All the Bad Stuff on One Page
This is a lovely ride with great scenery, fun people, wonderful volunteers...
But I can guarantee you that 20 people are going to have a terrible time.
You see, we expect about 2,000 cyclists, and on every ride we do there is a consistent one percent of our fellow cyclists that have a really bad time of it.
When things go wrong for one of our fine cyclists we scrape them up off the pavement with a spatula and then we often hear them say, “But no one told me that...”
And so here is -- all the bad stuff on one page. For 99 percent of you this stuff doesn’t matter one bit -- you are going to have a blast. But if you would like to avoid being in that unhappy one percent (or if you just like to read cranky stuff), this is worth taking a look.
You must wear a hard bike helmet at all times on the ride. No helmet/no ride/no exceptions.
Oh yeah, and while we’re being mean, no earphones or cell phones while you’re pedaling either. If you break these rules, we will kick you off the ride and everyone will laugh at you. No refunds.
Whiners will be dealt with in the harshest possible manner.
Our Incredibly Unfair Refund Policy
Once you register, there are no refunds.
Of any kind.
For ANY reason.
You CAN often get a credit that you can use for another ride. Just as soon as you can and let us know you can’t attend the ride.
Your credit will be valid through whatever the last event is that we run in 2022, but after that your credit is GONE and NOTHING can bring it back.
Your credit is not for One Free Ride -- it is for a dollar amount. How much credit will you receive? That has NOTHING to do with the reason WHY you are canceling -- it ONLY depends on WHEN you tell us that you can’t make it:
15 Days or More Notice Before Event Day: 100% credit
10-14 Days Notice: 50% credit
5-9 Days Notice: 25% credit
Less than 5 days notice: No credit
This is still the most generous refund policy of any ride I know of in the NY/NJ/CT area (much to the annoyance of our Evil Marketing Department).
I believe that the refund policy offered by most local rides is:
Obscure Trivia Note
I’ve been putting on swell rides for more than 23 years now -- it’s my full-time job, and I expect to do this for another 200 years. But if my poor little company ever goes broke or I die in a horrible ice-cream-and-pie related accident, all ride credits will have zero value, OK? OK.
A Brief Word About Illness, Accidents, Death, and Cake
We get lots of emails right before the ride: "Even though you have a no-refund policy, I need a refund. I can’t ride because I am sick and I have a note from my doctor to prove it -- would you like a copy of the note?"
No I would not.
We believe you (and your doctor) but it's like this:
Suppose I'm a baker and you order a 10-foot tall cake that states Happy Birthday Melvin on it.
Then something terrible happens. Melvin gets the flu. Melvin falls down a flight of stairs. Melvin gets drunk and cracks a tooth on a coffee table.
We understand why you no longer want the cake.
But when you placed your order, I purchased perishable ingredients. I added extra staff. I bought Cake Insurance (OK... just go along with me here...)
I don't need a note from Melvin's doctor.
I believe you.
Fate has dealt a nice person like you a completely unfair hand for no good reason at all.
But one of us is about to lose the price of the cake, and it's going to be you or me.
And me being the poor and cranky guy I am... it's going to be you. (There must be a MUCH nicer way to say that, but nothing comes to mind just at this moment...)
Now imagine that I have 2,000 people who EACH order a cake that states Happy Birthday Melvin on it and you get the idea.
Thanks for understanding.
Sell or Give Your Ride Registration to Someone Else
All you need to do to transfer your spot in the ride to another person is give your name to the new rider. The new rider MUST stop by one of our check-in desks, or stop by any branch of Bicycle Habitat during normal business hours.
Because if they get smooshed by a truck and they are wearing a numbered wristband that our records show belongs to you, we won’t know the difference (because them smooshed and you smooshed look pretty much the same...) and we will call YOUR family and tell them that YOU are DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! (Try explaining THAT ONE at Thanksgiving dinner!)
When the new rider checks in, they simply say, “I’m riding for Jim Smith, but my name is...” They can pick any distance, no matter what you specified when you signed up. They get whatever extra-goodies you signed up for -- if you bought a Women's Medium racing jersey, they get a Womens Medium (only) racing jersey.
S.A.G. (Bike Rescue) -- What it Can and Can Not Do
This event is a bit different -- so much of the ride takes place near NYC public transit that we do NOT offer S.A.G. (roadside bicycle assistance) there. The ONLY time we offer S.A.G. service is a few areas where you are far, far from public transit. In that case you can call our ride HQ (the phone number will be provided on ride day) and IF you are in one of those spots far from mass transit we can come give you a lift.
Our S.A.G. drivers are wonderful people, but most of them are NOT bike mechanics. (In fact, many are non-cycling friends of people who are doing the ride.) When they pick you up, they will usually not be able to fix your bike. Instead, they will take you to either the next rest stop where you can get additional help, or they will give you a lift to the nearest subway.
