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 the Training Series?
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 proper riding techniques, safety etiquette, riding in groups, basic bicycle maintenance and tips on fundraising for Bike MS events.
Why the training series name “Ready2Roll Cycling”?
The new name sends a message that riders participating in the training rides can be ready to roll and well prepared for the annual Bike MS events as well as other riding events. With the recently announced separation of ConocoPhillips into two publically traded separate companies, the timing was perfect to launch the stand-alone program, thereby ensuring continuity of the highly regarded program. Ready2Roll Cycling will continue under the same leadership and will graciously align with key teams and their respective exceptional volunteer base.
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 will provide essential guidance. Together, these two individuals have more than 40 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 good 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 participating in the coordination and support of the series, volunteers, and other identified individuals. Due to the strong emphasis on safety, Ready2Roll Cycling will limit the number of registrants.
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. Only identified groups such as EMS, police, fire fighters and ride marshal’s are exempt (see Steve if you believe you should be exempt). The participant fee is essential to defray such costs as rest stop food, water, police, equipment, community support, signage, tents, and lots more. Without the participant fees, the training program would not exist.
Ready2Roll Cycling Training Series is only open to registered participants. Insurance limitations do not allow non-paid (guests) or drop-in riders.
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 me 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 is 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 for volunteers at every ride. It would be quite challenging to anticipate additional food, drinks, and other resources to accommodate "drop-in" riders.
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.
And finally and maybe most important, 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 not bring guests to the rides.
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.
How do I find out about the weekly training rides?
Each week on about Wednesday, Steve Moskowitz (“Ask Steve”) will issue a communications highlighting the upcoming weekend training ride as well as other important tips such as car pooling, safety tips, parking advice, directions and more. Also included in the communication will be information pertinent to other charity rides and events. Participants should NOT forward the weekly communication to non-paid 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:
Each week, there will be a sign-in list at the ride. All riders who are paid up are listed in alphabetical and the list is broken up into 4-8 smaller lists so no one has a long line to sign in. You initial in on the Started column next to your name before you ride. When you are finished, you come back and initial the Finished column so we know you are finished. If you have not paid yet, you will be on the unpaid list which is a separate line (again, we want to keep the lines short). You must be paid before you can 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 improves their distance each week. The exact ride routes will be communicated and posted on the weekly calendar.
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 or San Antonio to the River and back 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 training ride 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 pass them when they could’ve been avoided.
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, 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 fee will cover 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 a ears, a lightweight head cover that extends over the ears is helpful or for the days it isn’t quite that cold, just a ear band to cover your ears. Finally, one learning that we will quietly share here 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.
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 cancel the ride. On rare occasions, weather being unpredictable as it is can change and rain suddenly begins 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. 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. 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 varies based 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 because they have built up their endurance, some riders may finish as late as 2:30-3:00 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.
Does Ready2Roll Cycling recommend any certain bike shops?
We must put a big "plug" in for Sun & Ski Sports http://www.sunandski.com as they are our Tech Support Sponsor for our 2012 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. Now let's not forget other important bike shops that help Ready2Roll Cycling riders throughout the season. In Houston they are: Bike Barn - http://bikebarn.com , Planetary Cycles - http://planetarycycles.com , and Northwest Cycles - http://northwestcyclery.com. As we are new to San Antonio, we welcome the excellent bike shops in the Alamo City and look forward to adding them to our site.
We can't stress it enough that having a relationship with a local bike shop is very important. 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!
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 I am on parking, let me mention, we emphasize carpooling as space in the Texas 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 ride. The groups are started in waves, with the fast riders going first. Each wave is announced to begin after the previous faster wave has sufficiently departed. 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. So don’t 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, if you are looking for a bike or equipment, if you have an available spot in your carpool, or if you are looking for a carpool to ride with, you need to register. Register by clicking the “Create an account” link located on the left side of the Classifieds page at the bottom of the User Login form. I 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, and you can go back and make changes if you need to change the price, carpool meet time, etc. 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, and 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 in and fill out the rest 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 Aaron (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. I 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 like 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.