Author Topic: Helping at events  (Read 2664 times)

Helping at events
« on: July 17, 2019, 06:54:15 pm »
A comment by Manotea in the London Orbital tread below make me think the topic of helping at events is worthy of discussion here.

Until recently, I was responsible for LWL and was constantly reminded that the event and its popularity was only possible because of the over 30 people who put their hands up and gave their time to make it all happen.

I was about to say "selflessly" gave their time but I think we should celebrate the fun and enjoyment that can be had helping out on an event - I recommend that everyone does something every year if they can just because it's a blast.

At a control you get to catch up with a regiment of people you know from a ride you have done in the past - but probably never see because they're normally well ahead of you or miles back on the road. People are almost universally delighted to see you (not a regular experience in my life!) and there's a real pleasure in watching a knackered AUK come back to life after drinking stewed tea and eating a ton of cherry bakewells.

On LWL, feeding riders and hearing their stories at the end of 407km was always reward enough for the stress of running the event (even when I'd heard some of the same stories a few times before).

I can be a little boring on the subject, but audax for me is all about the community and volunteering is where it really comes to life for me.

So, if you haven't done it yet, I can strongly recommend taking a day off the bike from time to time. (plus there are always tons of cakes left over that have to be eaten by someone). And if you can spare a few days, I had one of the best holidays working at St Ives for a week on LEL... Danial should be charging for places next year!

S2L

Re: Helping at events
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2019, 07:07:39 pm »
Completely agree.
I've helped at more events than I have ridden this year, which is probably because i rode very few...

As a result, I have a guaranteed entry for LEL 2021, but you know what? I might just help there too, it seems more fun than slogging my bum around the length of the country twice...  :thumbsup:

Helping got me into organising and seeking others help... it's fun, especially in busy buzzing events, but it is very important also in less glamorous ones

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2019, 07:27:35 pm »
I fully agree.
I've had a great time helping out but gave up when I became a negative help.
Sorry and thanks for the craic!

Re: Helping at events
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2019, 08:00:48 pm »
How about some sort of AUK resource for regional volunteers?

Several times I have learned of an event (usually during or after) that controls nearby that I would've been more than happy to help at.

I know organizers probably have their own trusted controllers, but it could be good to encourage some fresh blood. Perhaps sweeten the deal with AUK points?

I remember when going for my (car) racing license, you had to get a certain number of event signatures to graduate from the Rookie plates. You could substitute a race meeting for a days marshaling to get a signature and it was actively encouraged in order to give racers a proper appreciation of what the volunteers do to make their races happen.

Anyway, I'm Peat of South Oxfordshire. Will help for cake.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2019, 08:10:15 pm »
I remember when going for my (car) racing license, you had to get a certain number of event signatures to graduate from the Rookie plates. You could substitute a race meeting for a days marshaling to get a signature and it was actively encouraged in order to give racers a proper appreciation of what the volunteers do to make their races happen.

Think that's still the case, though marshalling has recently had to get significantly more organised and structured.

Quote from: LiamFitz
People are almost universally delighted to see you

In Audax this may be the case; in my Motorsport assisting history I've mostly been part of the equivalent of the Broom Wagon; nobody wants the Closing Car* to catch them!

* Closes the controls, dismisses the marshalls from their post, collects the timepieces and control cards.
The AUK equivalent is I suppose a manned control once the controller has gone home.

Martin

  • Give me bas relief
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Re: Helping at events
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2019, 09:09:52 pm »
Remember also that by helping you still get to ride the event a week or two before, usually as a social leisurely ride too  :)

I've had many volunteers helping on my events over the years; whether they be previous riders who like to see the event keeping going, kind souls of This Parish just being excellent  :) or even of the exchange help where we each help on each other's event variety.

I like the idea of a helper pool list. The only regular requests I get for help are on TT's in my club (of which I've also given my fair share)

Re: Helping at events
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2019, 10:15:08 pm »
I helped for the first time at Manotea's recent Ditchling Devil, and I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as feeling like I was doing something worthwhile. Will certainly look for more opportunities to get involved, and would encourage others to do so too  :)

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2019, 11:33:25 pm »
I've really enjoyed supporting two brevets. I think there are thousands of people who would be very happy to support rides, the problem is linking them to the organiser. I found out about my first volunteer brevet from scanning the calendar events and seeing one was near me (I supported the sign on for the 200, which started earlier, and the 100, which I then did myself). The next time I saw Paul's post here for the Ditchling Devil.

Perhaps the Audax UK IT could be used to automatically let members know which calendar events are coming up with start points near their postcode which they might be interested in supporting? Or organisers could list 'help wanted' in the calendar section of arrivée?
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2019, 12:06:28 am »
Running a control is as satisfying as riding a ride, in my opinion.

I agree there could be some kind of postcode related database doohickey webthingy. Currently I do one control each year, but i have done more in the past and could be persuaded in the future to provide stamping succour at other events...

If you ride, then provide help, even if only once. The events only happen because people give up their time, give up yours.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2019, 01:33:02 am »
Perhaps the Audax UK IT could be used to automatically let members know which calendar events are coming up with start points near their postcode which they might be interested in supporting? Or organisers could list 'help wanted' in the calendar section of arrivée?

Actually the more useful is to base it on where the controls are. When I lived in Canterbury, it's be real easy to help at any control east of Ashford. An event starting hundreds of km west of Kent night be using such a control. If the alert was only based on start/finish location, then it would miss many intermediate controls where help could be really useful.

