The Circuit: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Still in the development phase of our Bike share project, Cycles decided to host a cycling competition — The Circuit — Covenant University’s first cycle race. It was a great experience, there are decisions we were glad we made and we had some we wish we never took. However, I’d leave you to tag which of the foregoing is good, bad and ugly.
We were really excited about the competition as it would boost awareness about the Cycles brand and keep our market anticipating our next step.
Leveraging on the University College week, we decided to schedule the dates for the competition during the College week (25th February, 2017 and 4th March, 2017).
The first obstacle to cross was getting an approval for our event. This took some weeks to secure and just about two weeks to the event, we secured approval; and that was all we had — approval. The bikes were not ready, no form of awareness had begun and we had not prepared our financials.
Within two weeks, we prepared our financials, planned routes, designed posters, created awareness on social media, designed a registration form using Google forms, built a page on attending.io
I was up for two consecutive nights preparing proposals for sponsorships, sending emails, writing letters to different units to help support the event, from supplying cones, flags and barricades to securing a bus and a medical team.
We ran an awareness campaign for two evenings as soon as our bikes arrived the University (luckily for us, we got them rented for free, but with a clause of returning them all in good shape) and this helped us get people to register for the event.
After two evenings of the campaign, it became evident that the bikes needed maintenance, though they were new.
About seven of the bikes were fixed and prepared for the event day — take note, these were events we never saw coming.
After two week of fast-paced work, it seemed like all was good and we were set to begin the competition, but we didn’t have enough people registered.
As expected, on the day of the first round, we had about 10–15 people register, but we had to scrap the female category as we didn’t have enough girls registered to meet up with the cash prize for the female category — This meant a refund for the girls. We initially planned cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, both Male and Female categories, as well as consolation prizes.
The first round was cut short as we couldn’t complete all the heats because we had closed down the roads for too long and the bikes got damaged, again. I had to do a lot of talking as people were coming right at me and my team members, some demanding refunds and some demanding a re-run *lol*.
Throughout the week, I met people asking me for refunds in random places *lol*
We went back to the drawing board and scheduled a make up run for those that didn’t race the first time and those that claimed their bikes had issues. The make-up run was successful and the next day, we had the finals.
The finals was even more successful than the make up run and we had prizes given to the first, second and third place winners, with WALKR branded sweatshirts given to the 4th and 5th position; plus a visor from Zion Tribe Apparel given to the only female that decided to compete in the male category. SUPERGIRL!
After celebrating the overall success of the event and trying to scour for profit, we realized that all of the bikes needed repairs because they had been put under pressure. Some alignments had been tampered with, some brakes were damaged and some parts even fell off. Then we remembered our clause and we laughed away the profit.
Sometimes, I meet people and they tell me — “Man, you must’ve made a lot of profit from the competition” — and all I can do is smile.
In summary, here are the lessons I learnt from organizing the Circuit:
- New bikes are not always ideal for a competition.
- You don’t always get as much as you expect, no matter how big or feasible your idea. After all, Dorling Kindersley printed a colossal 13 million book copies of the much anticipated Star Wars movie and barely sold three million copies.
- Leverage on the individual strengths of your team members, and assign roles accordingly. Don’t give a duck an Eagle’s job.
- Listen to your audience, they might have the answers you need.
- Not everyone will be satisfied with your decisions, move on anyways!
In the end, we achieved our aim — Creating awareness for the Cycles brand — and we look forward to our next event, as well as our bike share, coming soon to your neighborhood.
Cheers to that!