|Oita International Charity Bike Ride 2007|
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Tips for future organisersEdit
- If you want an easy life, don't bother reinventing the wheel and making a new course from nothing - just recycle one of the courses done in previous years! You can probably stay in the same accommodation and the directions will just need a quick update, rather than writing them from scratch.
- If you're going to design a new course good on you, but take this advice:
- Have the course start, end or at least pass through somewhere very near you. This way you will cut down on the driving you need to do when finding suitable roads etc. and you'll probably know some good roads near you already!
- Find and book the accommodation before researching the route! Find suitable accommodation about 60-80km apart, as-the-crow-flies. This will give you enough room to maneouvre in terms of finding the right length and not covering the same roads twice.
- The best accommodation to find is one where they will take care of breakfast and dinner for you. Even if they don't, you may be able to use a local restaurant. For a big group they may do a set meal for a certain price. 5000 yen per person for board, breakfast and dinner is what you should aim for. The obvious places to research are youth hostels, cycling terminals and campsites (although don't camp!).
- Cycle the whole course before the race. You can guarantee that the part you don't will turn out to be much harder/less suitable than you thought when driving it in the comfort of your car.
- Get confirmed participant numbers early. Have an application deadline and a payment deadline. Once you have people's money they are less likely to flake out at the last moment and leave you in the lurch. For people who can't give their participation fees to you personally, have them electronic transfer the fee at the bank. Get participant's contact details from the very start (ketai numbers, e-mail) and ask them about dietry requirements.
- Get as much help with the organisation as you can. Anyone who offers to help, even if it's a small job like organising the snacks & drinks, or printing the T-shirts will be invaluable. Also, the more people who are involved in the organising, the more people who will cajole their friends into coming along. It's often the organiser's friends and contacts that make up the majority of the numbers.
- Volunteers - you'll need at least one van/K-truck to pick up broken bikes or tired riders. Ask all of your friends and colleagues if they know somebody who has one. Also check that the insurance allows any driver otherwise you won't be covered. In addition to the van you'll need another volunteer car per 20 riders (in 2006, we had 40ish riders and 2 cars; in 2007, 20ish riders, 1-2 cars). Try to get people to volunteer as passengers too - it can be pretty lonely if you have to drive the whole thing alone.
- Think about putting up direction signs on the course before the ride. This may not be neccessary if you write really good notes. Also, make the signs at least A4 in size and a bright, visible colour.
- Start organising before Christmas. Do an explanatory presentation at the Oita Mid-Year Seminar, so people have some idea of what to expect.
- For snacks and drinks, budget for 300 yen per person per day. The most hastle free way to organise this is to prepare the first day's snack packs, and then give the volunteers the rest of the money to go out and buy snacks as and when they're needed on the ride.
- Start promoting the ride in other prefectures early. Send out e-mails to the AJET (or other) prefectural mailing lists which JETs read in January. Also, try posting messages on JET internet forums like Big Daikon and Ithinkimlost. Don't forget to get an advert in the Tombo in February.
- Really, really, really push the charity side of the ride. Have a sponsorship form available from the start (we were late with ours) and encourage people to raise as much as possible. Amounts raised really vary. Some people will only collect about 3000 yen, whereas others manage to get 40,000!
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