Wednesday, August 19, 2009
pros and cons of large sponsored rides
since i just participated in a large sponsored ride, over 4000 riders maybe now is a time to talk about these rides and what they offer...
1. most times they are tons of fun and you get a chance to ride in other areas that you do not know, when i asked my son about sponsored rides, he said for him, in the beginning of his riding career, sponsored rides enabled him to ride 60-100 miles and not get lost, this was pre-GPS days for him,so he loved them, while now he shuns them as he has a GPS
2. clubs donate lots of money to good causes
3. you get the pleasure of support along the ride, potties and water
4. you can challenge yourself to do a Century when these sponsored rides are available, which is what i did last year by participating in the Seagull Century
so all of this is a good thing, but after a fatal accident on my ride on Sunday, I was forced to rethink the sponsored rides, so some down sides to a large ride, (also after a search on the Net i found many fatalies on sponsored rides involving cars and riders)......
1. more people on the roads than the roads can handle safely
2. cars forced to ride in the passing lane for long periods of time
3. many different levels of riding having to ride together, most bike clubs run rides every week but each level sticks together and they do not mix on the roads
4. very fast riders next to very slow riders
5. very bad riders next to very good riders
6. riders doing things that they never would if riding solo at home, crossing roads without looking, riding 5 and 6 abreast, riding faster than they do at home
So what to do. I just read on the Internet that in my county of Chester in Pennsylvania, that with government stimulus money, over 30 million dollars is being spent to redo all the curb cuts for the handicapped, the new cuts must have dimpled surfaces for the blind, this all coming about because in Erie Pa, someone sued the state of PA in regards to this matter and the result was the state had to redo the curb cuts, many many of these curb cuts are being put in places where there are NO sidewalks or if there are sidewalks, they are not handicap worthy sidewalks, but nonetheless, the lawsuit has forced this stupid waste of taxpayer money, and the state has to put curb cuts along highways etc where there are NO pedestrians
so what does this have to do with large sponsored rides
well this is the future i see, unless these bike clubs take steps to promote more safety on the rides, an eventual lawsuit being levied against a bike club
1.if a club wants to sponsor a ride with over 4000 riders, tons of support personnel is needed and not just at the rest stops, more folks at ALL intersections
2. possibly making pace lines forbidden
3. have folks sitting 100 feet or so ahead of dangerous turns with signs warning the riders
3. stagger starts possible
4. make several cues, one for A and B riders, one for C and D riders, with crossing points at the rest stops
While all of this sounds ridiculous to many, i do foresee a lawsuit down the road and these rides coming under huge scrutiny
what do you think?? these rides are hugely popular and are done all over the country but do you see local governments making some forced changes to these rides, and should they?? lawsuits down the road for these bike clubs??
angry local residents protesting the rides?? more police support being required??