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Old 03-30-14, 09:59 PM   #1
zeppinger
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How to ride the DALMAC for free?

Hello all,

I am an experience tourist who just moved to Michigan and was looking at doing the DALMAC. However, I have no interest in paying $240 to have someone carry my stuff for me. I can do it just fine on my own. Has anyone ever been a DALMAC bandit? Has anyone ever just gone on the ride without paying? What was your experience? From what I understand, they can not kick you off the public road and you can just follow all the other riders but without the benefit of having sag support. I also hear that you can not go over the mighty mack at the end of the ride. What about camping? Do they let you camp with everyone else in the school fields? Are they checking for your name tag or something to see if you are registered? What else should I be concerned about? Does everyone hate you for just tagging along?

Thanks!
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Old 03-30-14, 10:31 PM   #2
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While they can't kick you off a public road, they also won't give you a map, meals or campsite. If you are riding with the intention of meeting new people, you won't be hanging out with them at the end of the day or sharing breakfast or dinner with them. Pay the $230, be part of it, or do it on your own during the week before or after or go the opposite way during the event.

If you are going to do the DALMAC, RAGBRAI or whatever, you need to pay to play. People go to a lot of trouble to plan these events, so why not support them?
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Old 03-30-14, 10:39 PM   #3
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So you want to be involved in an event and use the facilities someone has spent a lot of time and money to organize but don't feel the need to pay for it?

You should be concerned about being a cheapskate before anything else.

Either do the ride on your own some other time or pay up and enjoy the event.
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Old 03-30-14, 11:01 PM   #4
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either participate fully or dont.
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Old 03-31-14, 05:45 AM   #5
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hey, here's an idea for you cheapskates!

say you're riding for.......charity!
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Old 03-31-14, 06:05 AM   #6
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$230 is AWFULLY cheap for a 5 day ride with all included. Just pay the damn thing. Ask yourself and be honest with the answer if you could just camp at each of those locations without using stealth and without camping.

Someone set that all up along with bathroom facilities and (I assume) shower facilities. In addition they put a lot of time into organizing the route, traffic studies and getting permits.

If you can't afford the measly $230 then stay home that week an do the ride the week after.


I do admit that these rides should have the option to carry your own gear at some small discount.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:23 AM   #7
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So you want to be involved in an event and use the facilities someone has spent a lot of time and money to organize but don't feel the need to pay for it?

You should be concerned about being a cheapskate before anything else.

Either do the ride on your own some other time or pay up and enjoy the event.
Yep. The organizers are likely paying/making a donation to use the schools. Port-a-potties? I will go one step further: You should be concerned about being a selfish YKW and a thief.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:27 AM   #8
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I do admit that these rides should have the option to carry your own gear at some small discount.
Unless a large enough number of people opted to carry their own gear that it eliminated the need for one of the trucks, the incremental cost savings would be negligible in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:57 AM   #9
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Yep. The organizers are likely paying/making a donation to use the schools. Port-a-potties? I will go one step further: You should be concerned about being a selfish YKW and a thief.

Wow. Surprisingly strong reactions. A thief? For riding on public roads? Right.

Show me a group ride that is made for my demographic in this area and I'll do it. Is there a ride in Michigan where you can ride with your own gear, cook your own meals, but have a nice safe route planned with other cyclists all looking out for each other?
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Old 03-31-14, 07:08 AM   #10
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Wow. Surprisingly strong reactions. A thief? For riding on public roads? Right.

Show me a group ride that is made for my demographic in this area and I'll do it. Is there a ride in Michigan where you can ride with your own gear, cook your own meals, but have a nice safe route planned with other cyclists all looking out for each other?
The public roads are only one part of the equation, though there likely is a permit required to use them for the event.

