GO FAST HAVE FUN STAY GOLD
Then do it all over again. Vermont Goldsprints will bring bicycle racing action to your next shop event, fundraiser, bike festival, employee team-building exercise, or private function. The small footprint, short race duration and fixed nature of the bikes makes goldsprints well-suited to a variety of racers, venues and audiences. Having us there might even be free!
When Vermont Goldsprints does take in money, it all goes to operate events for bicycle advocacy and especially to customize our system to better serve children's events (see our "Wish List" below) to get more people moving on bikes.
- Our first Mad Dashes night at the Switchback Taproom went great! Check out the results here. Next event is 12/3 at the Artifactory at the Magic Hat Brewery.
- MAD DASHES is a Go! Go! Go! We have six events scheduled for this btv-oriented goldsprints series and are planning more. You can even pre-register for the series and save a few bucks.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are Goldsprints, anyway?
- Goldsprints are short bicycle races conducted on real single-speed bicycles. The front wheels of the bikes have been replaced with a frame that holds them up, while the rear wheels turn on rollers that are hooked up to sensors that measure speed and distance. A computer connected to the sensors projects the progress of the racers on a "clock face" style display and identifies the winner of each race when it is complete.
- Racers do not need any special equipment and there is no prior bicycle riding experience required. Here's an example:
Who can race?
- Anybody! The bicycles are adult-sized and will fit most riders well enough to do a short sprint. Riders should be wearing sturdy footwear (the bikes have flat pedals and footstraps) and should not have any loose clothing that could become trapped in the drivetrain of the bikes.
- We have also successfully set up the rollers with kid-size bicycles, and as long as you have two bikes with at least 20" wheels, slick tires, and matching gearing, kids' bikes work just fine.
I want to have Vermont Goldsprints at my next event- what do I do?
- Simple- hit me up on the contact page and we'll get in touch. You can poke around this website if you like, but it's probably going to be easier and faster for us to just start talking!
- I'm open to lots of different event venues and formats.
What's it cost?
- That depends on who and where you are:
- My first policy is that if I can get to you easily (within an hour's drive) from the Burlington, Vermont area, and you are looking to do fundraising for or an event directly related to bike advocacy, then this is free. You bring the party, I'll bring the bikes and the racing setup.
- If it's outside of those criteria, but still nonprofit, I'm probably looking to make up my gas money and bring home a few bills for equipment maintenance and website hosting. Maybe bike parts or swag. Let's talk.
- If you're a local bike shop, let's talk. We might split entry fee money, or maybe you can help me with bike parts. There's a wish list as I work to expand goldsprints racing opportunities!
- If you're a for-profit business that isn't a local bike shop, then I expect 20 bucks an hour including travel time and mileage expenses. Contact me and we'll figure out a price.
What is a typical event format?
- A successful event will probably run for about 3 hours, allowing for an hour of racer sign-ups and about two hours of racing. The racers are brought up two at a time for a qualifying round of 250 or 500 meter sprints. Then, the fastest racers will finish out the evening in a basic bracket format to determine the winners for the evening. In the midst of this, riders are encouraged to call one another out for "grudge matches," which could be any distance between 250-2000 meters.
- In terms of money, you can do free racing with donated prizes, or you can charge racers and give out donated prizes, or you can charge racers and divvy up the cash or a portion of it as prize money. All of those formats work and it's really up to you as to how you want to do it.
Who We Are:
Well, "we is really just "me," right now:
I'm thirty-something. I live in South Burlington with my wife and son. I have a full-time job as a land-use planner in the neighboring community of Williston. I ride bikes. I ride them for fun by myself and with my family, I ride them on rollers in the winter with Vermont Indoor Cycling, and I especially ride bikes to get to and from work. I have a professional interest in getting people where they need to go without cars. I like what bikes do for places. What else?
- I spent a semester in Copenhagen once- it was like Disneyland for bikes, because bikes are just part of the culture there.
- I love cooking- especially wood-fired oven stuff like pizzas and smoker stuff like pork shoulder.
- I also like homebrewing beer and cider, but it's hard to find the time.
- I'm a fan of good poetry, especially shared among good friends over good homebrewed beer and pizza.
- I like working on my bikes, and especially wheelbuilding.
- I have been known to ride entire centuries on my rollers (the 100 miles kind, not the 100 years kind).
- My enjoyment of woodworking far exceeds my competence at it. That goes double for cycling.
- Nerd alert- I do a fair bit of unicycling when I'm not on my bike. Or on my tandem bike. Or running.
I love bikes and I love the idea of more people getting on them- and finding out just how much joy and empowerment they can add to their lives by doing so! It is with that idea in mind that I set up Vermont Goldsprints.
VTGOLDSPRINTS IN THE NEWS:
Back when we were just getting started (before I had even called it Vermont Goldsprints and before I owned any of the equipment), we worked to bring back Mad Dashes, Burlington, Vermont's own goldsprints series. And, we were lucky enough to attract the attention of NPR:
As a set of projects with a social mission, Vermont Goldsprints, Vermont Indoor Cycling, and Burlington, Vermont Kidical Mass all have equipment and funding needs. As discussed on the main page, there may be times when a bike shop or other for-profit entity would like to have a Vermont Goldsprints event and is looking to pay for that event in something other than cash. Or maybe, you're just the generous type and want to help us grow this program. Either way, here's a list of current needs, wants, and outrageous demands:
We want to go four-up! Racing bikes two at a time is fun, but four at a time would be even more fun and allow us to get more people racing one another more quickly. The software and hardware we have already allows for four-up racing, but to make it happen we need two more single-speed bikes and the rollers to ride them on. This means we need:
- Another set of Kreitler Goldsprints Rollers. Opensprints sells these and a new set goes for $1280. Not cheap, but totally bombproof and compatible with our current setup.
- Another set of bikes. Complete bikes would be cool, but I'd be happy starting with frames and building them up from there. To be the same as what we are running currently, the bikes will need to be fitted with 56-tooth chainrings and 16 tooth freewheels. It would be really sweet to add one smaller frame (under 50cm) and one larger one (over 58 cm) to the stable for more flexibility to accommodate our bigger and smaller riders.
We want to have kids races! So, we have successfully rigged the rollers with 20" kids bikes before, but ideally, a matched set of 24" kids bikes with step-through frames would work really well. For this we would need:
- 2-4 24" bikes with step through frames and single-speed drivetrains. Coaster brake bikes would be fine.
We want to race in brighter light!
- The current A/V setup we have is lacking. Our projector is a pretty feeble LED model that works OK in dark rooms but isn't all that great in daylight. A 40" or bigger flatscreen or a brighter projector would be super-useful.
We want to be heard!
- Our current PA system consists of either yelling really loud or whatever is at the venue. We'd like to upgrade to a small portable PA system for music and announcing.
We want to be mobile!
- Right now the only way to get all this gear somewhere is to put it in a car. But, how sweet would it be to put it all in a bike trailer! Any help in purchasing a large cargo trailer or parts to build one would be greatly appreciated.
Vermont Indoor Cycling
On and off, and even before there was a Vermont Goldsprints, I have organized pop-up group bicycle trainer rides, bringing a projector and an assortment of bicycle videos to a place like an after-hours coffee shop or restaurant, and getting together for indoor "group rides" in the dead of winter. My focus has admittedly been on goldsprints for the last year or so, but I'm open to firing these rides up again. Keep an eye on the blog for more information.
BTV Kidical Mass
Kidical Mass is a national movement dedicated to setting up group rides for families to do with their kids. We have had some success doing these in Burlington, but getting people together can be a challenge. Stay tuned for more in Summer 2016!