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Tips for Organising a Sponsored Cycle

You may find that this guide contains a lot more detail than you need depending on the size of event you are organising - don’t worry –you are the best judge of how to run your own event and this guide can only offer suggestions.

    Depending on the size of the event, you may need to inform the Local Council/Police/residents that it is taking place. Another courtesy may be to put up posters on the section in advance, so regular users know what is going on, which will also publicise the event.


    • you could contact your local bike shop and/or cycle group for advice and assistance.
    • You may have participants who are quite new to cycling or have lost their confidence. Perhaps you could get experienced cyclists to train or cycle with novices

    Route planning for a bike ride:

    Depending on the size of your bike event, you may need to think about some or all of the following points:

    • The start and finish point(s) should be accessible i.e. near public transport, have sufficient space for cyclists to gather, and preferably be close to a local landmark that people will be able to find easily. A good location would be a railway station, supermarket, town hall or school playground (provided it isn't busy)!
    • Well in advance of the event, carefully check out and record the routes physical characteristics (i.e. on road and traffic-free sections, major road crossings, steep climbs and descents) and the facilities on the route (telephones, refreshments, toilets etc).
    • Record the distances and timings between destinations/landmarks, to help you plan the day's schedule. NB: A large group will travel far more slowly than individual cyclists (reckon at approximately 7-10 miles/hour for a group of about 30 people).
    • Choose a route with minimum height gain and don't be too ambitious with distances. I0 or 20 mile route options are common distances for a day ride. . Consider different or separate, preferably traffic-free, sections for junior or family rides. Your route could be linear, circular or even a figure of 8, which gives riders the option of a longer or shorter route.
    • If your route is linear, you may well need to return cyclists and their bikes to the start point. If possible ride circular routes anti-clockwise to avoid right hand turns across traffic on roads.
    • Decide on a suitable start time (for large bike rides you may wish to stagger the departures).
    • Decide whether or not to hold an event of any kind at the start or finish of the ride.


    The number of assistants required and the nature of their roles will depend largely on the size of the event and whether it is on roads or traffic-free routes. Roles might include a leader (who knows the route well and sets the pace), a 'sweeper', who stays at the back of the ride to assist people with difficulties and ensure no-one gets left behind, mechanic(s), direction giving marshals, photographer, support van driver (if a large ride) and an overall 'logistics' organiser who deals with registration, refreshments, media etc.
    It might be useful on the day to identify the staff in some way, for instance, with tabards or jackets.

    What participants may need:

    A flyer/photocopied sheet giving: an event schedule, information on the marshalling, signing and mapping, safety requirements, on-highway riding rules, health and safety issues, emergency procedures, bike maintenance and fitness training ideas, and a map of the route. They might be encouraged to bring:
    • water
    • refreshments
    • wet and cold weather clothing
    • sun protection (hat/cream)
    • helmet
    • reflective bands (plus bright clothing if on road) and lights
    • helmet
    • lock and bell

What event organisers may need:

    • Publicity materials
    • sponsor forms
    • registration forms
    • T-shirts
    • marshal jackets
    • route maps/schedule
    • large water containers (for riders to fill their bottles from)
    • refreshments (NB: rubbish bags)
    • basic tool kit (puncture repair kit, spanners, link extractor etc.- talk to your bike shop about this)
    • camera(s), spare film(s)
    • mobile phones emergency/media contact numbers
    • basic first aid kit.

    Health & Safety/security for bike events::

    In addition to issues already covered in Health and Safety, there are some particular issues relating to bike events:

    • You may want to think about the security of the bikes - provision of temporary bike racks and/or volunteer bike minders at start/finish points and destinations on the route.
    • If you are riding on-road, encourage riders to be single file, and discourage overtaking. You may wish to stipulate that under 16 year oIds should be accompanied by an adult.
    • You may wish to approach your local police for assistance with particularly busy sections or dangerous crossings. If you are organising a ride of more than 50 cyclists this may cause traffic problems. Contact the police to notify them, if they consider it necessary they may cone off some roads. The police will also be able to provide you with a contact number to call in case of emergencies.
    • NB: It is illegal for ride 'marshals' to stop or direct traffic.
    • If it is a large ride you must inform the local police of your route, so that they can make adequate provisions for traffic/pedestrian safety.

    If you've any tips on organising a sponsored cycle, please add them to the comments section below

    A Friendly Disclaimer

    We hope you find these tips useful. They are however only tips and we don’t claim to be experts or cover all the angles. We don't accept responsibility for any loss where anyone acts or refrains from action as a result of material on this web page


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