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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Do you participate in cycling events?

    I'm curious how many of the car-free crowd participate in cycling events such as races, centuries, charity rides, randonneuring, etc.

    If you do, how does that fit with your car-free lifestyle?


    When I lived in Winnipeg, I was car-free for 5.5 years. During the summers of 1999 and 2000, I raced and rode in the the local annual century. Some races were close enough for me to ride to the start, but some started too far away to ride, especially if I wanted to get there in time, with some energy left. In order to get to the races that were far away, I had to carpool ... which was OK some of the time, but inconvenient other times, and ended up being one of the reasons why I stopped racing.

    During the summers of 2001 - 2004, I participated in Randonneuring events. Not only did I have to carpool to the start of many of those events (which was inconvenient) or rent a car (which was more expensive, but more convenient), but I also had to deal with fatigue.

    The day after a 400K or 600K brevet, the last thing I wanted to do was to commute to work by bicycle ... so I took the bus, and fortunately the bus service in Winnipeg was pretty good.


    I found that getting groceries, re-furnishing my house, going to the Dr., getting to work, etc. etc. were easy compared with the hassles of getting to cycling events ... which is ironic in a way ... you want to cycle as a part of a car-free lifestyle, and you want to use that cycling as training for cycling events, but when it comes time to do the events, you've got to employ a car!


    So, I'm wondering how you've dealt with transportation issues for your cycling events?

  2. #2
    that strange guy
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    I don't do a lot of races or charity events, but I've done a few since last summer. I always carpool, I have a few cool friends with cars that don't mind carting me and my bike around, and the bike club I ride with has a bulletin board for people needing rides, etc. There's quite a few of us who are car-free.

    The problem I've had since giving up my car is getting up to the mountains! I haven't been camping (without my bike) or backpacking in a couple summers. Maybe I just need to look around harder for people to go with.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I raced back in the mid 70's and was basically car free. One of the guys on the team had a SubUrban that we used to haul everybody and their crap to the races. Did quite a few centuries at that time too. Don't do the charity rides, tried one and did not like the crowds and the number of ill informed riders. Still do the occasional vintage event or social ride as long as they aren't too big. Considered the Randonneurs but don't have the time to devote to it at this time in my life. Not car free either unless you consider I only own a truck, and only drive it for work

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  4. #4
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    I'm car-free, and I've only done a few organized cycling events: a few club-sponsored group rides, a couple of charity events, and one (my only, ever) Critical Mass ride.

    Most of the time, I just ride around to get to places I need to be. I've never raced on a bike, and, since I'm into heavy steel bikes, I'm pretty sure I never will. I've found that getting to local events is pretty easy, I just ride there, do the event, and ride back.

    In general, I haven't been that crazy about organized cycling events, and it has little to do with the car-free part. I'm not sure why this is, since I participate in running races about 3-6 times a year, and I like those quite a bit. (I ride to the runs, too, unless they're half-marathons.)
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  5. #5
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    So, I'm wondering how you've dealt with transportation issues for your cycling events?
    I've done a couple. I intended to do a nearby century, the Big Dam Bridge 100, but a near-collision the day before that on my recumbent smashed up my feet when I used them for brakes, and instead I rode in the Joe Weber Arky 100 two weeks later. For that, I rented a car and bought a bike rack.

    The only other ride I've been on was one for Diabetes. Like the Big Dam Bridge ride it started close by along the Arkansas River, so I just rode to to it. I only did the 20 mile ride, which riders with odometers complained that it was really only 14 miles.

    I've worked more rides than I've ridden. I ran the sag stop at the 70 mile mark for the Tour De Palm Springs two years in a row. Luckily for me, that was only 6 blocks from where I lived. I'd ride my bike from work to pick up the truck the night before and park the truck in front of my house that night. Before the ride, I'd drive over and everyone would get set up, hand out the goodies and pack the trash away and I'd drive back to the headquarters, drop off the truck and pedal home. It was about a 20 mile ride. Considering it was a bike event, I was surprised that people regarded me as something of a freak for using my bike.

    I also helped out at the first Big Dam Bridge ride, and rode 30 miles to the sag stop and 30 miles back. So I use my bike when I can, but I don't get upset if I can't.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  6. #6
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    I'm car-free, and I've only done a few organized cycling events: a few club-sponsored group rides, a couple of charity events, and one (my only, ever) Critical Mass ride.

    Most of the time, I just ride around to get to places I need to be. I've never raced on a bike, and, since I'm into heavy steel bikes, I'm pretty sure I never will. I've found that getting to local events is pretty easy, I just ride there, do the event, and ride back.

