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  1. #1
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    Planning multi-day charity ride - how long?

    Hi - I'm considering planning a charity ride that would cover (say) four days. My current aim is for the route to go from one town to another - e.g. from A to E spending nights at B, C and D returning to A by other means. In trying to make this a challenge, but achievable by the largest number of people, I need to consider the terrain and the daily mileage. So - no "serious" hills - but what is "serious"? The main question of this post is what do people consider a reasonable daily mileage? If heard that around 50 miles is good - possibly starting longer (say 60) with the last day shorter (say 40). With average speeds for fit young people of 15-20mph and the less fit 10-15mph this would seem good. What is a good start time and how many planned stops? Is aiming for 10:00 on the road with a one-hour stop at 12:00 good?

    What do you all think?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Insurance, Licencing, and Permission

    First and foremost ... have you looked into insurance, licencing, and permission from the authorities (police usually) to run the event?

    If you are putting together an organized event, you NEED insurance ... you just never know what might happen, and you cannot leave that to chance.

    If you are expecting more than a small handful of people out there, you need permission to have that group of cyclists on the road. It falls under the parade act in some cases. Start your inquiring with your provincial or state highway department and see who all you have to talk to.

    Now you will probably need to have an idea where you want the ride to go before you talk to anyone, so do some planning, but be flexible at this point.

    As for length of days ... 40-60 miles is probably good.

  3. #3
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    Insurance and Organisation

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    First and foremost ... have you looked into insurance, licencing, and permission from the authorities (police usually) to run the event?

    ...
    Many thanks for your input which I'm finding VERY useful.

    I'm currently looking into a wide range of things like insurance, first-aid cover, mechanics, support vehicles (type and content) and route-maps (easy to use, waterproof). I will be contacting the local authorities and emergency services as I'm sure that, not only will they want the numbers controlled (e.g. maximum groups), but will want us to avoid certain parts of the route (e.g. known accident black spots) and certain times of the day (e.g. the business rush hour).

    Negotiating with foreign countries will be another thing - but best for me to "walk before running".

    Thank you again for your advice and guidance.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    For multi-day events, 60 miles/day average is a good number to shoot for. Typically, you let them go as soon as it's light enough to be safe, and give them a cutoff time for loading their baggage on the truck - say 9:00 or 9:30. Figure the front runners will leave the instant you let them go and will average 20 mph. Figure the laggers will leave when you close the truck and will average 10 mph. These averages are including stops, and are to determine what times the rest stops should open and close.

    As far as hills, most casual riders can handle 5% pretty easily. 8% starts being challenging, and anything over 10% had better be short.

    I'll throw in my opinion that circle tours are best. That way you don't have the expense and hassle of providing busses. Whether or not you end at the starting point, you'll have to provide long-term parking. I agree with the others that insurance is a must. Also, you should be communicating with all of the localities through which you'll be passing. You may not need permits, but at the very minimum they'll want to know. And they may suggest putting police at potential problem crossings (at your expense.) Definitely make note of all the convenience stores along the way, because they will see increased traffic when the ride goes through. Use your time estimates to figure when people will be stopping for snacks and meals (restaurants) and warn everyone along the route ahead of time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    As far as hills, most casual riders can handle 5% pretty easily. 8% starts being challenging, and anything over 10% had better be short.
    Now all I need is a map showing the slope of the hills <grin>. Many thanks for your advice and guidance - it is very much appreciated.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Definitely make note of all the convenience stores along the way, because they will see increased traffic when the ride goes through. Use your time estimates to figure when people will be stopping for snacks and meals (restaurants) and warn everyone along the route ahead of time.
    Excellent point. I was on a ride recently that had about 30 or 40 participants which isn't a lot once we all got spread out, but it was a brevet where we needed to get our cards signed at certain specific ponts, and we were told to go to a particular bakery in a particular town to get the staff there to do that. But the bakery had not been informed and was very busy with real customers. They weren't impressed.

    In this case, the participants won't need to get a card signed along the route, but any food establishments around the 20-30 mile point could be quite busy because the riders could still be grouped fairly closely together.

    And yes ... have a flexible departure time. I did a great organized tour a couple years in Canada ... if I recall correctly, they served breakfast from 7am - 8:30am, and the baggage truck closed up at 9 am. Riders could go any time after about 8 am and were strongly encouraged to be on the road by about 9:15 am at the latest.

    That tour started with a hill about 7 km long which varied between 5% and 8% ... there are always people walking right from the start. But it flattens out quite a bit after that.


    Oh and another thing, when you create the route, create it with a program like Streets and Trips or whatever, then take the cue sheet you've created, and drive the route. It's good to do this with a friend driving, and you making notes on the cue sheet. Double check distances. Double check signs. Look for railway crossings and other things you may need to warn the participants about.

    Once you've got what you think is your final version of the cue sheet, give it to a friend (preferably one who doesn't know the area very well) and ride the route with your friend following the cue sheet. If your friend runs into trouble understanding something, chances are a lot of the other riders will too.

    Then, the week before the ride, drive the route again and look for anything that might have changed. If you create the route in February, the local government may have decided to remove a section of the road in May. This happened to me. When I lived in Alberta, I created routes for the brevet series in central Alberta. I had a nicely designed 600K brevet, which I had ridden the previous year, but when I went out to drive it the next spring and check it, about 1 km of road had been completely removed and the detour around that spot was a very lumpy dirt track that went on for several km. I had to redesign the route.

    And on that note, Alberta had a website with a list of proposed road construction that was going to take place in the next 2 or 3 years. They kept it fairly well up to date, and it gave me an idea about some projects going on in my area. You might look for something similar for your area to check to make sure they aren't going to be doing a major repaving job on a large portion of your route when you want to hold the event.

  7. #7
    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    Sounds like an awesome Idea. I think anything from 3-5 days would make it exciting enough without a month ong commitment.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

  8. #8
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    Excellent ideas. I had thought of the cue sheet and rehersals - but I hadn't thought of the road repairs. I'll contact the highways authority and ask for advice here.

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