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02-06-2023 | Frank Jansen

The five biggest do's for event organizers

More than we would like to, we have to make critical comments about the quality of some events. Let's look on the bright side. What makes us happy?

1. Clear communication

The website does not have to be flashy, but it does have to be complete, clear and straightforward. All practical information such as the date, start times, parking spots, feed stations, routes, climbing profiles and so on should be clear, complete and one hundred percent accurate. The info should be easy to find. The registration form should work easily, without necessarily having to create an account. Of course, the website is available in multiple languages. Payment can be made using a variety of payment methods.

We also get happy with organizations that communicate through multiple channels. Obviously through their website, but also, for example, through an e-mail newsletter or through social media. Facebook is nice, as long as that information can also just be found on the website.

Shortly before the event, all registrants will receive the rider's briefing (road book) by email: a short and concise PDF containing the route, climbs, the route map, all practical information, a link to the GPX and all dangereous points. Of course, this PDF is also just on the website.

Photo: The Algarve Bike Challenge shows how it's done: the rider's briefing in three languages and a link to the route.

2. Correct signposting and GPX

A GPX is a must in 2023, even if there are physical signs. Are there also physical signs? Then the GPX must match the arrows one hundred percent. At junctions, the signs must be idiot proof, preferably with a message afterwards saying 'You are now on the 200 km route'. In any case it is nice to see physical arrows regularly, even when there is no turn-off. That way you know you are still on the right track. Physical arrows should be a bright color (such as bright orange) and should be located on obvious places.

Photo: It doesn't get any clearer. © Koen van Scheepen

To avoid last minute changes, it is fine that the GPX is only published (very) shortly beforehand. As long as it is clearly stated on the website when the GPX will be published.

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3. High-quality feed stations

First of all, there should be enough feed stations; at least one every fifty kilometers. In big events you need more of them in the first half to avoid crowds. It is nice if you can already read about what is available on the website (and in the rider's briefing). A feed station doesn't necessarily have to be very extensive, as long as it meets some minimum requirements: water, isotone drinks, something like bars, cookies/waffles, bananas and preferably something savory as well. On more expensive events, you expect a larger supply with gels, for example. Of course, there should be enough supplies and you may take as much as you want. There should be plenty of taps for water and sports drinks.

Photo: the Bart Brentjens Challenge knows how to set up feed stations. © Koen van Scheepen.

There should be plenty of racks where you can park your bike. Also important is that a feed station is strategically located just off the course, so you can easily continue if you skip it and there is no trap.

4. Good value for money

If you pay 5 euros, it's fine that you have to navigate via GPX, you have to find your own parking spot and there are only water and bananas at the feed stations. If you pay 150 euros, then things are different. Then you expect more, such as a parking lot, a well-stocked goodie bag, extensive feed stations, a medal, showers, a bike park, a recovery meal, a finisher's shirt and so on. 

Photo: at an expensive event like Haute Route, you expect a well-stocked goodie bag, among other things. © Rick Groeneweg

5. Safety of the participants is taken seriously

The course is car-free or partially car-free. If that is not possible, there will be signalmen at every dangerous point. A motard rides in front of the leading group. We are very happy with signalmen who are not looking at their phones but are also paying attention. Prevention is better than cure: the route is designed to avoid unsafe points. There are no unnecessary gravel sections, obstacles or narrow roads in the course.

Photo: dangerous sections are mentioned on the website of the Kitzbüheler Radmarathon.

For large gran fondos, careful thought is given to a fair and therefore safe starting procedure. Dangerous descents are neutralized. And finally, all dangerous points are discussed with photos in the rider's briefing, which is also shared via e-mail shortly beforehand.

That was part 1, stay tuned for part 2.

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