    In general, I haven't been that crazy about organized cycling events, and it has little to do with the car-free part. I'm not sure why this is, since I participate in running races about 3-6 times a year, and I like those quite a bit. (I ride to the runs, too, unless they're half-marathons.)
    I seem to be in a similar path. I have basic steel framed bikes-that fold to resist theft-that I use for mostly utility cycling. Even when I was younger and more active, I still tended to cycling in the same fashion. I am not sure that I would even ride a bike if it was not for freeing myself from car ownership.

  7. #7
    . botto's Avatar
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    yes.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    we are car lite. But, as the bike becomes a more integral part of one's life'; I can't imagine why you'd not be more inclined to become all the more involved in such events. Yes. I do both recreational and functional rides.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living






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  9. #9
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    Nope. There aren't any around here, and I'm not willing to drive to any.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Other than Bike to Work rallies, I would have to say no. I allot only so much time and energy to bicycling, and use the remainder for other priorities.

  11. #11
    Splicer of Molecules Nickel's Avatar
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    Cycling events are pretty much the only reason for my current car ownership. I really don't feel bad driving when I'm ferrying another 2-3 people and their stuff.

    Our team in general tries to participate in events that you can bike to in order to show support for the closer races. I'm probably 50/50 on biking:driving to events.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    I participate in non-competitive events but only those that I can ride to. In Melbourne here, we have a reasonably active bicycle organization (bicycle victoria) that organizes a few cycling events each year such as Great Victorian Bike Ride, Around the Bay in a Day. Problem is Around the Bay is 210km for the longer ride, and if I had to ride to the city and back that'd be 250. In fairness, I don't fancy myself doing either of those distances in one day.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisitsa View Post
    I participate in non-competitive events but only those that I can ride to. In Melbourne here, we have a reasonably active bicycle organization (bicycle victoria) that organizes a few cycling events each year such as Great Victorian Bike Ride, Around the Bay in a Day. Problem is Around the Bay is 210km for the longer ride, and if I had to ride to the city and back that'd be 250. In fairness, I don't fancy myself doing either of those distances in one day.
    250 kms in one day isn't bad, a person could cover that distance in daylight ... it's when you have to cycle to a 400 km or 600 km brevet, ride it, and then ride back that it starts to get a bit long.

    You've got a train service in Melbourne that's a bit better than the public transportation where I currently live, and it allows bicycles on it, so I imagine that would make it a bit easier to get to events if you live right in Melbourne, wouldn't it?

  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I average 137 miles a week just being carfree, so that takes care of traininng. As for actual events, I organize my own.

    I ride my mountain bike seven miles to some decent trails. In the winter, all the city trails, alleys and lakes are challenging MTB courses.

    Charity rides are cycling 30 miles to a friend's house to loan him $10 and a couple pounds of frozen hamburger.

    Races are when I see another cyclist stopped for a train or something. I look at him, he looks at me, and somebody says "Wanna race?" In a couple seconds we're off and the elbows are flying.

    Adventure is what happens when everybody else is waiting for a ride!


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  15. #15
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I recently did a charity ride and was a little disappointed. It was a 16 miles expedition that took about 4 hours... mostly because of beer stops. I really don't like drinking beer while I'm riding and I would have felt a lot better giving my $20 to Oxfam and going for a much longer ride by myself or with whomever wanted to tag along.

    But then I'm not that enthused about Christmas either.. so maybe I'm just grinch.

  16. #16
    duh-river foe
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    I used to do collegiate racing and we would carpool. However, the non-collegiate racing scene is honestly not that much fun and I've done a few races but really haven't gotten into it. The killer was going to the closest cyclocross race offered near me and showing up to see everyone else pulling their bikes off cars and warming up on a trainer next to them. The race itself was completely un-fun for me and must have been the only girl there who wasn't on one of those suburban squads who do training rides together. Sigh.

    I've done a few brevets and the Boston ones are very convenient to get to - just a few miles off the end of a bikepath. It's about 14 miles one-way to the start/finish. If the BMB were still running the start would be even closer. We did borrow my mom's car to get to the 400k since we didn't want to deal with riding back into the city while completely tired in the wee hours of a weekend morning. It would certainly make me happier if they started from somewhere on the subway, though that wouldn't cover midnight-5 AM.

    I'm really not a group or charity ride person. I find the excessive organization annoying, and seriously don't care about a lot of the charities that are selected. I'd much rather go for my own ride and send a check to something I care about on my own.

    Actually, one of the big things I'm miffed about are the local cycling groups which do the interesting weekend rides. They tend to start them out in the middle of nowhere, or they'll grant a concession by having them start from a commuter rail parking lot but the start is before the first train arrives from the city. Seriously- what is up with that?

