In honor of National Bike to Work Day, we’d like to focus on our cycling friends for this blog post. Thousands and thousands of bikes are hitting the road today and anyone who owns a bike is a potential participant of yours! Here are five ways you can attract more cyclists to your event (and make them really happy too):
1. Organize free training rides
Training rides are a great way to promote your event. You can organize the rides yourself or you can partner with a local bike shop. Advertise the training rides on your website and in your marketing efforts. Send emails to participants registered for your event and encourage them to attend (and bring a friend!). These rides will get people excited and looking forward to your event, while ensuring they are prepared for race day. Plus the training groups invariably become tight-knit and friendly, which is a great way to build a strong community around your event.
For the training rides themselves, offer at least two different paces/distances to accommodate both beginners and more advanced riders. Meet in a central location at a recognizable landmark (many cyclists like to meet at coffee or bike shops). Most importantly, make sure your training rides are led by an experienced cyclist(s) who will be able to ensure the safety of riders of all skill levels.
2. Give free classes on bicycle maintenance
Again, this will have the dual purpose of promoting your event and getting people excited for it. Organize a few classes on bicycle maintenance (or even one class) and advertise to local riders and to your registered participants. Have them bring their bikes and get an expert to explain the mechanics, as well as how to quickly change a tire, how to get the right seat adjustment, how to do your own tune up, etc. It will be educational, fun, and will give you (and your event) more exposure to the cycling community.
3. Find bicycle friendly businesses
More and more businesses are incentivizing their employees to lead healthy lives because it has proven to increase productivity, lower health costs, and simply make people happier. That means better corporate wellness initiatives, including things like bike to work programs. You can piggy back on this trend and approach bike friendly businesses in your area to get their employees involved in your event. Offer them a discount on your race entry fee or maybe offer special prizes for corporate teams. This will strengthen their corporate wellness program while opening your race up to a new audience of participants!
To find bike friendly businesses in your area, go to BikeLeague.org.
4. Post the rules of the road
Many people are unaware of the road rules for cyclists. It’s exciting to buy a bike and feel the wind in your hair as you ride it – much more exciting that reading state bicycle laws, which is why some riders just skip that last part. Research your state laws and post them on your website. Make sure you explain them prior to any training rides and reiterate over and over how important safety is to your cyclists. They will appreciate your concern and will probably learn a few things. Plus, they’ll trust you to put on a great event that is safe and law abiding.
5. Make it safe on race day
Even if your event is in a low-traffic area, don’t skimp on safety! Get all the necessary permits to shut down roads and be sure to have lots of volunteers on hand to help meter both foot and vehicle traffic. You want your cyclists to have an incredible experience at your event – you don’t want them to get doored by a car or have to swerve around baby strollers. You are likely to have both experienced and inexperienced riders on the road, so make it a priority to protect them.
With these five tips, you’ll soon be overrun with pedals and chains as they wheel to your start line!
Get more promotion tips in this eBook for event directors: