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How You Can Help: Event Organizers

By: USA Cycling  March 20, 2020

Events we all love and look forward to have been postponed or canceled, jeopardizing the future of these events entirely. Here’s how you can help those events survive this crisis and keep making cycling great for us all.

Our Event Organizers are quintessential small business owners. These passionate, hardworking people hold events for one reason – they love cycling as much as the rest of us and want to see the sport grow. Very few people get into the event promotion business for the money. Instead, it is passion and a desire to give back to the cycling community that drives them. Whether it is a single person or a club, team, or company putting on an event, they are usually doing it so that you, the participant, have a great experience and our sport continues to thrive.

During the best of times, cycling events run on razor thin margins. Costs are continually going up – insurance and police/medical support costs regularly increase well ahead of the inflation curve. Many of the costs are front-loaded, requiring deposits or full payment in advance to secure the services which allow for a safe, fun, well-supported event. Organizers generally rely on entry fees to pay these expenses, having faith that enough people will show up at an event to cover these costs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the sports world to a screeching halt in a matter of days, and events that were feasible to hold just a week ago are now being canceled to protect public health, halt the spread of the virus, and avoid strain on the medical community. We are all feeling the loss of these events as things we looked forward to and planned around disappear from our schedules or move to distant dates.

But for the event organizers, these postponements or cancellations have a dramatic and potentially devastating impact. Costs they’ve already paid using registration income can’t be recovered. Refunding all registration fees could lead to bankruptcy and the end of the event.

What these event organizers need from our community is patience, generosity, and support. This will be a recurring theme in this series – these three things will work wonders at helping us all through tough times – but for event organizers, this can mean the difference between returning in the future or ending permanently.

How can you help? If you can spare it, let the organizer keep your registration fee. If you need that money back, work with the organizer and be patient while they process that refund. Let the organizer know you plan to attend the event when it resumes. Support the sponsors of the event and tell them directly how their sponsorship matters to you. Be understanding as the event organizer tries to figure out future plans. Let your community leaders know you hope they support future permits for the event. If the event organizer has to increase the registration fee $5-10 next time around to make the event viable, remember what to you might be the cost of a trip to the coffee shop might to the event organizer add up to the cost of surviving another year.

When the current crisis is over and we are all back on our bikes and riding together, we are going to once again look to our organizers to produce the events we all love. With our support, they will still be there to continue making our sport a great shared experience.