By Mike Murphy
If you produce events, especially athletic, it’s likely you’ve been involved in a cycling event. And if you’ve been involved in a cycling event, you’ve probably had to transport bikes at one time or another. Over the years, bike transport is one of the things I’ve never been quite comfortable with.We’ve hired vendors to handle it, done it ourselves, and used volunteers, but it’s always involved either hundreds of packing blankets, a box and the dismantling of each bike, or stacks of cardboard to separate the bikes. The end result visually was bikes stacked like cord-wood in the back of a rental truck. It’s always felt disrespectful of the bikes and their owners. Efficient? Maybe.
It also seemed like once a year we ended up searching for pictures of a new way to do it, with no results. There are some good solutions out there, but very few for 100+ high-value bikes. Certainly someone has done this right?
Fast forward to June of this year. We are producing a 350 mile cycling event called Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry for our client Share Our Strength. The participants are 125 renowned chefs from across the country and they’ve fundraised $1M for our partners at No Kid Hungry. It’s a beautiful route from Monterey to Santa Barbara through California’s coastal vineyards, with one hitch. It has a 50 mile section with questionable safety for the cyclists unless the road is closed, and that’s not possible. Enter the bike transport dilemma.
At this point I should remind you that bicycles these days aren’t what they used to be. If you’re really into cycling, it’s fairly easy to have $5,000 invested into an incredibly well engineered and lightweight bike. Given the participants attending this event, it was likely we were going to need to transport half a million dollars in bikes over 50 miles of winding road overnight. Stacking the bikes like cord-wood, no matter how much padding we could apply, was not an acceptable or respectable option.
Our Production Manager, Rick Winquest, and Warehouse Manager, Richard Morrison, took on the challenge of ensuring these bikes went from point A to B without damage. It was important to keep the budget, on-site staff/labor time-efficiency, and security in mind. It was also important to park these bikes at the end of their move in a fashion that allowed the riders to find their ride the following morning without sorting through every bike in the place.
After doing the math, they determined a 53’ trailer, with E-Track throughout, would allow a total of 150 bikes to be hung at two levels. They could be transported by a single driver, and allow sufficient space that no bike would have to touch another. With the purchase of some inexpensive parts, some 2×4’s and hooks, some bungie cord and a bit of labor prior to the bikes meeting the truck, the loading and unloading process each took around 90 minutes with 4 people. The labeling of each bike with a tag corresponding to the riders’ bibs before they went on the truck allowed them to be parked at the next days’ starting point in an easy to find fashion. And best of all, there was no damage to a single bike. It was a common sense solution for a unique event – Chefs Cycle. Even our bike mechanic friends at Giant were impressed.
Whether it’s finding efficient ways to pack a truck, unique ways to reduce risk, or event solutions that save time and money, we run into similar problems on a regular basis. A unique situation that needs a creative solution. If you are running into one of those situations and need some help with the solution, feel free to give us a call. Coming up with a new and better way to do things charges our batteries.
Mike Murphy draws upon more than 25 years of concert and corporate special events production experience to create spectacularly creative experiences for our Event 360 clients. A co-founder of Event 360, Mike is an Emmy Award-winning professional who has developed brand-building events, product launches and tours worldwide. As the Line Producer and Director of Special Events for a major movie studio, Mike took film premieres to a new level through extravaganzas in the New Orleans Superdome, the Rose Bowl, aboard the U.S.S. John C. Stennis aircraft carrier and numerous other improbable but spectacular film venues. Mike’s other key achievements include the production of a Papal Mass in Denver for 500,000 attendees and tour management and production for Harry Connick, Jr., 10,000 Maniacs and numerous other internationally known touring artists with music.