Frequently Asked Questions
We are going to put all of our good questions/answers on this page in the hopes that you find your answers here. If you don't find the answer here, on the links page, or on the training calendar, email your team captain. If they don't know the answer, ask Steve...
What is the purpose of Ready2Roll Cycling?
The purpose of the training series is to help riders in their preparation for the annual Bike MS events as well as other cycling events. Participants in the series will have fun while learning safe riding techniques, etiquette, riding in groups, basic bicycle maintenance and tips on fundraising for Bike MS events.
Why the training series name “Ready2Roll Cycling?”
The training series name sends a message that riders participating in the training rides will be ready to roll and well prepared for a safe, fun annual Bike MS events as well as other riding events.
Who will lead Ready2Roll Cycling?
Individuals participating in Ready2Roll Cycling will be very familiar with the leadership as veteran ConocoPhillips team captain Steve Moskowitz (the “Ask Steve”) and co-captain Marshall Cohen (team Phillips 66) will provide essential guidance. Together, these two individuals have more than 50 combined years of MS 150 completions and have helped prepare thousands in their efforts to safely complete the annual event as well as other cycling events. They have a wealth of experience in event management and leadership while never losing sight of the friendship and joys of cycling. Look for Robbie Moskowitz and Jan Cohen (spouses) assisting in vital volunteer roles. Equally important will be the critical role team volunteers and ride marshal’s play in ensuring a great experience for participants.
Is Ready2Roll Cycling open to the general public to join?
Ready2Roll Cycling is primarily established for members of the listed core teams. These teams are essential by not only riding in the comprehensive training series, but also participate in the volunteer support of the series. It is imperative that participants “give back” and help in the success of the series by volunteering. This is not a series for riders wanting to only ride and never volunteer as that is not the foundation for Ready2Roll Cycling. Volunteer tasks are simple and quite often can be coupled with riding. Due to the strong emphasis on safety, Ready2Roll Cycling will limit the number of registrants.
Keep in mind, for individuals wanting to participate in the training series but do not have an affiliation with a core team, we have a way to accommodate you. When you enroll, you will select the “Not on a core team” status in the first enrollment question. After entering your personal/contact information, you will be able to select the ride date and duty for which you will volunteer. By the way, you can have a spouse, family member, etc. volunteer on your identified day.
I noticed there is a fee to participate in Ready2Roll Cycling. Why?
The extensive training program is quite expensive to manage and is only funded by the participant fees. All participants are required to pay the established fee. The participant fee is essential to defray such costs as rest stop food/water, police, equipment, community support, signage, porta-lets, and lots more. Without the participant fees, the training program would not exist. Note that riders who are registered with the BP MS-150 as Ride Marshals, Bike Medics or are law enforcement employees (police, FBI, etc.) are welcome to participate at no cost. They still must enroll but there is no fee for these riders.
Ready2Roll Cycling Training Series is only open to registered participants. Insurance limitations do not allow non-paid (guests) or drop-in riders. No exceptions!
Can I bring someone (friend) not enrolled in the training series to one of the rides and this person would pay for the training day?
The short answer to this question is "No" but let us explain... Our rides are only open to riders who have enrolled and paid for the entire series. We looked at this when we developed Ready2Roll Cycling and while it could be possible to pay ride-by-ride, it is far more complicated to keep track of who has paid for each ride. This would generate a significant amount of work at every ride. It would be quite challenging to anticipate additional food, drinks, and other resources to accommodate "drop-in" riders.
The bigger reason is we have also learned that by limiting the series to riders who register and participate in many of our rides and, hopefully, read the safety and etiquette tips in the emails, we develop a group of riders who are much safer and far more courteous that the average rider. Participants in our training series really appreciate the way we "raise the bar" at our rides. Riders in Ready2Roll Cycling prefer to be with like-minded riders who are committed to ensuring an overall great experience, each and every week.
And finally, we have insurance requirements we must abide by and they do not allow for riders to "drop in" and pay as-you-go. As a result, we request that Ready2Roll Cycling riders absolutely DO NOT bring guests to the rides. Failure to follow this policy could lead to being removed from the series.
