Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling - Ever thought of skipping the charity rides?
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A few weeks ago I volunteered to help with the tear down of a very large, popular, two day charity ride. Because of time constraints I could not actually ride the ride and had to drive my car the 25 mile distance to get where the ride was taking place to help in the tear down.
As I was driving I thought to myself, why would I load my bike in my car and drive it all the way here just to unload it and ride? Then it hit me, I would rather get some friends together and leave from my home, ride to select destination at a certain distance, and mail a $25 check to the charity in question. Skip the free socks and/or t-shirt (which aren't free anymore), skip the tents, skip the watered down gatorade. Anyone else ever get that feeling??
FWIW, I'm not knocking charity rides they do tons of good. But the more I think about it, the more the idea seems counter-productive, driving to ride.
08-12-09, 04:11 PM
"I would rather get some friends together and leave from my home"- none of my regular friends ride bicycles. The people that I'm acquainted with from here or the randonneuring group mostly ride faster than I do. So it's either go ride by myself or ride in a charity ride. So I do some of each.
08-12-09, 04:14 PM
I still like to do some charity rides but most of my long rides are exactly what you are describing. We have done 4 unsupported centuries so far this season and hope to get 3 more in. I love the big groups of the charity rides but riding with 6-10 of your buddies is just as much fun and way cheaper. We usually just roll out from a predetermined location at about 6:30 am and hit a gas station every 30 miles or so for a snickers bar and a gatorade.
Frankly, with the cost of admission to charity rides rising every year to crazy high levels, I really have to be pretty selective about participating. If they were usually around $30, I would do a bunch of them like I used to. But now that so many are $50 or more, I have to chose only 1-3 for a season. IMO, the charities can slit their own throats by demanding more and more money to participate every year; thereby driving down total enrollment. I would personally much rather have bare bones support and a low entry fee so I can ride a lot of them. But I recognize that most charity riders don't see things the same way.
I participated in the MS 150 last year and struggled with the $200 committment. This year it is $250. Holy Crap! I understand that we really want to help out with MS but what justifies a required 25% increase from one year to another???? Another of my favorites went from $35 to over $50 this year. I am just feeling a little abused and burnt out on paying out the ying-yang to do the rides. I think what happens is that individual charity ride organizers lose track of the fact that many of the riders are doing multiple rides each year and that their particular charity is not necessarily first and foremost in the minds or budgets of those riders. Plus, I suspect that their performance is measured in revenue growth, not necessarily total revenue. So for a charity to not pull in more and more every year results in turnover of the directors (again, only my suspicion).
So I just started organizing my own group rides. On a personal level, I tithe for my church and I give to the poor through a variety of venues so I don't feel bad riding my bike without giving anyone money. As much as I like the idea of supporting charities, it is not synonomous with riding my bike, imo.
08-12-09, 04:25 PM
I ride the Tour de Cure as my company team captain, and we bring in thousands of dollars each year. Far more than our combined personal efforts could do if we just wrote a check for what we could afford.
The other charity ride I do is for an occupational rehab halfway-house. That one I write my check, get my schwag, and ride to/from the start and make a 150 mile day out of their century. I really like their course.
Non-charity organized rides I could go either way. I ride the Flying Wheels and make a 200k of it by riding to/from the start because it's the Cascade Bike Club's fundraiser. Others, I'll ride them if I like the course and can get some bonus miles in to/from the start.
08-12-09, 04:40 PM
You could ride your bike to the charity ride. I'm thinking when I ride the Tour de Cure here I'll ride my bike there and back. If I ride the 100 mile route I'll have in over 200 km. for the day. My first 200 km. ride. Plus I was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I'll be a Red Rider.
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