Ride Guide

Creating Your Bike Event

Do you have an idea for a ride or other bike-related event, but you’re not sure how to make it happen? Do you want to lead a ride, but you still need an idea? This guide can help you out.

You don’t need to be an awesome biker to lead a ride. Anyone can lead a ride or organize an event, including you.

Once you have your idea, add your event to the calendar.

I Need an Idea!

Your ride’s theme can be almost anything. Here are some common themes to get you started. If you have an idea that’s not on the list, that’s great — we’re not here to constrain you.

  • Parks, green spaces, and the great outdoors: Calgary has fantastic green spaces, including the Bow and Elbow River Valleys and bikes are a great way to explore them.
  • Food. Eating is a great way to socialize: You can work a food stop into your ride, do a tour of eateries, or ride to a park for a picnic.
  • Interests: Do you like art? Or gardening? Or music, books, comics, etc.? Organize a gallery ride, or a garden ride, or a thematic shopping ride. If you’re feeling enterprising, you may even contact those galleries or stores beforehand—they might give your group a tour or a discount!
  • Community: We’re all part of communities: our workplaces, schools, clubs, congregations, neighbourhoods. Why not get your office, schoolmates, or church to go on a ride together?
  • Hidden gems: Know a place that’s off the beaten track? Maybe a quaint park, fantastic corner deli, or nifty art piece. Work that into your ride.
  • Local history: Do you know the history of your neighbourhood (or want an excuse to learn more)? Plan a ride that tours places of historical interest, and give a little talk at each stop.
  • Dress code: You’re never too old to play dress-up. Get out your stylish/dorky/sexy/vintage/whatever outfits and ride around. Passers-by will wave and cheer, and you’ll have a blast.
  • Events: Ok, maybe riding ahead of a bunch of people isn’t your thing, but you still want to be part of this. Maybe you have another activity that you’d like to put on, and that you think would mesh with the interests of Cyclepalooza. Maybe your band is playing a show—make it a bike-in show. You’re part of an art/craft/fashion collective? Host a bike-related show.

Need more inspiration? Check out the calendar to see what’s already on there. Cyclepalooza is inspired by Vancouver’s Velopalooza and Portland’s Pedalpalooza, so check out their calendars for ride ideas (bonus points for putting a uniquely Cowtown spin on a Vancouver or Portland idea).

Practical Considerations

  • Starting location: A good starting location is reachable by bike and a place where people can chat while they wait. Parks, coffee shops, and bakeries fit the bill nicely.
  • Departure time: Some people will show up late. We’re all having fun here, so there’s usually no reason to leave right on time. If your ride does need to be punctual, mention that in the ride description.
  • Conflicting rides: It’s a good idea to check the calendar to see what else is happening at the same time as your ride. It’s fine to schedule your ride at the same time as another ride, but consider if your ride will appeal to the same people as the other ride.
  • Plan a safe route: Since most rides are social rides, use a bike map to make for a safe, leisurely route. Otherwise, note this to be a hell-raiser ride!
  • Keep people informed, together, and welcomed: Before you leave, give a rough overview of the route you’ll be taking. (If the route is a mystery, let people know that.) As you ride, keep the group together. Stop (when it’s safe) to let slower riders catch up. It’s helpful to designate someone to be a sweeper — to ride at the back of the pack and make sure nobody gets left behind. Finally, let people know you’re glad they came on your ride.
  • Food and beverage: Strangely, people bond better when filling their faces in close proximity to one another. Having a food stop is a good idea, especially around meal times. Rides that end at a place with food service give people a chance to socialize after the ride.
  • Book space in advance: If your event requires a space booking with the City of Calgary (e.g., a picnic site, a playfield, or the Glenmore cycling track), plan ahead and submit an event booking. All the details can be found on the City’s Rentals and Bookings page.
  • Spread the word: After you’ve added your event to the calendar, you can promote it some more. Telling people in person is the most effective promotion. Invite your friends, invite your neighbours, invite people you meet on other rides. (If you want to get fancy, you can print out fliers to remind people of your ride.) You can also promote your ride online — Twitter (use the #yycbike hashtag), facebook and the BikeCalgary forums are all good for that. And make sure to point the people you invite to cyclepalooza.ca — they might like to check out other events, too!
  • Make a webpage: Put the event info on a webpage, so that you can link to it from the Cyclepalooza listing. If you don’t have a website, you could just make a public facebook event, invite your friends, and list the event URL on your Cyclepalooza event listing.
  • Bike info and safety: Maybe you or some of your friends would like to brush up on your knowledge of cycling rules and safety, find out where the bike paths go, or maybe you want to know where you can buy a bike or fix it up—then check out the BikeCalgary.org cycling resource pages. But especially, remind/encourage everyone to:
    • Bring lights if you’re riding at night.
    • Obey the rules of the road.
    • Bring locks.
    • Wear helmets.
  • Don’t let disappointment get you down: Sometimes people just don’t show up to a ride. It happens. When it happens, be glad of the effort you made, and know your bicycle will always bring you happiness. It’s true, we creative bicycle riders are a fickle bunch, yet we are compassionate. So do let Cyclepalooza know your feelings were hurt. Then pick up your spirits, and offer the ride again at another time.

Make Your Event a Reality

Ready to add your ride? Add it to the calendar. You can change the details later: so add it now before someone else steals your idea (or time spot).

If you take photos or shoot video, share it with everyone after the face on Flickr, on YouTube, and on Vimeo.

Be sure to sign up for our Party People e-mail list to get tips and updates for event organizers.