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17 Responses

  1. tmana
    tmana June 13, 2013 at 5:02 am | | Reply

    First off, congratulations on your first Tour de Cure. It doesn’t matter whether or not you finished your course; it matters that you made the attempt and pushed your limits. (It sounds corny, but it’s really true. And anyone who says otherwise… hasn’t seen people struggle to do a half-mile, or walk a block, or any of the other physical activities many of us take for granted.)

    I rode my fourth TdC on June 2nd. (Yes, I’ve been late posting about it. Real Life intervenes.) I’ve seen these events now from multiple sides: rider, volunteer (I was a ham radio volunteer for several MS tours in the early 1990′s, and have been doing the same for the NYC Marathon for over 20 years), and for the past two years, as a member of the local TdC committee. The infrastructure needed to put on a ride is significant, and while much of it is volunteer and donation, there are certain things (like road signs and Red Rider jerseys) that must be paid for. For those of us who are Red Riders, considering that a cycling jersey of that quality normally costs around $50, and the T-shirt $10-15, $200 seems a reasonable amount in pledges. (That said, I have yet to break t he $1000 barrier, which — at least in this part of the country, and in certain sectors of the DOC — seems like the minimum we activist PWDs should be aiming for.)

    That all said, considering that I want to limit the number of times I hit up friends, colleagues, and family for money, the Tour de Cure is my ONLY charity ride each year. (I’ve considered a couple of local rides with an entry of $25-50, but timing and money haven’t allowed it yet.) Choose your battles. Mine is the Tour de Cure and I wear the Red Rider standard.

    1. Brian Wulff
      Brian Wulff August 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm | | Reply

      I agree this is a great event – but it’s not the 2nd ever. It’s been yearly for many years. The first one I participated in was in 2001. I rode the 100 mile challenge this year as a Red Rider and had a ball. Also note that the fundraising is quite minimal for such an event. The refreshments and rest stops and T-shirts/Jerseys provided as a Red Rider would barely be covered in the $200 mimimum. I’m partaking in the JDRF ride in Death Valley as well this year – and note that at the full package minimum of $4000 – over 80% of that goes directly to research to cure T1D. I raised $500 easily for ADA and have raised over $5,500 for JDRF so far this year. Keep pedaling for a cure and find a better approach to fundraising. These events are well worth the energy and make for a great day!

  2. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell June 13, 2013 at 5:19 am | | Reply

    Mike, I’m glad to hear that you managed to make it so far. I’m surprised that the ADA didn’t have rest stops every 10 miles, some folks with diabetes do get caught unawares. In previous rides like this I’ve helped folks test their BGs, or given them extra carbs.

    $200 is a lot if you’re a family wanting 2 or 3 riders to participate. Reaching out to friends/family/colleagues isn’t something everyone feels comfortable doing. Why doesn’t the ADA say it’s $200 for one person and $400 for 2 or more people from the same family?

  3. Mike Barry
    Mike Barry June 13, 2013 at 5:26 am | | Reply

    Great job on your ride!!

    I sort of agree about the fundraising being tedious however, while I haven’t done a bicycle event, I’ve run some races and the big marathons, e.g. Chicago, tend to cost about $150-200 for entry fees so the $200 is not that far off the mark for a supported ride with no traffic for however far you choose to go. I loathe bothering people for $$$ and would probably just pay it if I do one of these.

  4. Kathy
    Kathy June 13, 2013 at 6:38 am | | Reply

    Have been a rider in many bike events for JDRF, ADA and other charities. Have also been on the other side of the table as staff at said charities. What people should remember is that nonprofits use walls, rides etc. as visibility events to promote not only causes but themselves. The sales model of fundraising methodology is in use at many organizations where volunteers & donors are treated as “leads” not charitable givers – idea is to hit early, hard & often for fundraising. I don’t know if the ADA utilizes this strategy but a very large national org I used to work for (totally unrelated to D) did this to a detrimental end in Florida. People naturally balk at being asked to donate repeatedly, even the very wealthy who can afford far more than $200 per event. And sad to say, most staff at these orgs think very little about the cause they’re supposed to support – volunteers are where you find the true hearts and believers. I can’t get behind these kind of labor intensive events nowadays given what I’ve learned about the workings behind the curtain. But way to go on your ride, that is more impressive!