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit View Post
    Actually, one of the big things I'm miffed about are the local cycling groups which do the interesting weekend rides. They tend to start them out in the middle of nowhere, or they'll grant a concession by having them start from a commuter rail parking lot but the start is before the first train arrives from the city. Seriously- what is up with that?
    I live in central Alberta and I've been a member of 3-4 clubs a year since 2005.

    1) Alberta Randonneurs - I have my own club under them in my area, but there's a series of events in each of Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, and the Rocky Mountains. I've driven to events in all those places but Medicine Hat.

    2) Elbow Valley Cycle Club - this is a touring club in Calgary and I enjoy their mountain rides, so I drive out for those.

    3) Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club - a touring club in Edmonton. I enjoy their annual century, and some of their other rides.

    4) BC Randonneurs - I'd love to do more riding with them, but I only manage to get out to ride with them in BC once in a while.

    Since 2005, I've had to drive to the start of almost all the organized rides I do because most of the start locations are a minimum of 160 kms away from where I live ... and most do start in rather out of the way places, but that's where the interesting scenery is.

  18. #18
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    We have a bike social rides here biketempe.org We have Crap Citizens resistance automotive party more social. We had tour de Tempe, Tour de Fat, and various Ironmans or other events.

    We have alot of group weekend rides more serious.

  19. #19
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    I do not. Honestly, for recreation, I would rather be running. I cycle to get from place to place, but I run for fun.
    Surly Pacer

  20. #20
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tabor View Post
    I do not. Honestly, for recreation, I would rather be running. I cycle to get from place to place, but I run for fun.
    That is one problem, you can only pedal so much. I am car free 500 miles a month is nothing lately.

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel View Post
    That is one problem, you can only pedal so much. I am car free 500 miles a month is nothing lately.
    I have a car which I use regularly ... and 500 miles a month on a bicycle is nothing. I'm always aiming for 1000 mile months, especially during the summer months ... not always reaching that, but always aiming.

  22. #22
    Justin scattered73's Avatar
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    I do a couple of organized rides a year in the Inner city, others are on the outskirts of town and would require me to get up very early and bike 40-50 miles each way to get to the event. As far as races I tried to enter a cyclocross race last year but it was cancelled due to rain and will probably try again this year no real aspirations in racing really just thought a cross race would be fun. As far as club events I do a weekly midnight ride on tuesday with some other late night workers and a sometimes sunday morning taco ride. I will probably do http://www.tourdedonut.com/ this weekend just because I like dougnuts and plan on riding my bike out to my parents in cypress this weekend and katy isn't to far off. Critical mass I would do but I work m-f nights and usually can't make it though I am leaving early this friday since I am sure it will be extra fun since it's haloween.
    Do what makes you happy.

  23. #23
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I'm curious how many of the car-free crowd participate in cycling events such as races, centuries, charity rides, randonneuring, etc.

    If you do, how does that fit with your car-free lifestyle?
    my club's brevets start 10-60 miles away from where i live, and i've ridden to/from most of them, except when they were 50+ miles away. i did a 600k brevet in OR that was 150 miles away.. for that one i bummed a ride from friend.

    lucky for me i like to do long rides, or else i wouldn't have ridden 25 miles to a 250 mile (400k) ride, 45 miles to a 60 mile ride, or 38 miles to a 150-mile ride (Ramrod) - and then back.

    the hardest part about doing some of those rides was getting up at ~2 AM, and rolling out at 3 AM (to get somewhere at 6AM).. i'm not a morning person really.

    it's fun seeing all the bikes strapped to cars as you get closer to the ride, or talking to people that are amazed they saw you riding two hours before they even started.. and amazed you're riding back after it's all over.

    fwiw, if i wasn't car free i'd do more rides (i.e. group-ride permanents, etc) in the state/area, but i can live without doing them i figure. and i still get rides now and then.
    cat 1.

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  24. #24
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit View Post
    They tend to start them out in the middle of nowhere, or they'll grant a concession by having them start from a commuter rail parking lot but the start is before the first train arrives from the city. Seriously- what is up with that?
    it's the same here - ironically my club is called "Seattle International Randonneurs" yet none of our brevets have started in seattle. and the directions to the start are always over the interstate... they just assume people are driving to rides. i'm at least hoping to get our club to put biking directions to the rides.

    what it comes down to is that rides usually start somewhere really near where ride-organizer lives, it seems like..
    cat 1.

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  25. #25
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    I don't participate in cycling events. I don't care for racing, I'm not part of club rides and I haven't found charity rides close to home. If I found the right charity rides, I might be interested in joining. Most of the time, cycling is a solitary activity for me, a chance to unwind and relax.
    Life is good.

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