By CHRIS AGEE
Andy Hollinger, a bicycle racing promotor and publisher of Racing Post magazine, spoke to the local Kiwanis Club Tuesday afternoon about October's annual Crazy Kicker bike ride.
Kiwanis is the sponsor of the rally and Hollinger built on his own experiences in the industry to offer ideas to make this year's event even more successful.
He explained many communities in North Texas draw thousands of participants for yearly bike rallies, adding there are two to three events taking place each weekend.
The key to attracting large crowds, he said, lies in offering a clean, secure course, easy registration, and a date that doesn't conflict with other major bicycling events.
"In general people are here for adventure," Hollinger explained, noting the difference between the casual atmosphere of the Crazy Kicker and the professional riders involved in races such as last week's Iris Stagner Memorial Stage Race.
He said the rally's various lengths, ranging from 22 to 100 miles, draws riders of different skill levels and noted one specific feature many participants look forward to tackling. He said Cherry Pie Hill is a landmark among bicyclists statewide.
Hollinger said rally coordinators should play to the competitive nature of participants, even though the Crazy Kicker is not technically a race.
"Put a race-like incentive on the front end," he said, encouraging the Kiwanis Club to offer cash prizes to first-place winners on different courses.
"It brings people who have that competitive edge," he noted, "so it's not just another rally."
He also offered discounted advertising in his magazine as well as a reduced rate to mail fliers to bike shops across the state. Hollinger also said he would publish an article informing readers about the event.
Another idea, he said, involves using the success of other rallies to increase the Crazy Kicker's exposure. Hollinger encouraged contacting the popular Hotter'N Hell Hundred Endurance Ride in Wichita Falls in an effort to spread the word about the local ride.
"To be under their good graces ... it's worth it," he said.
Since many riders travel from other areas of the state, Hollinger suggested a later start time to allow participants from the Metroplex to arrive the day of the rally rather than necessitating a hotel room rental which increases the cost of attending.
"My suggestion is the 10 [a.m.] start, if you want to maximize your riders," he said.
Hollinger also noted the importance of publicizing other area attractions for accompanying family members not participating in the rally. In the spirit of including everyone, he also suggested implementing a 10-mile ride touted as a family event.
Finally, he noted unique giveaways bearing the Crazy Kicker logo and next year's event date will serve as a reminder of the rally. He suggested coffee cups, magnets and other items not offered at many similar rides.
Ride director Lyn Butcher noted the last Crazy Kicker event drew about 400 participants.