Friday, June 20, 2008

my response to butterworth

This is how I replied (to this):

You ask what can be gained by boycotting your events. Quite a lot, it would seem.

From where I sit, the problems lying at the heart of all this, or at least contributing heavily, are (1) the profit motive--that you, or Rich, or whomever were trying to make a living out of promoting amateur bicycle racing--and (2) the cycling community’s reliance on (nearly) a single provider of racing events…rather than a loose conglomeration of events put on by nearly as many promoters as events.

A race calendar filled with events organized and managed by different groups of volunteers--cycling clubs and others--in a non-profit paradigm seems to me a much stronger, interesting, and aesthetically desirable calendar than one filled almost exclusively by one or two for-profit promoters. Why?

(1) Lower entry fees.

(2) Higher payouts.

(3) Charity motive (not always, but often).

(4) Events with charity motives promote both participant and spectator attendance AND…

(5) …make more sense for potential community sponsors (which can bring in both money and manpower).

(6) The culture of the whole thing feels community-oriented, not transaction-oriented. (The difference between a state fair and Six Flags. Who wouldn’t rather race at—or even just come to watch—a Turkey Hill vs. a Kirkwood or a Mt. Joy?)

(7) Club-run events provide opportunity for more racers and other cycling enthusiasts to get involved in organizing and promoting events (see prior point), balancing the 'take' vs. 'give' equation.

(8) When each event is organized by a different group or promoter, if one group has trouble and an event disappears, there are still plenty of other events left on the calendar.

This year’s Red Roses Racing calendar, and past years’ Pro-Am Cycling calendars, have done much to discourage cycling clubs and others from promoting their own events. That, to me, marks an unattractive trend. A trend, however, that will no doubt be reversed if you (and Rich) would give up on monopolizing the race calendar and only put on a very few events (if any at all).



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