What Are Bicycle Events?
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Bicycle events are also known as "centuries", "rallies", or "bike-a-thons". Bicycle events are advertised rides, open to the public, and are used for fund raising by both bicycle clubs and charities. Bicycle events are publicized in club newsletters, on the Internet, and by the distribution of flyers. Bicycle events can be one day or multi-day rides. These events are usually round-trip rides that return to the starting point, but there are a few one-way rides where you have to arrange for someone to meet you or pay for return transportation.
Bicycle events do not have a ride leader, and you ride at your own pace. Usually there is a choice of several distances, typically ranging from 15 to 100 miles. Sometimes the distances are listed in metric units, and a 100-kilometer "metric century" ride is equivalent to 62 miles. Some events have a "mass start" where all riders are required to start at the same time. "Show and Go" events provide a range of starting times that vary with the distance.
Bicycle events have a registration fee, and provide you with some or all of the following services: marked route (arrows painted on the road), map, cue sheet (a tabular list of directions), snacks, water stops, lunch, and a ride souvenir. Most events provide SAG (Support and Gear) to help a rider that has a mechanical or physical problem on the road. When you register for an event, be sure to verify what services will be provided. Some events only provide water and bananas at the rest stops. If you prefer a specific type of drink or snack, you may want to bring your own. Gatorade and other sports drinks are available in powdered form that can easily be carried in a plastic bag or small Nalgene bottle. If you start late or ride slow, be prepared for the rest stops to have run out of food.
Typical registration fees for a one-day event range from $5 to $50. Charity rides may require a donation in addition to the registration fee. Usually there is a discount for pre-registering by mail or online, but there is no refund if you decide not to ride. Sometimes a T-shirt is available only with pre-registration.
The number of participants varies greatly. Some small events have less than a hundred riders, and there are several major events that attract thousands of riders from all over the country.
Bicycle rallies are multi-day events with a fixed headquarter location. Each day, there are different length rides to choose from, but the routes always start and end at the home base. This event format eliminates the need to carry gear on your bike or to pack and unpack luggage every day. Family members can ride different distances, ride at different speeds, or participate in non-riding activities, and still end up together at the end of each day.
The larger bicycle rallies are usually held at colleges, where the dormitories are used for lodging, but sometimes campgrounds are used. Smaller rallies frequently provide motel accommodations. Rallies often include evening entertainment and vendors. Rallies have registration deadlines and limited space, so early registration is recommended. Two very popular rallies are the Baltimore Bicycle Club's Kent County Spring Fling and the Emporia Bicycle Club's Great Peanut Tour. Also, Cycle Across Maryland "CAM" has switched from a cross-state ride to a rally.
Bicycle Club of Philadelphia (BCP) sponsors spring and fall rally-style events. The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club (PPTC) sponsors rally-style events in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Both clubs' events are open to non-members and make use of hotel accommodations.
Bicycle rides have become an important fund-raising method for many charities. The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the American Diabetes Association conduct many cycling events throughout the country. All of the local charity rides will be listed in the SCU Calendar of Other Clubs' Events. Charity rides are listed on the Internet, so if you want to find rides in another part of the country, use the following links:
Charity Ride Organizers
Many charity events are one-day rides. Others use a two-day format where you ride to an overnight host location, spend the night, and ride back the next day. Many MS150 events use this two-day format. Some charity events use the rally format with a fixed headquarters location for the entire event. Charity events have a registration fee, and some one-day and all multi-day rides also require a pledge. The minimum donation is typically $200-$300 for a two-day event.
Things to Consider When Selecting a Ride
Bicycling in Connecticut
Bicycling in Delaware
Bicycling in New Jersey
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Although this article is compiled from reliable sources, SCU and the editor are not responsible for errors or omissions. The listing of an event in this article does not represent an endorsement by SCU or by the editor. All rides and activities posted on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual organizers of and participants in the ride or activity. All participants in rides and activities appearing in this article do so at their own risk and assume responsibility for all hazards, injuries, and other risks inherent in such rides and activities. Roads will be open to motor-vehicle traffic; extreme caution must be used while riding.
Edited by Jack Elias, Webmaster, Suburban Cyclists Unlimited, 1/09/2007.
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