  5. ARCpoint Labs of Cooper City
    ARCpoint Labs of Cooper City June 13, 2013 at 6:39 am | | Reply

    Great job on the Tour de Cure! I agree with you that the events should be more accessible to more people instead of having such a high donation demand.

  6. Mary Dexter
    Mary Dexter June 13, 2013 at 7:19 am | | Reply

    Congratulations on your ride. I did it once here in Wisconsin. Their idea of flat is not mine. I call those steep hills, not level ground.

    The cost is a problem. I ended up riding alone because my family could not ride with me. Rather than feeling solidarity, I felt alone and isolated.

    They say the money goes for education. I wish they would educate their staff about things like carb counting, exercise and insulin, and other types of diabetes besides children with Type 1 and obese Type 2.
    Also tired of receiving a nickle in the mail every month with a request for yet another donation. I don’t want my donation used to mail nickles.

  7. StephenS
    StephenS June 13, 2013 at 7:29 am | | Reply

    Mike… congrats on the ride! I’m jealous that you got to ride around the track at IMS.

    I did the Chesapeake Bay Tour de Cure on May 18, and it was great. Our rest stops (the 55 mile route) were at 11, 28, and 37 miles, which meant the longest stretch was between the last stop and the end of the ride. I didn’t like that, but 3 stops in 55 miles seems okay to me if it’s just better spaced.

    Much as I hate to admit it, I have to agree with the $200 minimum for this event, given the cost of the Red Rider jersey (something comparable is probably around $60-$65 retail here), the cost of the support, fire & police, etc., and the idea that they actually want to have something left over at the end of it all.

    That said, I do find the fundraising relatively fruitless. I know many people who will contribute, but only $5-$10 at a time, if they can. That means I’ll never be able to do a ride like the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes, which I’d really like to do. The cost of the Tour de Cure this time came entirely out of my pocket. It means that I probably won’t be doing an event with a comparable cost again this year. Which probably won’t bother ADA… but it would be nice if the cost wasn’t what was holding me up from additional participation.

  8. Brian (bsc)
    Brian (bsc) June 13, 2013 at 10:03 am | | Reply

    The problem I have with the ADA special events (primarily the Tour De Cure and Step Out) is that they are not fundraising. The ADA spends $46M on fundraising in 2011. And I’m sure that some of that money was spent soliciting donations, bequests and grants (which raise $72M in 2011). But the special events raised $53M. I’m sure that the vast majority of the $46M went to running those events which are portrayed as raising money. That is hugely inefficient. Perhaps not as inefficient as the ADA debacle outsourcing telephone solicitation (where only 15% of funds actually went to the ADA), but enough that it weighs on my conscience. How can I participate and ask people to donate money knowing that really all they are doing is paying to support me riding the bike. Heck, I could just do that on my own without hitting up everyone.

  9. Heike
    Heike June 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm | | Reply

    Mike, congratulations on your ride! Our family participated in the Tour de Cure in Silicon Valley last weekend, my ten-year old son has had T1D for over six years. In our location, kids under ten have to pay the registration fee, but can ride without meeting the fundraising minimum. Well, my kids are ten and twelve, so this does no longer help us.

    It would have been very nice and inspiring for my son to have a friend or two ride with us. When my kids were younger, we had a friend of the kids join us and paid his registration fee. However, given the minimum fundraising requirement, we can no longer do that. And we did not find a family who was willing to sponsor their child to the tune of $245 for a bike ride (plus more if the parent did not feel comfortable having their child ride without them). Similarly, uncles and aunts could not join us on the ride since they were already sponsoring our family with their donations.

    Given that my son has T1D, our family also fundraises for other diabetes organizations like JDRF and Carb DM. That makes it even harder to meet the minimum fundraising requirements for the entire family, yet we would like our son to enjoy the inspiration he receives from participating as a Red Rider.

    Last but not least, I imagine it would benefit the ADA’s fundraising efforts to get kids involved in the Tour de Cure early so that they will be coming back as adults with more fundraising power. To that end, it would help to make it easier to have my kids’ friends join.

  10. Riding a Bike for Diabetes… If the Money Allows | Knowledge of Medicine

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  11. Ian
    Ian June 14, 2013 at 9:44 am | | Reply

    Congratulations on your ride.