If you can't find a ride like the one you'd like organize and promote one yourself. Maybe then you'll see what you're proposing in a different light.
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Old 03-31-14, 07:16 AM   #11
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Many ride poachers can get away with pirating the ride by keeping a low profile. Carrying all your own stuff on a touring bike will draw lots of attention. I'm sure the vast majority of riders will simply ignore you and probably will not want to be associated with you. There will however be a few vocal ones who, if they realize you are not a registered rider, tell you exactly how they feel about it. Having ridden many of these, and being a long member of the club that organizes it, can you guess which group I'm in? I guess I'm wondering why you even want to do this since you are and "experienced tourist" and "do it just fine on my own" If you want to ride with a group then join the group. Riding the route is one thing but using the facilities that were arranged and paid for by the ride is another. Strong feelings? You bet, why should I have to put up with a Mooch when I've paid for my right to ride in the group.
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Old 03-31-14, 07:26 AM   #12
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Jeez, all those services for $230? Pay the people and join in the fun with a clear conscience. You'll feel better for it.
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Old 03-31-14, 07:33 AM   #13
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Many ride poachers can get away with pirating the ride by keeping a low profile. Carrying all your own stuff on a touring bike will draw lots of attention. I'm sure the vast majority of riders will simply ignore you and probably will not want to be associated with you. There will however be a few vocal ones who, if they realize you are not a registered rider, tell you exactly how they feel about it. Having ridden many of these, and being a long member of the club that organizes it, can you guess which group I'm in? I guess I'm wondering why you even want to do this since you are and "experienced tourist" and "do it just fine on my own" If you want to ride with a group then join the group. Riding the route is one thing but using the facilities that were arranged and paid for by the ride is another. Strong feelings? You bet, why should I have to put up with a Mooch when I've paid for my right to ride in the group.
Not sure what "facilities" I would be using since I have already said that everything is public. I have no problem stealth camping in another location outside of their campgrounds, which happen to be in school yards which are paid for by the general tax fund and not user fees.

To answer your question though which I think is a good one, why do I want to ride? I think it would be real nice to ride with such a large group because of the inherent safety and presence of such a mass of cyclists on the road. It would create a bicycle touring environment in which cyclists were much safer and could relax and little on the public roads. I have never ridden the DELMAC so not sure if this is true but I would hope so. Its too bad that so many people choose to use the most expensive parts of the ride such as a sag and meal preparations. Carrying my own equipment and cooking for myself are all part of the fun for me!

As I said earlier, I wouldnt be taking part in the fee educing services so I dont see what the big deal is. Maybe vocal people with strong feelings such as your self are just upset by the presence of someone on the ride who is having just as much fun as but isnt letting themselves get upset by what others choose to do. If you see me out there say whats up and ill buy the first beers at camp!
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Old 03-31-14, 07:37 AM   #14
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Yeah, don't do it. I regret not doing the DALMAC when I lived in East Lansing (and costs were one of the reasons I didn't), but, had I done it, I would have paid for it. If you want to ride with them and stealth camp in a nearby cemetary or whatever when they camp, I suppose no one can stop you, but most people won't look that highly on it even if they don't say anything.

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If you see me out there say whats up and ill buy the first beers at camp!
I thought you just said you wouldn't be using their camps.

The school grounds may be paid for with tax dollars, but that doesn't mean you can camp on them any time you want. Don't believe me? Pitch a tent on the ELHS football field and see how long it takes before the cops come and kick you out. Just because the public's taxes have paid for land doesn't mean you (whether or not you have paid those taxes) can use that property however you might like. Getting to use that land often requires special permissions, permits, and usually donations of some sort. Otherwise, they can get you with a trespassing charge. Why else do you think it's called stealth camping rather than just "camping"?

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Old 03-31-14, 07:38 AM   #15
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Jeez, all those services for $230? Pay the people and join in the fun with a clear conscience. You'll feel better for it.
Conscience? Again, and I hate to belabor the point, I have no ethical issues with doing this at all. I do not even see how many of you are making this an ethical issue. I am asking for advice on what to expect from others who have done this same thing. Is every DALMAC rider really this "serious"? Isnt the DALMAC supposed to be raising peoples awareness of cycling? If so, then why do DALMAC riders seem to automatically hate all non-DALMAC riders they happen to encounter on their route? What happened to solidarity among cyclists rather than solidarity among cyclists who can afford it?

