Amy and I safely completed our 10th MS 150 ride this past weekend and are beginning to feel like Pros at this event. For those of you considering participation in a large fund raiser we wanted to offer you some random observations, tips, hits and misses we have learned along the way.
Join a team for your first year.
Back in the late 90s I was teaching Indoor Cycling classes at a local bike shop. One of our regular students asked if Amy and I would like to join their MS150 team. We can't begin to tell you how helpful it has been being a part of a group. The MS Society publishes a complete list of registered teams. I suggest contacting a few to see if they will allow you to join them.
Find a Sponsor
With over 3,600 participants and 1,000 volunteers, events like these are perfect for promoting most any consumer business. We weren't looking for money, but logistical support. Our sponsor this year was FreeWheel Bikes and they were invaluable to our success and enjoyment. FreeWheel provided us with their enclosed trailer to transport all our gear, our own mechanic Matt and get this… Joe (who's a professional chef) and Brian his assistant who fed us like Pro-Athletes!
Ride as a team
And if at all possible ride together before the event to get a feel for everyone's level of fitness and ability. Riding as a team means staying together for the whole ride and assisting anyone who needs help. Amy and I tend to be the leaders on the road and set the pace with our tandem. Your team needs leadership, from experienced cyclists, to keep everyone organised and safe.
Get properly fitted to your bicycle
Do you have a pet-peeve that makes you want to scream “RAISE YOUR SEAT UP!” ? 75 miles with your knees above your waist can't be fun… and yet I have never seen anyone providing even simple bike fit adjustments.
- I have personally decided that Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, on wholewheat bread, are the perfect rest-stop food! They offer a fantastic blend of carbs, protein and fats. Amy doesn't agree. She prefers to wait for the Subway's at the lunch stop.
- Amy and I decided to ditch our Racing saddles in favor of something similar to what we are used to sitting on in class. Comfort at last!
- We didn't see any Health Club or Fitness Studio teams… none 🙁 Beyond local bicycle retails we didn't see any fitness business listed as sponsors of the event related teams.
- With 3,600 cyclists riding down the same path I'm also surprised that I didn't see some Guerilla Marketing along the way. A few cheep yard signs scattered on the trail (think Burma Shave ads from the 50's) could have communicated an offer from your studio to a highly targeted demographic.
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.