A Great Event Has The Right Vibe

In my last post, I concluded that in order for Storming of Thunder Ridge to grow into a larger cycling event that attracts new and repeat riders each year, it needs to strive for greatness, not perfection.

But what makes a cycling event great?

Some would say the course. Or rest stops. Or SAG support.

Those are good answers. But I think it’s more subjective. It’s the vibe of the event. Either it has a good feeling or not.

What’s great to one rider may not be great to another

I recently rode in event that’s given me a lot to think about.

It was a chipped (timed) ride on a criterium course (closed route with multiple laps). While it was billed as a ride and not a race, many of us (hint, hint) approached it as a race.

Worked for me. I won a gold medal. But what about the casual rider?

What sort of vibe was it to have a bunch of geeked up cyclists buzzing by and screaming, “On your left!” and “Hold your line!”?

And would those casual riders consider registering again next year?

A fine line

Most event organizers recognize that cyclists of varying abilities will register.

The real challenge is creating an atmosphere that engages and stimulates each type of rider.

When we started working on Storming of Thunder Ridge, we knew that we wanted to attract both casual cyclists and enthusiasts.

We created buyer personas to understand how to reach these cyclists and convince them to  participate.

For the most part, I believe we were successful based upon our feedback and survey results.

What we don’t want to do is alienate either the casual and enthusiast tribe because both are vital to the growth of the event.

That’ll be a focus – among other things – for next year’s event.

Not just cycling

Clearly, having a good vibe is a vital ingredient for other events. A corporate kickoff meeting. An industry conference. A cocktail party.

The best ones find a way to make all participants feel welcome while catering to special interests.

How ’bout you?

Have you been to events – sporting or professional – that have a good vibe? Or that cater to one group and alienate another? Tell me about it.

Thanks for reading!


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