Saturday 9 June 2012

British Heart Foundation Ride, Help Needed

Gerrish Gray writes
Hi everyone After the debacle with the dreadful weather back in April which forced the British Heart Foundation into postponing their annual Dorset Bike Ride, the ride is being re-run next Sunday, 17 June. We at the Dorset Cycling Development Group help the BHF with this long-standing event by designing and sign-posting the route and arranging the majority of the volunteer help on the day (we’re not alone – other vital services are also provided by Raynet – the Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network – and by a team of paramedics). Because this is a busy time of the year for local cyclists I’m anticipating a few problems getting some of the usual team of happy helpers out for next weekend so I’m probably going to need some extra help. I’d be grateful for a response from everyone please, and if you can’t help out this year yourself then maybe there’s someone you know who might be willing and able to lend a hand? Just reply to this email for simplicity – but phone me as below if there’s anything you need to ask or discuss. The full list of tasks and help needed is1. Saturday evening or early Sunday morning. 5 people to go around different sections of the course and erect the signage. First and foremost can the usual four helpers confirm their availability, or otherwise L, for this task please (I do one of the sections myself)2. Sunday morning, from 7:30am, HQ at QE School, Wimbornea. A team of 5 to help with rider registration in the School Hall. This is a rather attractive proposition as the main signing on is finished by 10:00am leaving you with the opportunity to then do the ride yourself or to go and help out with another task elsewhere. It might be necessary for one of the team to stay behind a little longer to deal with a handful of late starters … Instruction will be given on the morning before registration officially opens at 8 – it only takes a max of 10 minutes to learn the job Jb. A second team of 3 to marshal the car parking at the front of the school and just down the road at the playing fields. I already have an experienced security chap to head this up but he needs a couple of helpers. Again, the main task is over by 10-10:30.c. There is an excellent opportunity for a bike shop (or similar) to set up a sales/service stall to sell helmets, inner tubes etc etc to participants and provide service and advice to those who find that have arrived not totally prepared for the ride in front of them – there’s usually quite a number of such customers!3. Bike Service around the course. Service teams/people are needed to patrol the route (or position themselves at one of the key points en route) to attend to the needs of those who break down, puncture(*) etc en route. * Yes! You’d be surprised how many participants set out without the means or knowledge to deal even with a simple puncture – this is a charity ride that attracts all sorts of wonderful willing people eager to help raise funds for the British Heart Foundation and enjoy a nice ride in our beautiful Dorset countryside, but with very little prior experience of cycling J. (For those with a vehicle to patrol the route, it works - when you’re not already busy – by linking up with the Raynet radio stations positioned at key points around the route who liaise through Ride Control at HQ and are able to provide the latest information on who needs help where. Mobile phones can also be used but some of the mobile phone coverage around the route is pretty poor or non-existent).4. Marshals. A very friendly, easy task. Unlike marshals on races, you are not expected to stand in the road and try to control other traffic! Your role is to be a friendly face en route to give advice and help to the participants to make sure that they (i) stay on course; (ii) don’t go careering across busy turns and junctions without slowing/stopping and looking properly so as not to be a danger to themselves or other road users; (iii) give those who might be ‘flagging’ a bit of encouragement (or direct them back to HQ if they have fallen to far behind an achievable time schedule); and (iv) offer advice (and maybe a little simple help) where needed.5. ‘Meals on Wheels’. A couple of willing people to drive around the course early on and hand out lunch packages to the marshals to keep them going (the only reason two are needed is because the 25-milers reach one or two of the marshal points way ahead of those on the longer routes – although I suppose, at a pinch, one keen person could cover the whole route by going to the marshals at the early-start points first before going to those on the longer route sections. Expenses are claimable from our Group for those incurring out-of-pocket expenses. We don’t want any of you to be out of pocket for providing your time and services, so don’t be shy to ask for any petrol costs etc (or, in the case of task 3 above, ANY costs incurred that you have been unable to recover from the recipients of your assistance, plus a mileage allowance for all your mileage on the day). N.B. We can pay your expenses out of the small portion we receive from the BHF of the entry-fee part of what the participants pay (but NOT any of the sponsorship monies raised/donated). The rest of what we receive goes to provide grant aid to support local cycling projects (such as the school to whom we recently gave a grant to buy bikes so that they can include cycling in their PE lessons). In every other respect this is a pure charity ride, and traditionally a VERY successful one too, whose sole purpose is to raise funds for the wonderful work the BHF do. There are many other famous organised rides, such as the local Macmillan Ride taking place this weekend, that are also run on the same purely charitable basis, but please don’t confuse us with the ever-more-popular ‘industry’ of organised rides and sportives run by commercial operators, some of whom do also make donations to charities, but do so only as a percentage of the profits they make – I’ll leave you to speculate about the reality of what that might sometimes mean … I couldn’t possibly comment, as they say! Thanks Gerry Gray

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