I could try to justify my position by saying that I am a graduate student who lives on less than 25% of the poverty limit. I could use this to argue that I cant afford the fees, but I can. Even if I had the money I would rather not pay just so that I can carry my own stuff and eat my own food. The presence of paying cyclists wouldnt bother me in the least so not at all sure why it offends so many of you so much. Well, just keep riding and try to enjoy yourselves anyways!
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Old 03-31-14, 07:45 AM   #16
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Dude, how hard is it to understand that people get pissed when they pay for the right to do something and you try to scam the system so that you can do more or less the same thing for free? If you want to do it on your own for free, do it a different weekend or pick a slightly different route.
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Old 03-31-14, 07:48 AM   #17
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Yeah, don't do it. I regret not doing the DALMAC when I lived in East Lansing (and costs were one of the reasons I didn't), but, had I done it, I would have paid for it. If you want to ride with them and stealth camp in a nearby cemetary or whatever when they camp, I suppose no one can stop you, but most people won't look that highly on it even if they don't say anything.

I thought you just said you wouldn't be using their camps.

The school grounds may be paid for with tax dollars, but that doesn't mean you can camp on them any time you want. Don't believe me? Pitch a tent on the ELHS football field and see how long it takes before the cops come and kick you out. Just because the public's taxes have paid for land doesn't mean you (whether or not you have paid those taxes) can use that property however you might like. Getting to use that land often requires special permissions, permits, and usually donations of some sort. Otherwise, they can get you with a trespassing charge. Why else do you think it's called stealth camping rather than just "camping"?
Indeed. That was why my original post asked the question about camping in the fields with the other riders. Apparently, that is a no-no. The DALMAC-ateers dont seem like they would take too kindly to my type in those parts. haha

Seriously though, there are plenty of other places to camp besides those schools and I would have thought that a pro-cycling organization such as the DALMAC would welcome anyone on two wheels to enjoy the one time a year when they would be the majority on the road but I guess not. Still doesnt take away from the fun of tagging along for me.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:03 AM   #18
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Wow. Surprisingly strong reactions. A thief? For riding on public roads? Right.
Wrong. I was referring to taking advantage of campsites that you have not paid for like everyone else, as you suggested you were considering. That could be considered theft of services. Same for using any showers or restroom facilities made available to registered riders.

I would say that I find it hard to believe we are having this discussion, but in this day and age where the entitlement mentality is strong, I cannot. So to sum up: Unless public roads are closed for an event, you have every right to use them, but it's wrong and probably illegal to take advantage of services offered only to registered riders unless you have registered yourself. Do you disagree?

And, BTW, every organized, supported tour I have been on, and I have been on a few, required a wrist band for identification purposes and to weed out people who "bandit" rides. If I were working the ride I would take note of you riding with your gear and make an inquiry at the end of the day if I saw you taking advantage of services offered to paying riders.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:05 AM   #19
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So you come here to ask a question about riding with a group ride without paying, and then argue with us that we're all wrong when we express an opinion contrary to yours, that many view as selfish? Why did you even ask then?
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Old 03-31-14, 08:07 AM   #20
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Reading the OPs more recent posts, I am now convinced that he is just trying to get a rise out of people. Don't feed the troll.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:09 AM   #21
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Wrong. I was referring to taking advantage of campsites that you have not paid for like everyone else, as you suggested you were considering. That could be considered theft of services. Same for using any showers or restroom facilities made available to registered riders.

I would say that I find it hard to believe we are having this discussion, but in this day and age where the entitlement mentality is strong, I cannot. So to sum up: Unless public roads are closed for an event, you have every right to use them, but it's wrong and probably illegal to take advantage of services offered only to registered riders unless you have registered yourself. Do you disagree?

