A "Come and Try It" Event is a means of enabling newcomers to try time trials without some of the usual restrictions that apply e.g. newcomers do not have to be members of an affiliated club, they can ride in any type of clothing etc. Many clubs make any of their events ‘Come and try it’ but your club may wish to designate an event as a special one for newcomers.
Any club time trial could be suitable, but bearing in mind that you want to attract new members and keep them, you could stage a short distance event of say 5 miles, but certainly no more than 10 miles. The ideal course would on quieter roads on either a circuit type course or the more conventional home and back course, but with a well marshalled roundabout turn.
If you’re using a standard course which has been measured and risk assessed, then you run the event in the same way as usual club events. You don’t need an event headquarters or special facilities but remember if you’re using the event to attract new members; it might be good to go above and beyond what you might have for a standard club event, so you might consider an event headquarters and refreshments.
The key to a successful event is pre-event publicity to get riders to come along. Of course put the details of the event on your club’s website and Facebook pages if you have one. But sending a press release to local press and radio announcing the event would be a good idea. Contacting local triathlon clubs could be a good way of enticing riders as could leafleting riders at a sportive if you have a local event around the time of your own event. CTT has produced a special introductory video which can be found on You Tube and Vimeo and it’s a good idea to point potential riders to this so they will know what to expect when they turn up at an event:
A leaflet/and or posters are also good basic tools for publicity for local schools, youth clubs, bike/sports shops, leisure centres, public libraries and community centres to display your posters are all good places to ask to get your material distributed. Remember though you will need to make it clear that they must be at least 12 years old to ride and any under 18’s will need parental consent forms. You can encourage parents to come along too and if they get really interested they may agree to help at future events or even ride themselves.
On the day of the event encourage club members to welcome any newcomers and ready to give them helpful and friendly advice and encouragement. It’s a good idea to have light refreshments available for both competitors and anyone with them if practical. A club official needs to explain what a time trial is and the need for parental consent and signing-on sheets.
The course route should be clearly explained (copies of a simple map are very useful). Point out the important safety points and if parents or friends wish to go around the course they should be allowed to do so, but make it clear that this is not allowed in other events.
After the event it’s a good idea literature about the club and other a list of other club events they might want to ride.
Come and try it events are easy to organise if they are incorporated into one of the club’s existing club events, and some pre-event publicity and a welcoming approach to the newcomers on the day should ensure a success if the weather is kind!
Good luck with you events and if you need any help or advice don’t hesitate to contact one of the National Secretaries.