Now keep in mind, on certain established "partner rides" whereby we join an existing charitable, organized ride, you are welcome to invite your guest(s) to the ride and pay the events registration fee. These rides are open to the public so anyone can come along, register for the ride, pay the organizers and join in the ride. We usually have 1-2 partner rides each season (and we pay the fee for our enrolled riders).
How do I find out about the weekly training rides?
Each week on about Wednesday, Steve Moskowitz (“Ask Steve”) will issue a communication highlighting the upcoming weekend training ride detailing location, start time, parking tips, as well as other important information such as carpooling, safety tips, parking advice, directions and more. Also included in the communication will be information pertinent to other charity rides and events. Participants should read the entire note and NEVER forward the weekly communication to non-paid riders.
These notes are only directed to Ready2Roll Cycling riders.
You can also get basic information about our rides on the Training Calendar.
Do I need to RSVP for the Rides?
The first item of note is that you DO NOT need to RSVP for the ride. You do need to arrive at least 45 minutes to an hour early in order to get ready to ride and to allow for signing in, rest room, etc.
Each week, you will notice a sign-in list at the information table. All enrolled riders are listed in alphabetical order. The list is separated into 4-8 smaller lists so no one has a long line to sign in. You simply initial in on the “Started” column next to your name before you ride. When you are finished, you come back and initial in on the “Finished” column so we know you are finished. This system helps us know the number of riders as well as the numbers of riders that may remain out on the road near the end of the ride. It is imperative every rider sign in as well as sign out. If you forget to sign out when finished with your ride and depart home, don’t be surprised or startled if you get a phone call from Steve at your house at 3:00 a.m. Yes, 3:00 a.m. While we realize that you might not be home at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, we are pretty confident that you will be home at 3:00 a.m. and we just want to confirm you are ok and still not out on the road. Please, sign out when you are completed with your ride!
Where are the rides?
This is a common question. The rides will be on paved roads that are typically frequented by cyclists. We try to keep the travel time from everyone’s home in mind when we select locations but also must carefully manage the balance of safety, traffic, parking access, TxDOT approval, rest stops and beautiful routes. We will always offer a short and a long route, thereby giving experienced riders a longer and more challenging option. Keep in mind that Ready2Roll Cycling will continue to increase mileage from the first training ride to the last and therefore, everyone increases their distance each week. As the series continues, we do introduce the challenge of hills to help prepare our riders for the BP MS150. The exact ride routes will be communicated and posted on the weekly calendar. Please pay careful attention to the weekly notes as on occasion, locations for rides may change.
I have never tried anything like riding a bicycle such a long distance…
will I really make it?
Riding a bicycle from Houston to Austin is no easy task, even for the experienced. It takes preparation, training and of course a bicycle (with gears!). The Ready2Roll Cycling training rides are intended to help you adequately prepare so that you not only will make it to the finish but will have a wonderful experience and likely want to do it again. Sounds crazy, right?
OK, so no need to get all worried. We suggest the following to help you get underway:
Get a bicycle, have it checked out with the bike shop ensuring it fits you well and mechanically is in good condition. You certainly don’t need to experience bike problems or pain in your body on your rides.
Get checked out with your family doctor so they understand what you are going to do and know you are in sound condition.
Begin or proceed with an exercise program so that you are working out aerobically at least a few days a week. This could be biking, spin classes, running, swimming, stair climber, etc. This exercise will help with your conditioning for the weekend rides.
Attend the scheduled weekend Ready2Roll Cycling training rides and listen to the starting announcements. You will be asked to ride your bike with others that ride about the same pace (Miles Per Hour). This is VERY important. Riding with people faster or slower is challenging and quite often, doesn’t result in a very good experience. Also, from a safety standpoint, riding with the “wrong” group does cause people to either pass you, or you to pass them. It is best to ride with people that ride about the same pace as you.
Many tips will be shared on the training rides from safety, etiquette, bike maintenance, fundraising for MS and more.
Each week the training rides will gradually increase the short and long distance mileage as well as include hills, therefore building your fitness and endurance. By the final week of training series, if you did your homework during the weeks prior, you will be confident and well prepared for an excellent Bike MS ride.