And, BTW, every organized, supported tour I have been on, and I have been on a few, required a wrist band for identification purposes and to weed out people who "bandit" rides. If I were working the ride I would take note of you riding with your gear and make an inquiry at the end of the day if I saw you taking advantage of services offered to paying riders.
Friendly group of riders aint ya!

Sure, so again, if I was just some guy riding the DALMAC route with my gear and not taking advantage of any of the fancy "facilities" then no one would have a problem with me being there? I somehow doubt that. This is what I was trying to figure out though. If I have never ridden the DALMAC, which I have not, then how would I know what facilities are ok to use and what are not?

That is why I asked these questions. Apparently its a touchy subject! Have a good ride dude and try not to let all that time you spend reporting other cyclists on your route ruin the fun.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:12 AM   #22
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So you come here to ask a question about riding with a group ride without paying, and then argue with us that we're all wrong when we express an opinion contrary to yours, that many view as selfish? Why did you even ask then?
I asked the question from people who have done this before but instead I have gotten a lot of accusations about being a thief. All I did was to ask what others have done and what their experiences were. I never asked your opinions about the "morality" of what I was doing. The "morality" of going on a bike ride.... wow.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:16 AM   #23
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Our club is putting on a public ride next weekend. Although it's a one-day ride we do use public school facilities for some of the rest stops and we pay for the right to use the school grounds and other facilities on the course. And some of the event proceeds are donated to the towns we pass through so we continue to have good public relations with them. We also get permits from a variety of government organizations for the right to hold the event on public roads - that includes showing that we have adequate volunteers and paid staff (we hire some highway patrol officers at some busy intersections) to run the event safely. The permits specify how many riders there will be. If it's perceived by any of the communities along the route that there are significantly more riders than we indicated that's likely to jeopardize our ability to get the necessary permits in future years, so we discourage anyone from riding along the route who is not a paid participant in the event.

It's all on public roads and clearly there will always be some cyclists using them who are unaware of our event and that's fine. What's not fine is for cyclists who are not registered for our event to deliberately ride the same course on that day (and maybe even use some of the facilities that the registrants have paid for) which would put future rides at risk of not being permitted.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:25 AM   #24
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Our club is putting on a public ride next weekend. Although it's a one-day ride we do use public school facilities for some of the rest stops and we pay for the right to use the school grounds and other facilities on the course. And some of the event proceeds are donated to the towns we pass through so we continue to have good public relations with them. We also get permits from a variety of government organizations for the right to hold the event on public roads - that includes showing that we have adequate volunteers and paid staff (we hire some highway patrol officers at some busy intersections) to run the event safely. The permits specify how many riders there will be. If it's perceived by any of the communities along the route that there are significantly more riders than we indicated that's likely to jeopardize our ability to get the necessary permits in future years, so we discourage anyone from riding along the route who is not a paid participant in the event.

It's all on public roads and clearly there will always be some cyclists using them who are unaware of our event and that's fine. What's not fine is for cyclists who are not registered for our event to deliberately ride the same course on that day (and maybe even use some of the facilities that the registrants have paid for) which would put future rides at risk of not being permitted.
Great points Prathmann and thanks for chimming in! I have no intention of trying to put any stress on the event as a whole or making it harder for them to get permits each year. However, given that the DALMAC has chosen to have 4 different routes along 4 of the best, most scenic areas in all of Michigan, at the time of year when most people have time off from work (labor day weekend) to ride, I do not see why it is "not ok" to ride with them. They are public roads and the DALMAC can not privatize them with user fees on the one week a year when many of us have time off of work and the weather is conducive to riding them. So again, I do not see any ethical issues here and it was never my intention to raise them. It would be really nice if I could just pay for the campgrounds and a fee to help organize the event but sadly, thats not an option.

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Old 03-31-14, 08:42 AM   #25
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It would be really nice if I could just pay for the campgrounds and a fee to help organize the event but sadly, thats not an option.
What do you think the $240 is? It costs a fair bit of money to pay for the occasional police officer that many towns require for permits.
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