Is Venture Outdoors actually charging money for their BikeFest rides? Seriously, $20/$15…..say it isn’t so….
Sadly, the guy who has led the ride for free over the past couple years is living in Japan this summer.
Well, the ‘Zoom the Tombs’ ride is today at 2pm and that one is FREE!
because they are charging money for a ride during bikefest is why.
VO charges for pretty much all of their activities. Whether you agree with that or not, that’s the way they choose to raise money, BikeFest or not.
Bike Pittsburgh charged money for people to get into their party too…
I was also told that VO coordinated for the mural artists to show up to the murals to talk about them throughout the ride. If you felt strongly about it, a free mural ride (without the artists most likely) could always be organized.
I used to feel that way about charging for things like hikes, bike rides, and those kinds of things until I went to Montreal. They have an organization called Velo Quebec, it’s housed in a cool 3 story brick building right next to one of the parks, they have a cafe, a bookstore, a small bike parts shop, a trip service, they run all kinds of tours, and they advocate for bike lanes and bike infrastructure in the city and throughout the Province. And they charge money for things. But what they do with the money is incredible, and really good. It would be amazing if Pgh had a facility, to scale of course, anything like that. Imagine what Bike Pgh could do if they had an operating budget of, I don’t know, a half-mill a year.
i’ve been on bikefest rides that charged money. of course, it all went to bike pittsburgh. everyone was more than happy to pay up.
everyone was more than happy to pay up.
Everyone who went, presumably.
Seems like a kind of complicated issue, the more I think about it. We’re dealing with goals that have more than one layer. Bike Pittsburgh (for one) is doing bike advocacy, outreach kind of stuff, which requires money. It also needs to create positives for cyclists whether or not each of those individual cyclists is in a position to contribute at any particular time. So you need events with a cover and membership drives and whatever else to bring in some cash, but you also want events (plus all the improvements that bikepgh makes for us) that just bring every possible cyclist (and potential cyclist) out of the woodwork or off the couch or out from behind the steering wheel and hopefully give them an experience as positive as possible. And there’s alot of wonderful stuff like that, that don’t cost us per use: the free rides, the forum, the bike lanes, and lots of stuff I’m sure that isn’t always obvious. (Hopefully we do contribute when and how we can though.)
So it makes sense that bike pgh is going to sometimes reach out to us with one hand offering something to us, and sometimes reach out with the other asking for something from us. And there’s going to be overlap. I think the really frustrating (even demoralizing?) thing is when a person thinks they’re dealing with the one hand and it turns out, at least partly, to be the other. Not that this would always create a problem, but depending on who you are and where you’re at when you realize which hand you’re shaking.
I keep focusing on bike pgh because I feel like I’m beginning to get a sliver of familiarity with it. I’m not involved at all with VO though, so can’t speak directly about them.
let me be clear, I have no problem with Bike Pittsburgh asking for money or volunteers. I give my time and money as I can. And a once a year fund-raising party is a heck of a lot different than charging everyone who shows up on a ride $15-20 to participate, especially during an event that is supposed to raise awareness and funds for another organization.
At least VO is being consistent. Their events cost money to participate in. Whether it’s snowshowing, hiking or a bike ride, there’s usually a $15-20 fee. That’s going to keep some people away obviously, but that’s how they’ve choosent to operate their organization. Heh, I guess I’m one of the ones who it keeps away though, because I’ve never made it to an event though I’ve often come close. A free pass to try out 1 event would be a good idea to see how you like it.
FWIW: VO has been charging for their Bikefest rides for a few years. The Mural Ride is not the first.
Remember the first mural ride where it was a dozen of us or so riding around to murals and then ending in the rain? Awesome.
There’s lots of ways to do bike volunteering. BikePgh, Free Ride, W.Pa Wheelman, or you help with alley cats, Flocks, snow shoveling or other non-organization based stuff.
If you’re a bike volunteer? Then you should probably stick with the free volunteer rides.
If you never do any bike volunteering? Maybe the paid VO rides are best for you.
Personally, I don’t feel the need to pay for a bike ride. I don’t begrudge Venture Outdoors for what they do, because they help beautify downtown.
VO is after a different demographic than Bike-Pgh, and for that I don’t begrudge them a cent. To me, it appears VO is after people who are looking for interesting, tried and true approaches to doing stuff on wheels or water or whatever.
My approach to cycling advocacy mirrors my approach to transit advocacy: Whatever needs to get done to break down barriers to its use, I’m all for it, and will put my money, time and effort there. I would much rather bust ice on a frozen bridge sidewalk in February, for zero cost and nary a hope of reimbursement, than drop $20 to have someone show me a cool bike tour on a nice summer’s day.
We enable. VO is looking for participants. As a region, we need both.
I think it would depend on what they offer on the ride. I heard talk of them actually having the artists there at the mural site to talk about the murals and the work that went into them. couple that with the coordination of getting them there and getting the people there at the right times and making and keeping to a schedule, I wouldnt have a problem with them charging for the ride.
I have done tours with tour guides and without. I try to get the guided ones whenever I can. for me it is worth the price to get the additional knowledge as well as (many times) a more behind the scenes view of things.
but that is just my 0.02$
The mural ride doesn’t interest me, but I wouldn’t hesitate to pony up for a ride that does.
I think that VO is important to the biking (and kayaking) community as a whole. Are they for everyone? No. Are they for some? Absolutely yes.
Plus, their store in Ohiopyle has saved my butt a couple of times when I needed an item or two
BTW, some of their history is described in _An Uncommon Passage_. If you like riding the GAP, and haven’t read this, I recommend it highly.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.