“Hey mate – have you sponsored my charity bike ride?” Is a phrase many will get tired of saying and many more will get tired of hearing. However, each year millions of pounds are raised for good causes through this simple exchange.
If you are thinking of raising money for charity through a sponsored bike ride what exactly is involved?
Typical rides will involve an entry fee along with a fundraising target. The entry fee covers expenses such as ride support and paying for road closures. The Action London to Paris ride has a £99 entrance fee and you need to commit to raising a minimum of £1,400.
Alternatively, you may choose to organise your own charity bike ride. A good friend of mine Jason, is currently riding from Assisi in Italy all the way to the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted to fundraise for the hospice that cared for his daughter during her battle with cancer. These charity rides present the added challenge of having to organise the event yourself.
A good basis for your fundraising is always to recruit your nearest and dearest to help you raise money. There are different ways they may be able to help.
Handing them a sponsor form or asking them to direct people towards your online giving page is a start.
If you are involved with your local school, nursery or college then they may help by holding a non-uniform day.
Events such as bake sales and pub quizzes can make a big difference to contributions.
Fundraise while you shop
A clever new site called Easy Fundraising donates money to charity each time you spend online through affiliated stores. It’s a good one to keep bookmarked.
Training for a charity ride
Depending on the length of the ride you’ll also want to spend a few months leading up to the ride pushing up your fitness. Whilst charity bike rides are not as gruelling as a marathon can be, some preparation can really help make things easier. This is especially true for rides that last more than a day.
To train for a charity ride, you can use your commute as a good building block. If it’s a short commute of around 5 miles you may want to try taking a longer route in to work. You can also make use of your weekends to get some training miles in and push yourself. This will make the leap to a longer ride much easier.
Many of the organisers these days provide training plans which can be a very useful reference point for the sort of riding you can do in the run up to the big event.
Beyond the training you’ll also want to equip yourself with some basic gear. A pair of padded shorts will certainly make things a lot easier.
If you’ve got any more great fundraising ideas please do share them in the comments below..
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.