Lessons From the First Annual Ride for a Better 2nd Annual Ride
As the organizer, I think it would be useful to "debrief" the first ride in the hopes of making a better 2nd annual ride. In the end, we had 12 folks participate. We had 55 state, in one form or another, that they might/would come.
Here are some of my thoughts. Others please join in.
1. Differences. There was a vast range of differences in abilities, interest in riding (some fast, some slow, some taking pictures, some not.) Some folks are early risers, wanting to get out while things are cool. Some simply can not tolerate high heat. Others don't like or can't tolerate cool, and prefer warm. Folks are used to eating at different times, etc. We attempted to accommodate these by choosing a locale with a variety of options, and the plan was that folks would choose riding partners with similar interests. For the most part, this eventually happened, but it was a little rough there for a bit.
2. The "Ride." There was an expectation by some that there would be one "RIDE!" How this would have worked, I don't really know, due to the vast array of differences. Even if we all started together, it would have only lasted for about 5 minutes. If we tried to stay together, fast riders would have been out of their minds. Lots of folks wanted to take a lot of pictures, and one group took 7 hours to accomplish 33 relatively easy miles. The best we could do was to take a group picture of the "early" group, before we all started in various directions and speeds.
Personally, I enjoyed the differences and being able to find a very compatible group, with which Nora and I did a lot of riding.
Perhaps using a concept of a "weekend of riding" might be useful, instead of a "RIDE."
3. Breakfast. It was excellent having a good breakfast (included in the motel rate) and a very pleasant breakfast room where we could meet in the morning and talk and plan our activities.
4. It was great having two planned dinners. The 2nd one was best. Lots of pictures.
5. Communication - threads. Different folks would start different threads, they would eventually get lost and too long. Then another thread would get started. Folks got confused, and information got lost. Information about various options that I had originally posted were later "discovered" in some other location and posted again by someone else. Having a "sticky" helped, but, even there, folks missed it or forgot it, or it got too long. I got a bit tired of reposting info in different places again and again. There must be some solution.
I had thought, along the way, of establiching a separate Yahoo Groups listserv where folks who were coming - or who likely would be coming - could participate.
Perhaps an "Annual Ride" subforum under the aegis of the 50+ forum - just for everything about the annual ride.
In the end, we did establish an email address list where we communicated by "reply all." Even then, some folks missed some of the emails, or didn't read them.
6. Liability. We eventually discarded the liability issue, due to the small number of attendees. However, if it got to be a group of, say 50, I think that it should be considered again. I have mixed feelings on this, but being involved in three lawsuits over the years has made me cognizant of how a bunch of friends can suddenly turn into something else when there is a critical injury requiring a lot of money, and there is also some potential negligence. It can happen to any of us.