People like going home with something, but don’t overburden yourself with trying to make your race the one with custom hipflasks or some other ridiculousness unless you really know what you’re getting into. Spoke cards for everyone is a minimal upfront cost to absorb, and prizes can be found through local shops and direct company contact. Don’t be overly ambitious in prize requests, and be sure to include an answer to the sponsor’s ultimate question, “What’s in it for me?” How many people are you expecting? Do you have a website that the sponsors are going to get additional exposure through? Following up after the event with thanks and photos makes your request the next time around that much easier to fill.
7 Bread & Water
While most event promoters tend to concern themselves with things like spoke cards, t-shirts and prizes, the most important thing people go home with is the memory of a good time. And while prizes and memorabilia are great additions to a well-run event, nothing makes people happier than taking care of their basic needs.
If your event is going to last more than a few hours, especially if it starts in the afternoon and runs into the night, it’s almost essential to either provide food and water, or make it readily available. The same goes for restrooms and shelter.
Providing water is not only a courtesy, it can be a safety factor. And we all know how thirsty cyclists can get. Which brings us to our next tip...
8 The Ups and Downs of Booze
Let’s not beat around the bush—a lot of urban cycling events are largely an excuse to host an afterparty. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. But whenever you bring alcohol into an event, you have liability issues to contend with. Especially if you, the promoter, are providing the alcohol. As the organizer it’s probably in everyone’s best interest if you save your drinking until after the party, in the hotel lobby.
Even if your event is BYOB, you should still consider the legal ramifications and do your best to make sure nobody’s going to spend the night in jail. This isn’t really as difficult a task as it may seem, though you may have to awkwardly enforce underagers to take it elsewhere. For everyone else, you just need to consider the location and whether it’s legal to drink there. In the case of many public spaces like parks and other outdoor gathering spots, it’s customary to “bend” the laws a little, but while beer is wonderful it’s not so good as to deal with the police over.
9 Safety First, Not Last
While it’s true that we, as event promoters, have to operate under the assumption that all participants in an urban cycling event are consenting adults acting under their own volition and responsible for their own well being, it’s still our responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure everyone’s safety. There’s nothing worse than having the memory of your event marred by the stories of someone getting sent to the hospital (or worse).
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to make everyone wear a helmet and obey traffic laws, but you can at least recommend it. You can, however, typically choose locations that avoid dangerous roads and neighborhoods. And you can exercise some personal responsibility for those who can’t manage to do so for themselves—by telling them when to say when.