    Your post raises a key question for me: Why did you ride? Was it fellowship with other PWDs, outreach, recognition, solidarity, financial support for ADA, something else, or a combination of these things? Without context, it’s not clear why you think lowering the cost per rider is the right answer.

    In my case, I’ve been participating in JDRF rides for several years. There are two reasons: A significant percentage of what I raise goes to fund research, and the experience of being around other PWDs is unlike any I’ve found at a other diabetes-specific events. In that context (particularly as it relates to supporting research), the fundraising demands are worth it. If these rides were just cycling events/vacations, I’d look at them very differently.

    Anyway, congratulations again. I hope you keep riding and find a solution–or an event–that works for you.

  12. Skye
    Skye June 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm | | Reply

    This is actually the first post that I’ve found on here that made me mad, so I thought that meant I should reply!

    It is very clear UP FRONT what you have to do to ride in a Tour, so if you don’t like it, don’t sign up. It is, and always will be a fundraiser, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, don’t sign up. If you don’t like fundraising, thats your own personal decision/choice/problem, and signing up for an event that requires it, knowing full well in advance means you accept that part of it.

    Fundraising does’t always mean asking people for money with nothing in exchange, and to think it does is exceedingly uncreative. ADA gives you tons of resources to help you reach the minimum amount, but if you choose not to partake, thats your problem.
    Many many MANY events (marathons, bike races, etc) have registration fees in the $100s, so a $15 or $25 registration fee in this day and age is nothing. If you have 20 kids, sure it adds up, but if you have 20 kids and want them all to ride you probably have a good reason and can turn that into an excellent story about why people should donate.

    I raised $128 this year from a half-hearted one day garage sale (half-hearted because I only decided 3 days before that I was actually going to do, so I had little in the way of advertising or promotional activity and only put out 2 signs).
    I have brought in hundreds before with bake sales, especially started early in the year, you can get an “every Thursday bake sale” thing going and by the 3rd week, people show up with lots of cash and have been waiting for your tasty baked goods specifically. (Note, a box of cake mix costs $1.25 and takes 25 minutes to make 2 dozen cupcakes. Each cupcake goes for at least $1′average…. do the math. Don’t pawn off store-bought goods though, people won’t get excited about them.)
    One of our teams this year held a “plants and pretty things” sale and made $400 selling a bunch of potted plants, purses, and doiley-things in less than 3 hours.
    Offering to rake leaves, wash windows, clean someones car for a donation is easy, and generally the only expense is your time.
    My all-time most successful fundraiser though? Going door to door throughout my neighborhood telling people what I was doing. People I’d never met before were excited about what I was doing, I met 3 more PWDs in my 4 block radius, and I made $700 in 3 nights. It was a serious time-commitment (average 30 minutes per donation), and it was WAY out of my comfort zone, but it was an excellent way to actually meet my neighbors, and it was hugely lucrative. Not for everyone, sure, but if you put forth effort to actually fundraise, it happens pretty easily.
    Sending generic pre-filled emails and posting on Facebook are the least effective methods I’ve found yet, and what that clearly demonstrates to me is that you’ll get back what you put in. You take the lame & easy route, you’ll get lame results. You put forth some effort and your fundraising will show that.

    Check out the FatCyclist.com post from February 5 of this year for some really excellent tips on how to make fundraising fun and effective.

    I’ve been on every side of Tour- I’ve been a rider since high school (14 years), I’ve been on a committee member since we decided to actually have a committee, and I handled a bunch of the logistics one year when our Tour coordinator left suddenly a few days before Tour due to a family emergency. I’ve seen all sides of it, and my resounding opinion is that nobody is unaware that Tour is ultimately a fundraiser and to sign up anyway and complain about it later- especially after putting in minimal/no effort to fundraise- is really lame. Nobody holds your hand to a flame and makes you register, there are lots of resources available to help you get your fundraising done, and its disrespectful to everyone who volunteers so much time and energy to pull this off to then complain about the fundraising minimum. I put in 50 hours of committee time, not including day-of or email correspondence, to help make this fun for YOU, and you show up, ride and then complain about what you knew up front was part of the deal.

    I know there’s arguments that the minimum donation makes the event inaccessible to people, but at least in my city, we’ve actually had registration go UP since we started enforcing the minimum. My opinion is that people who are on the fence about it use the fundraising or registration fee as an excuse, but they aren’t any more likely to show up if we reduce either.

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