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Organizing a group ride can be as simple as calling a few friends with a time and place. But if you’re planning a ride that’s bigger, you’ll need two things: helpers and planning. There’s a lot more work to planning a group ride, especially a charity ride, than you might think.
Get a few people together as the core committee. You can share out the planning and all the tasks. If you belong to a club, be sure your decision-making is done the way that members are used to. And, as the day nears, there will be plenty for everyone to do. On the day of the ride, each committee member might have several volunteers to supervise.
Set a date for the ride. Leave enough time to recruit volunteers, collect donations (if you’ll have a raffle or silent auction or if you’ll serve food), and get your publicity out. Check the calendar to see that you’re not conflicting with other local events—unless you can make your ride part of that day’s fun. Use the Eagle Leather Ride Guide to see that you’re not in conflict with other rides. Now is the time to post your ride on the Ride Guide. You can add details to your listing as they are firmed up, but this “reserves” your spot.
Pick a spot to start and a spot to end your ride. You’ll want to start somewhere with a big parking lot. The Eagle Leather store is a great spot, for example, and you’ll even get coffee. Consider what you want to do at the end of the ride. Do you want a meal? Tables for a silent auction? A DJ or band?
Make a list of businesses that might donate to your raffle or silent auction or toward ride expenses or that might donate food items if your serving a meal. Divide the list among your committee members. Be sure to keep track of all donations. You’ll want to mention your sponsors on all your promotional materials, in press releases, on your website and Facebook page, on banners, and in any interviews you do.
If your ride is for charity, your materials should include enough about the charity to make people want to support it. If possible, arrange to have a representative of the charity on hand at the event. Introduce them—make it a big deal, because it is important for the charity.
Decide about how many bikes will be your goal and set the price to ride. Don’t go beyond what’s typical in your area. Usually passengers get a reduced rate. Decide whether you’ll allow all types of motorcycles or even cars.
Decide when you’ll start and end. Allow an hour at least between registration and start. Decide on your route in detail. You’ll want about five “pit stops” along the way that can provide gas, snacks, rest rooms, and maybe a cold beverage. If you’re doing a poker run, arrange for the venue to have cards for the riders to draw. A local radio station might be a good partner, giving publicity leading up to the ride and broadcasting from the takeoff or end point.
Get your registration forms ready. Be sure to include a liability waiver and, if you’ll use photos from the ride for publicity or on social media, a photo release on the form. If you allow online registration, you’ll need a secure site. Be prepared for lots of registrations the day of the ride.
Get your publicity out there. Consistent artwork and colors will help set your ride apart and help people keep it in mind. Be sure each piece has a contact name and phone number. Have fliers and posters for dealerships and gear stores, such as Eagle Leather. Be sure your entry on the Eagle Leather Ride Guide is complete. If your group has a website, be sure the ride details are on it. You might also want a Facebook page, Twitter account, or other social media.
If you’ll have a raffle or silent auction, get donations. Large items should be mentioned in publicity, and all donors should be remembered there too. You can sell raffle tickets in advance and on the day of the ride. Publicize the prizes for the high and low poker hands too.
On the day of the ride, have plenty of registration forms and be sure everyone knows the rules for the ride. You might want to have volunteers lead smaller groups of riders. At the end of the ride, volunteers should circulate to be sure everyone has a good time. Get feedback so next year’s ride can be even better.