May is National Bike Month. Communities and groups across the US recognize the event with a colorful array of biking activities to celebrate the joy of bicycling.
Here are 5 tips for planning a bike month activity:
1. The bigger the event, the longer the planning time. If you are working on something small like a repair clinic or a bike rodeo, a couple of months might be enough time to plan and coordinate. Bigger events like Open Street festivals and Bike to Work Day celebrations take several months (6-12) to plan well. Start early and involve key groups as soon as you can. And don’t forget it takes time to promote, so give yourself some time to build excitement, to publish ads, to get sponsors, and get the support you need for making a great event.
2. Create a vision. Think about the experience you want to create, the people you want to reach, and the way you want to share your event with the world. Start with a small group in this phase. Then take that created vision to the community members that will be involved. Try to avoid the disaster that can come with too many cooks in the kitchen at the start of a planning process. A good clear vision can help prevent mission drift.
3. Surround yourself with excited people who can make the long haul. Get the right people involved and planning and executing will be a breeze. It takes passion, heart, and follow through to make an event successful. Long planning processes can be exhausting, start with enough time to do the job right, but don’t go too long, or risk wearing out your help.
4. Make sure you have the permits and other licenses needed. Permit processes can take months, and have the potential to keep your event from happening. Be sure to find out early what kind of licenses or permits your locality and state require. Check on police requirements, health department permits, and highway regulations before you go too far down the planning path.
5. Get insured. You can buy single day and single event policies for very little money. Insurance will be required by many groups and places you will work with. Vendors and organizations will commonly ask for your proof of insurance and ask to be listed as a co-insured. This is standard for everything from using space in parks to getting permits for city streets. Use a reputable insurance company. If paying for insurance is a problem look for a sponsor who will specifically pay for this part of the event.
Finally, don’t get discouraged if your first year is not big. Bike Month events can take years to build momentum. It has to start somewhere. Celebrate the successes you do have and strive to create a sustainable event geared for the long haul.