Are there restrooms on the training rides?
Yes. A portion of your enrolment fee covers the cost of port-a-let restrooms on the training rides. Please understand that these aren’t anything fancy but when you are in small towns and need to take a rest stop, you will be fine. We will have port-a-lets at the start of our rides and we ask riders to be courteous and line up awaiting their turn. With hundreds of riders at the training rides, riders are encouraged to show up early to the rides and make their rest stop immediate to avoid the long last-minute lines. Also, at various rest stops along the rides we will strategically place portable port-a-lets. Please, men and women…only use the dedicated port-a-cans and NOT behind buildings, in the woods, etc. We must be good ambassadors, practice good etiquette on our rides and request all riders to please concur. By the way, our port-a-can ratio to riders is exceptional and higher than any training ride or the Bike MS event. The waiting time therefore is greatly reduced!
We will ride in the winter. Won’t it be cold? What should I wear?
Yes, January through April in Texas can get cold...and windy. Remember, you will be riding your bikes into the wind and that, coupled with the cold weather, can cause you to be colder than the actual outside temperatures. Participants are strongly encouraged to layer their clothes. Having multiple levels allows you to shed layers as you warm up. Consider purchasing a good outer shell jacket like a windbreaker so you can stay protected from the cold wind. Purchase some cycling gloves that can withstand wind as riding in cold temperatures with good gloves can help protect your hands. Many riders buy tights (spandex) that they wear over the bike shorts to protect their lower extremities. Even shoe covers or “booties” are excellent to keep your feet warm and should be considered. For the head and ears, a lightweight head cover that extends over the ears is helpful or for the days it isn’t quite that cold, just an ear band to cover your ears will be sufficient.
One secret tip that we will quietly share is consider hand and feet warmers and place them in your gloves and shoes, respectively. Make sure you have full functionality when using them but they have been known to help some of the more experienced riders.
Just one more comment about riding in the challenging Texas winter months. If the organizers believe that the weather conditions are unsafe or might change and be unsafe, the ride might be cancelled, distance shortened or altered. As a participant, you are required to listen and follow the instructions from the organizers. If the ride is cancelled, do not attempt to complete the route as support will not be provided (police, SAG, rest stops, etc.) and conditions can be unsafe. Ready2Roll Cycling does issue communications during the week prior to the ride as well as post last-minute ride status updates on the Hotline at (281) 907-9007.
So what happens if I am on the ride and it begins to rain? How do I ride in the rain?
Riding in the rain is never fun and can be treacherous. If it is raining at the start time of the training ride, the organizers will delay the start until safer conditions prevail or even cancel the ride. On rare occasions, weather being unpredictable as it is, rain might suddenly begin to occur. The main thing to remember about riding in the rain is to slow down and pay attention to what's going on around you. Your brakes won't work as well, and you need to keep an eye out for people being less careful than you. Remember your visibility will be reduced. Drivers may not be identify you until they are much closer than normal. Also, the road always become extremely slick and the contact surface of your thin bike tires on the road can make turning and steering your bike like riding on ice. Key tip is slow down, allow ample distance around you, do not make any sudden movements or stops and be very careful turning. Also, keep your weight centered over the frame of the bike and don’t make any sharp turns. Avoid the painted lines in the road as once they become wet, they become very slippery and can cause your wheels to slide out from under you without warning. Finally, after the ride ends, be sure to clean your bike well as water and road grit can cause havoc on the future operations of your bike. More on bike maintenance later.
What time are the training rides over?
Good question. The time for each person to complete the ride varies, depending upon on how far you ride and your pace. In the early weeks, the training ride distances are shorter and almost all riders are through by 11:30 a.m. (add 20-40 minutes to travel back home). In the later weeks when the rides are longer and most riders want to get extra miles to build up their endurance, some riders may finish as late as 3:00-3:30 p.m. (plus 30 minutes to an hour for the drive home). Of course these times are general times as start time, pace and distance play a key role as to when you are done. We highly recommend that riders not spend a lot of time on long breaks at the rest stops as not only will this delay your eventual finish, but more importantly, it will make it more difficult getting back on the bike following the long rest.