S.A.G. is not a taxi service.
S.A.G. can not take you to a movie.
S.A.G. can not take you to Thai food take-out.
S.A.G. can not drop you off at grandma’s house.
Weather & Route Conditions
If it is hot out you may be hot.
If it is cold out you may be cold.
If it is raining you may get wet.
Yeah, this is painfully obvious to 99 percent of you, but we DO get emails...
We work constantly to find the best routes, but if there is a pot-hole or a nasty bit of uneven pavement, it is up to you to work around it. We often get frantic screaming phone calls on ride day at our headquarters: “THERE’S A HUGE POTHOLE AT MILE 23.4!” We understand your concern but there is remarkably little we can do about this on ride day. (Our personal paving machine and steamroller are both still in the shop, waiting for spare parts.)
The only time we cancel the ride is if the weather is so bad that we believe that your life would be in danger out on the route. (Lightning, tsunami...) We do not issue refunds if we have to cancel the ride. (Why? See above under Our Incredibly Unfair Refund Policy).
All of our rest stops have delicious water (along with lots and lots of other goodies). We don’t serve bottled water. Ever. .
The Length of the Ride
The first time I rode a full century (100 miles) I was, of course, exhausted at the end. I was in shock when my odometer hit 100.0, but I wasn’t back at the finish -- there was still another two or three miles to go. I was tempted to just slam on the brakes right there and refuse to go any farther, but...
SO... I know the feeling. I do my best to get the route mileages to come out just exactly perfect (on account of our new name is The Just Exactly Perfect Brothers’ Band...) but it rarely works out that way.
In addition, I got in the middle of a friendly yet heated debate one year over which is more accurate for measuring the route:
A car odometer
Computerized maps such as Google
MY bike odometer
YOUR bike odometer
I promise to do my very best for you, but as our route sheets often state at the bottom, “Mileage figures are highly inaccurate and are for your entertainment purposes only.”
WARNING: Our peanut butter may contain peanuts. (Duh!)
The Route Sheet
On the day of the ride we will give you a great route sheet. We do not release copies of the route sheet in advance, for four reasons:
Not everyone is as honest as you. When we release the route sheet in advance, we get a lot of people who do the ride without paying.
Believe it or not, the route sheet is usually not ready until just a day or two before the ride. Why? Because our excellent route-marking crew heads out right before the ride to check for any last-minute changes. It is VERY common for them to come across a road that we have used for years, only to discover that it is closed for construction (or under water), leading to last-minute detours. When the crew returns from marking the route they are THE final word on where the route goes -- even I don’t know the route until I hear back from them.
If we distribute the route sheet before the ride, we get a LOT of email like this: "I see the route goes down Maple Street. You people are idiots. Everyone knows that Oak Street is much better than Maple Street. I will be riding on Oak Street instead. Will there be a rest stop for me on Oak Street?"
We ALSO get a lot of email like this: "I see from the route sheet that the ride will go right past my house. I will start pedaling from in front of my house, and then do the route in reverse order. Can I get a lift back to my house after the ride?"
Hope you understand! When we’ve released the route sheet in advance bad things happen to us, and we hate when that happens!
Transporting Your Bike
If you request S.A.G. service we will transport your bike in one of our vans or trucks.
We are cyclists with expensive bikes too, and we are gentle with all of the bikes, but even under the best circumstances, bad stuff can happen to you unfairly, so please heed this warning carefully: DURING THIS EVENT YOUR BIKE MAY BE SCRATCHED, DENTED, BROKEN, BENT, OR DESTROYED. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR BIKE -- LARGE OR SMALL -- AND WE DO NOT PAY FOR BIKE DAMAGE.
In other words, if you see one of our staff jumping up and down on your bike we promise to kill them, and we will pay for damage to your bike. But if your bike gets a flat tire, scratched, banged, dented, bent, broken, or destroyed accidentally, we can not be responsible, and we can not reimburse you. This may be the wrong ride to bring your one-of-a-kind, Dura Ace 40th Anniversary Edition, custom-painted-by-Ernesto Colnago-himself-bicycle.
Why the hard line on bike damage?
Years ago I was the tour director of a ride where a cyclist swore that we scratched the paint on the bottom of his bike. (You know -- the bottom -- where you can’t see it...) The solution that he proposed was that we pay to have all of the components removed from his bike, have the bare frame shipped to Italy where it would be hand-painted, then shipped back to the U.S. and reassembled. Estimated price way back then: $3,000. Were we responsible for that scratch in his paint? I don’t think so, but who knows?
So rather than risk bankrupting our little company every time we ride, we just put this mean policy in place instead.
I’m reminded of our high school drug dealer youth-group leader. He was the first person I ever knew who had a custom-built bike. He had a dream that he dropped the bike and scratched it, and he never rode that bike again.
You are on an adult adventure and adult adventures involve risk.