Valley Hams Cooperate to Provide Communications for Charity Bicycle Ride
On Saturday October9, 2010 amateur radio clubs and organizations from around the valley came together to provide radio communications for the inaugural Off The Front Charity Century Bicycle Ride.
Off The Front is a charitable organization who’s mission is to help with education and fight childhood obesity in impoverished areas. One of their goals is to give bicycles to 4th grade children in these areas who meet academic and health benchmarks.
The Off The Front Charity Century Bicycle Ride consisted of four overlapping rides with varying start times. Rides ranged from the 11-mile family ride, the 25-mile ride, the Metric Century to the Century Ride. The courses took cyclists from North Fresno to Friant, Millerton, around Bass Lake, North Fork and through Prather. Due to the vast course layout and limited commercial cellular communications it was necessary for amateur radio to provide communications at each of the rest stops and in the SAG (Supply and Gear) vehicles.
The Clovis Amateur Radio Pioneers organized and planned the communications aspect of the event. Due to the number of communications volunteers required assistance was requested from other amateur radio clubs in the area. There were communications volunteers from Clovis Amateur Radio Pioneers, Fresno ARES, Mountain Amateur Radio Club, SATERN, San Joaquin Valley Amateur Radio Society, and the Tulare ARES groups.
It was great to see such cooperation and cohesiveness from the various radio clubs. This event was an excellent opportunity for multiple groups across the valley to come together for a common event and show the public what amateur radio can do.
The event also provided a much needed exercise to refresh communications skills and help train newer ham operators.
We were fortunate to have a repeater system with such great coverage at our disposal. The CARP repeater was able to cover the entire course with out needing alternate or portable repeaters.
Post event reports from the Off The Front staff and event participants praised how professional and efficient the radio communications provided was.
“communications provided far exceeded our expectations..” said Mike Slayden, the OTF Ride Coordinator.
Event organizers have begun planning for next year’s event and have again requested our participation. Mark your calendars for Saturday October 8, 2011.
Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in the event.