It's a similar problem to the way events just describe starting in a village, and a list of villages it goes through, locals may know where those are, but non locals won't.

I'll stop there before I get attacked on twitter for saying something that might not be 100% positive about AUK, but just consider it's a non simple problem and alerting on intermediate controls would be useful too...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Helping at events
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2019, 06:12:59 am »
I'll stop there before I get attacked on twitter for saying something that might not be 100% positive about AUK, but just consider it's a non simple problem and alerting on intermediate controls would be useful too...

No, I think you make a fair point.

In practice, though, organisers of longer events (ones that go well outside their local area) are usually very experienced audaxers who have a good network of contacts, and they will proactively seek help from people in the areas their rides go to - not just with running controls but also in coming up with suitable locations for controls.

I think it’s mainly inexperienced orgs (like myself) who would benefit from such a resource, and they’re usually restricted to shorter events anyway. But that’s partly what the mentoring system is for - my mentor was very helpful in this respect when putting on my first event.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2019, 06:18:59 am »
I was about to say "selflessly" gave their time but I think we should celebrate the fun and enjoyment that can be had helping out on an event - I recommend that everyone does something every year if they can just because it's a blast.

Indeed. On the subject of the London Orbital, I helped out at the Gravesend ferry control last year and had a jolly good time (sitting in a pub garden on a sunny day... such a chore).

Re: Helping at events
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2019, 08:00:59 am »
This year I've helped in two overnight controls, not only was it very rewarding experience I also learnt a lot from observing the riders, using some of these lessons in the following rides. I'd definitely recommend it, as anyone who's ridden with me recently will be fully aware ;D

Next year I'm already intending on helping on at least one overnight control, I will get round to telling the organiser sometime soon.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
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Re: Helping at events
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2019, 10:21:30 am »
There's no such thing as altruism.  Everything we do, we do out of self-interest, at some level.  Helping at events is a very good illustration of that general point.

So, if you haven't done it yet, I can strongly recommend taking a day off the bike from time to time. (plus there are always tons of cakes left over that have to be eaten by someone).

I think on big and long events with lots of helpers, the helpers eating more than their share of the food can be a real problem - it was certainly flagged up as an issue on one edition of LEL that I was peripherally involved with.
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

Re: Helping at events
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2019, 10:51:58 am »
I've always though it's weird how rare open calls for volunteers at audaxes are. Even if there's an adequate supply of volunteers from "contacts", making sure there's a clear path in for new people is a worthwhile thing in and of itself.

Quote
Perhaps the Audax UK IT could be used to automatically let members know which calendar events are coming up with start points near their postcode which they might be interested in supporting?

It's not an IT problem. A boring old mailing list, maybe one per region to reduce noise. Done.

telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2019, 10:58:03 am »
OTOH if orgs aren't asking for help that suggests they've got a well drilled team in place (particularly for events which have run for several years?)

Agree that controlling is fun and at least as rewarding as riding the thing :)
2017 - R500 ✅ | 2018 - R1000 ✅ | 2019 - ?

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2019, 11:11:13 am »
It's not an IT problem. A boring old mailing list, maybe one per region to reduce noise. Done.

Except what happens with rides that cross regions? Your ride may start in Essex, but it goes to the west country and back?

It's not a simple problem.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Helping at events
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2019, 11:17:36 am »
Except what happens with rides that cross regions? Your ride may start in Essex, but it goes to the west country and back?

The organiser posts in the list for the region where they want volunteers?


quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2019, 11:19:51 am »
Except what happens with rides that cross regions? Your ride may start in Essex, but it goes to the west country and back?

The organiser posts in the list for the region where they want volunteers?

BRB, I need tea.

I'm awake, honest...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2019, 11:52:18 am »
It's not an IT problem. A boring old mailing list, maybe one per region to reduce noise. Done.

Well you're right in that it's not an IT problem it's an organizational problem but that is an IT solution whether done by e-mail, message board or carrier pigeon...
IT problems are problems in the solutions.

#pedant

Re: Helping at events
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2019, 08:56:21 am »
I occasionally put out a request for volunteers on the Audax Facebook Group and has yielded some great volunteers.   

Recently when supporting Alfapete's control at the Worcestershire control on the WCW audax, we had another volunteer who had travelled down from Leeds - now that is commitment!
KIDDERMINSTER KILLER AND CLEE AUDAX, 20th July 2019; SOUTH SALOPIAN, 5th Oct 2019. http://beaconrcc.org.uk/audaxes/

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2019, 09:45:05 am »
I don’t do FAcebook and I only look at the AUK forum when there’s a fight on, so I get any requests for help by word of mouth or on here.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

S2L

Re: Helping at events
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2019, 09:45:32 am »
Recently when supporting Alfapete's control at the Worcestershire control on the WCW audax, we had another volunteer who had travelled down from Leeds - now that is commitment!

And he travelled with home made cake, let's not forget the important details

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
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Re: Helping at events
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2019, 09:55:31 am »
Happy to help with the catering on events that haunt Hampshire, Berkshire or West Sussex, or act as a card stamper.  At the moment still need tons of advance notice due to work/family. 
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 168 (metric) 518 (furlongs)  111 (nautical miles)

D

  • DD
  • DD
Re: Helping at events
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2019, 05:29:13 pm »
volunteering is so nice to give something back, I have volunteered twice at the LEL driving others to Scotland from England, also helped out at a few events, its great to see others and give them my support as you know how it feels yourself when the chips are down, and get them back on the road with good spirits