Bike Out Hunger invites you to join their rides for 2013 in Athens (Nov 2, 2013) and Mansfield (Nov 9, 2013).
We were lucky enough to be granted an interview with Rand Jenkins of Out Hunger to ask some questions about the event.
Why join Bike Out Hunger?
Two main reasons:
1) Great group ride
2) Great impact feeding hungry kids in your neighborhood
How long has the event been around?
The first Bike Out Hunger ride was in April 2010 and was a 6-day event. We had 75 participants throughout the week and raised tens of thousands of dollars for ending hunger in Texas. We’ve been adding to and improving every aspect since then. We’ve added travelling massage therapists, single day events and various attractions/highlights throughout the ride from serving breakfast to those in need, being recognized from the Capitol steps in Austin to meeting up with Lance Armstrong.
What was the motivation behind starting the tour and who benefits from it?
I was out riding one day (and as always thinking about things) and was thinking about all the charity events I’ve participated from golf to basketball to silent auctions and dinners. The natural thought progression was to marry two passions of mine – cycling and ending hunger. From that ride, Bike Out Hunger was born and a few short months and a lot of quick planning later, we had our inaugural ride.
The beneficiaries of the Bike Out Hunger rides are always those in need of food. The exact way they are helped can vary per event. The types of programs that receive funding from Bike Out Hunger ranges from weekend food backpacks for children on free lunches at school, summer feeding programs (when school is out, school lunches aren’t available), food pantries, food banks and organizations effectively working toward ending the cycle of hunger.
How have they been able to utilize the funds in the past?
The funds distributed from Bike Out Hunger rides have and continue to directly feed hungry children and families. A single, one-day ride can provide a weekend backpack full of food for 500 children to have meals at home over the weekend for a month. Based on the funds raised and given to food banks / feeding programs, over 150,000 meals have been provided for those in need.
Beyond the direction funds, Bike Out Hunger raises awareness of the hunger needs around us. A common outcome of these events is participants beginning to volunteer their time with and giving money to local feeding ministries that also offer other services to help break the cycle of hunger like computer training, job training and even proper financial budgeting.
Can we get a TCX or GPX file included for download? Over 63% of folks say they are more up to attend a ride for which they have information about the routes for their on-bike devices.
Our routes have GPX files and Google Map files for importing into Garmin, iPhone or other similar devices. The links are inserted on each ride’s event page on www.bikeouthunger.org
Do you have a map of the start facility showing registration point, parking, all toilets, water/snacks, start line?
We do not have maps that show these, however, they are marked and extremely easy to see and find. If the need for these maps arises, we will certainly provide them.
Logistically, can you give us an idea how many volunteers, finances, and planning it takes to put on this event?
For the single-day events, it takes about 8 volunteers and pending on sponsors providing food and rest stop items, usually costs about $2,000. Some of the items are variable costs pending on the number of riders like t-shirts, amount of food, etc. while some are fixed like promotions, permits, police/city requirements.
For the 6-day rides, the volunteer number is around 15 and the costs, including jerseys, hotels, meals, travel, motor coach, jerseys and SAG are around $20,000 – $25,000.
What was the most rewarding experience throughout the years hosting this event?
Riding in to Priddy, Texas’ only school. Here’s the story:
Sometimes I ride for the love of the sport. But sometimes I ride for the love God has given us for other people. Today, it was the latter.
As I woke this morning from woefully too little sleep, I thought about driving a SAG wagon to give my body a break. But I remembered the route. Today we were going through Priddy. Perhaps that doesn’t sound very interesting to you. But it is the single best event I’ve been part of while riding a bike.
Priddy is a small town of around 250 people set in the plateau hills of the northern edge of central Texas. A town most Texans and fewer non-Texans have ever heard of and would probably misspell.
Our final stretch point of today was at the Priddy School, K-12, where there is an amazing superintendant, principal, teaching staff and student body. As we riders pulled into the parking lot, all 107 students in the school system jumped and cheered our arrival with clapping, yelling and waving hand-made signs. The signs, some of them made by an individual student and some were family projects, had drawings of bikes, cows, horses, train tracks and their families. One thing each sign did was thank us for riding to end hunger and each one thanked us in a different and personal way. Some read “Thank you,” to ” Good Job” to “You are awesome” to “You are fun to watch” to “You Rock” – which is my personal favorite.
As the K – 3rd graders began to warm up to our presence, they all wanted to pick up the bikes, stand on the pedals, know how far we’ve ridden, if we use sunscreen and if our legs hurt. As the older students embraced the spirit of the event, they too entered conversations about their sports (they have a phenomenal cross country team) and their lives. One student in particular, a junior, had attended Super Summer. We stayed at this stretch point about an hour. A typical stretch point is under 10 minutes.
After about 15 minutes of asking questions and comparing bikes, one 2nd grade student began walking around with her sign and a crayon. She was asking us to sign the poster she made for us. That started a trend. Pretty soon, there were groups of children around each rider who was holding a crayon and signing his or her name to the posters. Other elementary kids gave their sign to a rider, Don Vanderslice, to keep him encouraged.