Does Ready2Roll Cycling recommend any certain bike shops?
We must put a big "plug" in for Sun & Ski Sports http://www.sunandski.com in Houston as they are our Tech Support Sponsor for our 2017 Training Series. You will be familiar with them as they are graciously at the Training Series available to help you with minor bike adjustments and repairs.
We can't stress it enough that having a relationship with a local bike shop is very important. If you don’t have a Sun & Ski nearby, we suggest locating a bike shop near your home or work and become familiar with the staff. They can advise, guide and assist you as needed. And a good tip to keep in mind - stop by and bring them some freshly baked cookies...they will always remember you and drop everything to help you!
If you are new, please feel free to ask your fellow riders for the names of their key contacts at their favorite bike shop.
I heard that training rides could have as many as 1,000 people attend. How can all those people ride at the same time?
You think 1,000 people riding is a lot…just imagine the parking issue! While we’re on parking, let us mention, we emphasize carpooling as space in these small towns where we ride is extremely limited. Now back to riding…the ride start and routes are very organized. Ready2Roll Cycling riders are requested to show up early, get their bikes ready and line up at the starting line in accordance with the pace they expect to ride. The groups are started in waves, with the fastest riders going first. Each wave is announced to begin following the faster wave in front of them. Once one wave has sufficiently departed and a large enough gap exists, the next fastest wave will be released to begin riding.
So why the waves? Starting in waves with the faster riders first, followed by the second faster group, etc. reduces the need for quicker riders passing slower riders, therefore, improving the safety for all riders. We strongly stress that you start in the wave pace that is closest to the pace you ride. By the way, the wave paces are identified in miles per hour. Now that you understand the wave start, no reason to stress that maybe 1,000 fellow riders might show up to ride on Saturday!
How do I use the classifieds/carpool listing?
Here's a few quick how-to pointers for our Classified ads: If you want to post a bike or equipment for sale/trade, looking for a bike or equipment, have an available spot in your carpool, or looking for a carpool to ride with, you need to register for the Ready2Roll Cycling Classified account. Register by clicking the “Create an account” link located on the left side of the classified page at the bottom of the User Login form. We highly suggest using the same email you used to register for the training series, because this forum will be monitored and suspicious postings will be removed. It will also serve as your login information in the future when we add further functionality to our website. You do not have to create an account to look at or reply to classified postings.
Putting up a new listing is pretty simple. You will need to go back and make changes (price, carpool meet time, etc.) as needed. For example, if you have a bike for sale, bookmark the training series website so that you can easily get back to the home page and click the Classifieds link on the top navigation bar. Once you have registered to create an account, then login. Click on “New Ad” located in the sub navigation on the top of the Classified Ads page under the title. Choose a Category to post the ad and fill out the remainder of the form. Enter your Name and Email address. Enter an Ad Title: “Great beginner bike”, etc. Attach a picture or two (picture can't be too big – approx.. 200k or low-quality cell phone pic). If you can't figure out how to shrink a bigger picture, contact a friend (or your third grader). Pick the size - some brands go by small/medium/large, some use centimeters. Make/Model or Brand/Style, description, and price need to be entered too. We don't suggest including phone numbers or home addresses here because this is the Internet. If someone is interested in carpooling or buying a bike, they will click to reply to your posting, which will allow them to forward their name, email, and a comment. If someone replies to your posting, you will receive an email such as this:
from: Enquirer’s Name (Enquirer’s name)
to: Your Email Address
subject: Ad Enquiry: Title of your ad
The content of the enquiry will be in the body of the email. To reply to this message, just click on the 'Reply' button in your email client.
Ready2Roll Cycling is a fully-supported training series from January through April. Will the organizers ever consider a Fall cycling series?
This is a good question. The organizers of Ready2Roll Cycling have their “hands full” from January through April and need a rest to recover immediately following the BP MS 150. However, we have in fact considered a Fall series or at least a few Fall rides presented by Ready2Roll Cycling, but are challenged with securing sufficient volunteers to help us deliver the same level of quality as provided during the 14-week series. We continue to explore this idea. Please let us know if you would have an interest in riding in the Fall or were willing to volunteer to support a ride.