Long-Distance Charity Bike Ride
Long-distance bicycle tours are becoming increasingly popular as leisure riders seek to push their fitness boundaries and escape the mundanity of everyday life. The US is a vast country and there is no shortage of routes you can traverse if you have a desire to tackle a more substantial ride. You can also go overseas and do a foreign bike tour if you are feeling brave!
What is Bike Touring?
Bike touring is a great way to explore new places. This blog post on what is bike touring covers a lot of ground, including nutrition and bike maintenance. Velosurance can also offer bicycle insurance, whether you plan to ride some local trails or tackle the Tour De France in a month.
A bike tour is fun, but there is something a bit self-indulgent about disappearing for a week to ride several hundred miles on two wheels, even if your mates come along. But if you do the same ride in aid of a charity, people are far more likely to applaud your efforts.
Planning a Charity Bike Ride
Charity bike rides are a great way to raise money for worthy causes, and far more enjoyable than having a bucket of ice dumped over your head. If you have enough participants and everyone is committed to cycling a very long way or tackling an especially evil route, you are pretty much guaranteed a decent level of sponsorship.
Support a Worthy Charitable Cause
The first step is to choose a charity you wish to support. It’s usually best to pick a cause you feel passionate about, as it will help motivate you when the going gets tough. You don’t need to pick a well-known charity – adopt a small, local charity, such as a cancer hospice, that will appreciate your efforts and be glad for some additional funds.
Next, recruit some people to join you. You can do your bike ride solo, but it’s going to be more fun if other people join you on the journey. Remember, the bigger the challenge, the easier it will be to find people willing to sponsor you. After all, people will happily pay money to see a hugely unfit person cycle 200 miles over mountains whereas sponsoring a triathlete to do the same route isn’t as newsworthy.
Set a date and start planning the logistics. Work out your route and decide how many miles you can comfortably do in a day without killing yourself or your companions. It’s always sensible to set a pace consistent with the fitness levels of the slowest rider. In a larger group, consider splitting people up into two or more groups based on fitness.
Plan where you are going to sleep. In fine weather, camping is an option, but you could also hire an RV to act as your support vehicle, and sleep in that at night. For a larger group, a tour bus with sleeping bunks is an option. These are great for groups of 10 or so.
Make a list of all other equipment you’ll need, such as GPS route tech, camping gear, bike repair essentials, and food/drink. If you are planning to camp on the route, you’ll either need to travel light with bike panniers or have a support vehicle.
Plan for the Unexpected
The first rule of planning any long-distance ride is to cover every eventuality, from punctures and broken spokes to bear attacks and snake bites. Always make sure you have a first aid kit and emergency backup if needed. The more remote your location, the more essential access to help will be. Bear in mind that you may not have any cell-phone reception in remote areas, so have a plan in case something goes wrong on a long-distance trail ride.
Publicize Your Charity Bike Ride
The more people who know about your bike ride, the better. It’s essential that you do a bit of marketing if you want to raise as much money as possible. Create a Facebook page for your charity ride and encourage people to like it and share it with their friends. Add a link to your fundraising page, so people can donate money.
Contact local media outlets; newspapers and radio stations are always happy to run stories on feel-good stories like a charity fundraiser. The more extreme your challenge, the better. If there are people taking part in the ride with you, ask them to promote it on social media and in their workplace.
Train, Train, Train!
The last step is to train as hard as you can! The more prepared you are for the ride, the easier it will be. It’s pointless planning a long-distance charity bike ride if you are not willing to train and prepare your body. Being unprepared means you will fall apart on the first day and not finish the route, which would be a huge shame for the charity and a disappointment to everyone who put their hands in their pockets to sponsor you.
If this has inspired you, we wish you lots of luck!