Many of these signs were created by children who are far too familiar with hunger. Of the 107 students in Priddy ISD, 62 are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. That’s 60%. Unknown to these children, they were thanking us for raising awareness and money for feeding them.
62, not the miles ridden, the miles per hour or feet of climbing, but the number of food-insecure children who greeted us, thanked us and blessed us today, is the only number that matters to me.
It is not only pretty, but beautiful.
What is the average number of participants per year? How many riders do you assist during the average race?
Bike Out Hunger rides continue to increase in popularity and number of attendees, despite the busy calendar of cycling events. We have around 750-1,000 cyclists through the year. Not only is the number of participants increasing but so are the number of events so this number is growing at an incredible rate.
What was the most unforgettable experience or worst accident you had in this event?(prefer the rewarding/unforgettable experience ;o))
My most unforgettable experience, aside from the time in Priddy (see story above) was coming into San Antonio on the last day of the first year’s ride. All the work, all the volunteer time, the money spent and the more money raised for ending hunger all hit me as I turned and rode into the ending finish line. It was a mixture of relief, excitement and joy over what all can be done when people come together for a common goal.
Our worst accident was when two cyclists bumped wheels and they both went down. The result was a total of about 4 square inches of road rash. Both finished the day and the week’s ride. Oh, and there was a time that a bee got stuck in one of the rider’s helmet. Yes, we’ve been fortunate.
What can folks do to support you and your mission?
There are so many things that we sit there and think to ourselves, “Someone should do something about that.” Don’t let hungry children be one of them. Let’s end sedentary agitation and work together to actively end hunger.
1. Come ride with us
2. Contact me about starting a ride where you are
3. Volunteer where you are
4. Give to Out Hunger
5. Give to a local feeding ministry that you are certain is doing good work
What is your role in this race and to the success of it?
My role is to come up with ideas and hold on as they come to fruition.
For most of the rides, I find a location or respond to a request for a location to have an event and then work with the local cyclists and shops to find a good route. Then, work with both again to get sponsors and to promote the event through a variety of means, including posting the events and routes on our website as well as others that list upcoming rides. I also research local food ministries and help decide which one(s) will be the recipient of the funds raised. I usually help with volunteers and getting all of the necessary forms and permissions to hold an event. Sometimes I’ve even been known to grill while the ride is going on. I wear a lot of hats.
The pace at which Bike Out Hunger is growing is far beyond my expectations and is requiring the hand-off of some of these responsibilities.
Do you ride and if yes, what kind of bicycle do you ride and what is your favorite route in your area? Which are your top 3 favorite MUST DO rides in Texas (besides your own)?
Yes, I’m an avid cyclist. I recently purchased a Wilier Cento1 SL and absolutely love it. Traded in my Trek Madone (really good bike too) for this one so I’m kinda spoiled.
I’m a hill climber. My favorite routes around where I live, Mansfield, TX, is going to and through Cedar Hill’s “Texas hills.” It involves several repeats of Texas Plume, Mountain Creek and “The Wall.” In a recent ride, I came across a new route that ranks pretty high and goes through the rolling hills of southeastern Tarrant County on farm roads.
Top three Texas rides (besides Bike Out Hunger)
1. HHH – well, you knew that’d be there. It’s a cool experience to ride with that many people. And as a bonus, your friends who don’t ride think you’re an idiot for doing it.
2. Tour de Pepper – good route and I had a good finish there before
3. I’m going to cheat a little and list Shiner GASP. It’s cheating because I haven’t actually ridden it yet due to calendaring, but really, really want to.
If you had to come up with a David Letterman style top 10 about the race, what would it read like?
10. There’s not a winner, but someone does finish first.
9. If you finish first, you get the first massage.
8. Unlimited Cliff bars.
7. 450 miles of “shut up legs”
6. Feel like a pro with full SAG.
5. Realize you’re not a pro.
4. Eat as many calories as you can and still lose weight.
3. Show off those stellar cyclist calves.
2. No, really, it’s cool to shave your legs more frequently than your face.
1. Hey, I kept a child from being hungry today.
Additional stuff you would like the folks to know about this year’s ride?
~ Dates: May 5-10 (meet midday in Dallas to ride the motor coach or in Bandera on Sunday evening May 4 and ride ends mid-day on May 10…the motor coach will go back to Dallas then)
~ Overall route plan: Bandera to Wichita Falls (or from nice, rolling hills to flat brown land…not being mean, I do like WF)
~ Cost: $50 per day of riding
~ Fully supported which means SAG, snacks, stretch points, breakfasts, suppers (we’ll treat you well and feed you well)
~ We stay in a hotel each night (so no camping unless you really want to) and typically our sponsors pick up those costs
~ Three riding groups to accommodate all riding abilities (from 10 mph to 20+ mph averages)
~ Bike Out Hunger jerseys – they are awesome and you’ll want one and you’ll be the envy of your friends (…which we aren’t supposed to envy others so you actually have two reasons to say you are better than they are…which then causes you to feel prideful which has issues too. Well, whatever, just join us and get the jersey and feel good about it.)
Thanks Rand for this great interview and we hope to catch everyone at their rides!
Click here to view the event details of the Bike Out Hunger – Athens
Click here to view the event details of the Bike Out Hunger – Mansfield