As I sat indoors on an unseasonably cool, gloomy day today, it occurred to me that an organized ride is coming up that I was thinking about doing this year. I got out the laptop and jumped onto the ride’s website.
Oh, no! The ride was Saturday — and today is Sunday! That’s what I get for “thinking” about doing a ride, but not adding it to any kind of a schedule, and holding off on registration until I’m “sure” I want to ride it. I just — forgot.
I wonder, though, if that forgetting was any kind of a clue that maybe I really didn’t want to do the ride in the first place. I’ve written before about my ambivalent feelings toward organized rides — how they’re a way to get an expensive t-shirt. Then I changed my mind, and rode a few in the ensuing months. I enjoy the camaraderie of riding in a large group, but without the hassle of being in a pace line. Mostly, when I do organized rides, I keep to myself or stick with only one or two friends.
There’s another ride coming up in May that I haven’t done for several years, and would enjoy doing again. But when I looked at their registration page, the $60 entry fee put me off. It seems that what used to be $25 rides — $30 if registering on ride day — have now ballooned into costly ventures. I don’t know about you, but I think $40 is about as much as I care to pay if I’m going to join a t-shirt ride. I know it’s expensive to put them on, to provide the expected food and maybe drink at the end. I’ve volunteered as staff on a couple of rides, and I think I have an appreciation for the effort it takes to put one of these together. But I have to draw the line somewhere.
I’ll be passing up that ride in May, although I might do another one within a week or two of it. This time, I’ll make up my mind early, and be sure to get my registration taken care of — before the price goes up.
It’s all about supply and demand. If people pay the prices, they’ll continue to go up. A lot of the mountain rides around here are pretty steep (in price and in grade), but the money usually go towards a worthwhile cause.
But, it’s for charity!
Bike Noob says
Maybe…the ride I’m skipping will give part of its proceeds to a local non-profit…but that’s not the primary focus of the ride.
My favorite organized ride is $95 to participate. It’s the Five Boroughs of NYC. If an organizations offers a superior event the higher price is easy to justify.
Bike Noob says
I will gladly pay for a one-of-a-kind event like that, as I did when I rode the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred in Texas.
Mountainstroh (Tony) says
Two of my favorite rides up here are still $25, but I am doing the Seattle to Portland which is closer to $100. But having 200 miles of support I think that’s ok.
I agree though I bike them alone, I think it’s more fun
Rick Ankrum says
I have ride fee sticker shock too. Recently one of my favorite rides (Gatorride.org) raised the price to $50. I decided not to go and rode one of my usual routes around home. This ride supports the YMCA but the fee is getting too high. A ride stopped doing after 1988 is the Houston-Austin MS150. The ride was great but getting the money from everyone was a major pain. I have to hand it to the MS150 organization for outsourcing their fundraising work though. The fees for that ride have went up several times.
Bike Noob says
I’ve done the MS 150 a couple of times. It’s another one of those cycling events I would encourage all cyclists to do–tremendous fun. But like you, I hate to ask other people for money.
To go back to Aaron’s economic thought above, I tend to look at things in terms of “value for money.” Now that I can complete almost any distance self-supported, the SAG wagons and food/water stations aren’t as important to me as they once were. Still, there was a time when they were invaluable to me and the peace of mind they provided was definite value for my money.
Nowadays, I’m looking for a unique experience or perhaps a worthy cause to make the ride worth my money. T-shirts aren’t high on my list for reasons to register. 🙂 But, if the experience is worth it, I’ll certainly be willing to spend some money to participate.
Bike Noob says
We are of a mind.
Hey Ray, I wish the local shop that does the expensive may ride
would do one like their $10 ride at start of year!
I did this ride last year with my son and had a blast. It is
a really scenic low key ride. I think you would like it.
Bike Noob says
As I recall, their $10 New Year’s Day ride didn’t happen this year. The one you link to looks interesting — reasonably priced, and some great scenery.
Jim Jones says
I also rode in the Tour of Navidad Valley last year and had a great time. I highly recommend it!
This thread is interesting. We all have our price points and reasons for doing these organized rides whether it be for the challenge, to support the charity or to gain a new or fun experience. It seems to be what we value and is it that value within our price point. This year I have participated in a metric century to support a local center for the blind. In September I will probably do a metric ride to support cancer awareness. In a month I’m doing a 200K with 9,700 ft of climbing for the challenge. In May I am doing a century ride with my sister-in-law, who will be doing her first full century. This is a ride I would not be doing if not for her. And the most expensive of the rides I will do this year is the California Death Ride. This falls under both the challenge and experience categories. Given that, there are a number of local charity rides that I have no interest in riding because the route, charity or organization does not resonate with me. And of the rides I list here, the ride for the blind center and the cancer awareness ride are ones that I try to do annually because I support the causes. The others are fungible depending on my goals… and my wallet.
Richard Lindsley says
Interesting post. We are having the same pricing issues in the uk. Our sportives are costing around £30 which is about $50. Anyway I have a blog too. I didn’t comment to publicise it, I’m bored due to an injury and can’t get out on my bike. I’ve been longingly looking at sportives and thinking about doing some MTB as well as road events this year.
Feel free to check it out http://2014bikeridesnorthants.blogspot.co.uk
Bike Noob says
Thanks, Richard. I enjoy reading about other peoples’ rides, and hope to read more from you once you’re back on the bike.
bad apple says
I am OK paying $50 for a $5 shirt, or $100 for a decent Jersey, provided the profits go to some hospital, cancer, relief, etc. What has become way out of whack is for example the ‘Closer to Free’ ride starting at Yale, $100 registration plus $500 forced donation (whatever is short they take from your credit card). Is it really bad form to just ‘ride along’ on the day or should I just do it solo the day before or after? What do you think?
I know lots of people who ride along on some of the bigger rides that have become out of reach with thousands of dollars required in donations. The Pan Mass Challenge is one such ride. Roads are public. So I think it’s only bad form if you take advantage of the resources they have for riders.