy so that this would only appeal to the multiple racers, and doesn't waste numbers on people who come once a year. As long as only a few hundred do this, you could stay with 3 digit numbers. Maybe allow people to reserve the first 500 numbers, 501-999 is reserved for 1 day.


    This is how we did it in car racing. The once-in-a-while racers got whatever number they got. The rest of us could get permanent stickers.

  9. #9
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Great feedback so far. Thanks. That took all of 7 minutes to compile.

    Our biggest concern is placating the officials who already have their hands full. Knowing their desire to score only the last two digits and to have entire fields staying within a certain number series, it's a huge challenge. And with the cross-pollination of mixed fields, aye carrumba.

    And yes, invariably many riders would forget their numbers. I can name names already.
    But they can always make their own using a Sharpie and a sheet of paper... after paying a $5 fine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wylde06 View Post
    What would you do for out of state racers?
    We would allow Ohio and Indiana riders the option of getting their own Michigan number for Michigan races.

  10. #10
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    Great feedback so far. Thanks. That took all of 7 minutes to compile.

    Our biggest concern is placating the officials who already have their hands full. Knowing their desire to score only the last two digits and to have entire fields staying within a certain number series, it's a huge challenge. And with the cross-pollination of mixed fields, aye carrumba.

    And yes, invariably many riders would forget their numbers. I can name names already.
    But they can always make their own using a Sharpie and a sheet of paper... after paying a $5 fine.




    We would allow Ohio and Indiana riders the option of getting their own Michigan number for Michigan races.

    Sounds like airline luggage or corkage fees. "Oh you want the bottle opened so you can drink it?"

    "If you want to be scored our number fee is $5"

  11. #11
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Does the UCI not allow you to purchase a lifelong number?
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  12. #12
    Senior Member Wylde06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    We would allow Ohio and Indiana riders the option of getting their own Michigan number for Michigan races.
    Definitely something I would consider. Half of my races this past season were in Michigan, and im sure next season will be no different

  13. #13
    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    I would hate to have to score a race with a four-digit bib number.

    It's hard enough with three numbers. It can even be difficult to read numbers on a video camera.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    With alphanumeric characters 3 places gives over 46,000 unique identifiers.

    Charge extra for vanity bib#s.
    Last edited by Looigi; 12-09-13 at 08:41 AM.

  15. #15
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    With alphanumeric characters 3 places gives over 46,000 unique identifiers.
    That's the direction we're looking.

    But would the officials buy into it?

  16. #16
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    It occurs to me that with cloth numbers that are permanently assigned, you could simply SEW them to your jerseys which means they'd always be in the right position. If you race elsewhere, you pin the old-fashioned paper number over it.

    Standardize everything. Camera location and number placement.

    At some point, you could eventually print it onto your jersey.

  17. #17
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    It occurs to me that with cloth numbers that are permanently assigned, you could simply SEW them to your jerseys which means they'd always be in the right position. If you race elsewhere, you pin the old-fashioned paper number over it.

    Standardize everything. Camera location and number placement.

    At some point, you could eventually print it onto your jersey.
    In WA I would sometimes leave my cloth numbers on the jersey and just wash it as a whole. Very convenient.

    The problem with permanent numbers though is skinsuits, and long-sleeve jerseys.
    pro-meter: lol

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  18. #18
    Banana Pancakes furiousferret's Avatar
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    I like it in principle, in practice, it seems harder to call the race.

  19. #19
    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    There's over 1000 actual 3-letter words (not just letter combinations). That would be pretty easy to score!

    "ice, hun, ass..."

  20. #20
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Why don't you guys just get a chip timing system???
    We did 8 years ago. It's the 21st century folks....

    Duct tape s/f line, crappy camera and a tent is not "modern" bike racing!
    Numbers are almost irrelevant with us. We use them just to confirm sometimes with the finish line judge and for officials on the road to score.

  21. #21
    . botto's Avatar
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    agreed about numbers being irrelevant.

    a few years back in NL they mandated that all racers had to get sensors. after that numbers became almost decorative.

  22. #22
    illusoryly superior Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    with alphanumeric characters 3 places gives over 46,000 unique identifiers.

    Charge extra for vanity bib#s.
    2lgt

    2LGT.

    wtf is the board changing my caps to lowercase?


    oh, and content-wise, we have races here that sell sponsor space on the race bibs. powerbar/clif/OSMO/whatever - that option would go away
    Last edited by Ygduf; 12-09-13 at 09:39 AM.

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  23. #23
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    USAC currently requires numbers.

    But what we're REALLY after is this:

    Random spectator along the course can punch in any bib number into an phone or iPad app and find out who the rider is. The announcer (that no one listens to, ever) can do the same thing.
    Riders can create their own publicity profile that the spectator sees including prior results, stats, photos, and such superfluous things as "I ride in honor of my friend who has cancer." Or "Team party after the race at XX Brew Pub! Join us."
    Or other meaningful message (that we would sell the gsteinb for $5 plus shipping and handling).

    Can't do that with chips.
    I suppose you could create a hand held scanner device. Let me know how that goes.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    In OBRA (Oregon), we basically have bib numbers for life. You have your number as long as you buy a license for the next season before the deadline and as long as you don't change road category (track/cyclocross/MTB categories are not tied to number series).
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  25. #25
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    In Oregon we are assigned a number. I'm not sure how that happens - I just know I'm 191. I get 2 new bibs every year with my license so I always have nice clean ones. I keep and extra set in my bag in case I lose one. Nice to be able to pin up the night before too. I think we have over 5000 riders in OBRA. Obviously, for big races you get numbers but for most of the year the promoters use the OBRA number.

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