Event Building 101: Intro

By @JonHornbeck


All of us here at Road Bike Action believe in supporting cycling events from the grassroots level all the way up to the thousand plus participant big time events. The question that commonly comes up though is how does one put on an event if they are looking to do so. There currently aren’t any “Cycling Event Building for Dummies” books available. Most promoters learn through trial and error or asking how to from other promoters. I know of some promoters as well who would rather not tell their tales in hopes to keep events on the minimal side to allow their events to reach maximum participants.


Times are changing though, especially here with the US domestic racing calendar disappearing and more fondo style events popping up. Especially with the growth in gravel events. The beauty of events is that they can be treated as a race, a social ride and everything else that comes with the territory of mass participation cyclists. Perhaps there is more of an appeal to signing up for a day with your friends with many extra amenities then pinning a number on your jersey and racing around an industrial park for forty-five minutes.


One downfall though can be the cost structure of putting events on. It is really easy to get in over your head with extra expenditures that cut into you profit. At the end of the day an event is a business and you would like there to be some profit so you can continue to put on more events in the future. I’ve seen and heard many stories first hand of the massive loss in money from promoters by over spending. Most people look to put on an event out of passion and their love for cycling. If you look and only see debt following your event that may push you towards not wanting to put another one on. Not a good scenario for wanting to help grow the sport of cycling.


With this new event building column we will follow step by step and document the building of this year’s Spandex Stampede events. We will break down all barriers with event building from the time of year to choose your date, name, venue, marketing, cost per-person structure, vendors, what to put in your swag bag and more. The goal is to give you the tools to go out and put on your own event with little overhead needed and all of the back end information which currently is tough to get. We will also chat with other promoters of larger events as well to get their tips on what makes their events successful.


Stay tuned as we start to dive into “Event Building 101.”

event building