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Loaner bikes at the track. Pros/Cons?
Tifo
post Apr 18 2007, 06:27 AM
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I've talked to two people on here about their experiences with having loaner bikes at the track for newbies to use for their first race(s), but am curious to see if anyone else could share their experience with this.

Has this worked? Has it helped increase participation, even a little bit? What headaches have occurred?

The cons I can see, off the top of my head, are:
storage
liability
maintanence
theft

Any input is appreciated, thanks!
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BMXInsight.com
post Apr 18 2007, 07:05 AM
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I think it does help because when my little bro started we didnt want to buy him a good bike to start out with so he used the loaner bike at the track to show us that he really did want to race.

Our local track leaves there bikes in a shed that is locked. The bikes arent really maintained a lot but there good to ride on the track if your a newbie.
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Guest_Bags1_*
post Apr 18 2007, 07:10 AM
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If you go this route, be prepared that these bikes will not stay in great shape. They tend to get abused, which is fine. We have 5 loaner bikes at our track and they get used quite a bit, particularly when a kid host a birthday party at the track. It also serves that straggler that just happens upon your track by strange luck and the suspense is killing him to get on the track. You let him take a loaner for a spin, and they get hooked.
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Tifo
post Apr 18 2007, 07:15 AM
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Good input so far, thanks for the quick responses. I have the ability to do a small fleet of 8-10 loaner bikes that are around the $300 retail price point (but would cost me much less than that if not free). I figure they would get banged up and look pretty crappy from storage and use. I'm just hoping the results would outweigh the headaches, if you know what I mean. Unfortunately they are all going to be one size, 20" bikes with about a 20.5" top tube.
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Stromania
post Apr 18 2007, 07:33 AM
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It sounds like you have a good deal going. With bicycles in general, the more you spend the better they hold up. We had about 6 Free Agent Eluders that had 3 pc cranks, etc and they lasted well over a year. (Would have lasted longer, if someone didn't forget to lock up at night). They did get used a lot considering that our track is opened 6 days a week and there is on average 3 birthday parties a week.
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Tifo
post Apr 18 2007, 07:50 AM
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Both of you mentioned birthday parties. Not to get off on a tangent, but how does that work? Does the track charge a fee for this? Does the track advertise this service?
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racingchic
post Apr 18 2007, 07:53 AM
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We have had one or two! Its a good thing. I think they were a Haro and Redline! There are enough people at the track that work on bikes and make sure they they are good to go every week! Its good for the parent sitting around. Plus once a kid gets on a bike they are hooked sooooo its good for the track! We have loaner helmets too. Always good if someone forgets something! I don't think our track would use 8-10 bikes, but it you can GO FOR IT!
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Elvis
post Apr 18 2007, 08:01 AM
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We found them to be way more headache than they're worth and dropped it.
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in the mix
post Apr 18 2007, 08:06 AM
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We had about 10 loaner bikes at our track. It was on a first come, first served basis for using them. There were times when we had so many new riders that we had to rotate these bikes between two kids. In our area and I expect most areas there are parents who just will not buy their child a good bike. Having a good race bike available so that each child has an opportunity to be competitive is huge in the success of the loaner bike program. We did maintain the bikes and also offered loaner helmets. There were children who raced the same bike every week and though they could get the parent to give the $10.00 entry fee, they never got a bike. Some parents are busy funding their habits and not interested in funding their child's sports. These same people, were often the ones that yelled the loudest for their child to pedal. I would suggest that you get as many "good" bikes as you can for new riders. Maintain them as well as possible. Keep a few long sleeve shirts at the track for that straggler that is really wanting to try it ,if only they had a shirt. It is also a good idea to have a person who logs the bikes in and out, as well as the helmets. The log is just to let the rider and family know that you are expecting them to be responsible for the equipment while they have it. I have seen some tracks hold a driver license for a loaner helmet, that way it is surely to get returned.
Good luck!
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Guest_Bags1_*
post Apr 18 2007, 09:00 AM
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The way we do birthday parties is:

They schedule a time that does not conflict with racing, etc.

We charge $7 per child. We give them 2 hours of supervised riding time on the track. We have helmets and the before mentioned bikes they can use. Same safety rules apply, must have helmet, etc.

We give the birthday child a BMX trophy that has the date, their name, age, etc. We make a big deal about the trophy and call the birthday kid to the tower. We also have bags we give out that includes a copy of BT, a track flyer and some candy to each of the kids. We also give them a hotdog and potato chip lunch. The party is responsible for their own cake and ice cream.

We don't make a lot of money doing this, but it brings more exposure to the track. The $7 does cover the cost of the hotdogs, chips, trophy and candy easily.

We require that the birthday child be 8 or older and that all kids who attend have a waiver form signed by their parents.

For more info, you can check our website at www.columbiabmx.com and click on the "birthday party" link on the top left.
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