I understand that Cascade is planning to reduce the number of ride refs by a third. I think last year there was about 30 or so. This year, I hear they are going to have no more than a dozen. I am curious how Cascade plans to help all those riders who, in previous years, were helped by ride refs? All those riders with accidents, needing medical aid, lost on the road, needing mechanical help, asking general questions - are PAID staff to help those people? Or are those riders to figure it out on their own - patch their own damn tires, apply their own damn bandaids, find their own damn way back on to the course? I remember the community being quite unhappy with Flying Wheels participants last year. With fewer ride refs, doesn't this mean potentially more bad behavior by participants, more complaints from the communities that the ride goes through?
I've never been a ride ref, but I know people who have done this. They tend to be hard-core Cascade or STP supporters, who really love the ride. love helping others, and want to keep the ride safe. While these volunteers do no pay the entrance fee, since they are helping people the whole way, often there is no food left for them at the food stops. The beer garden and shower trucks are usually all closed down by the time they roll into Portland. They pay for their own lodging and transportation. They are not free loaders; they are usually making personal sacrifices to make sure that others have a great time.
I run a nonprofit organization, and I know how important it is to keep your loyal supporters loyal and happy. I am curious why Cascade is interested in dismissing the ride refs, and their service. What is the benefit that they hope to achieve? I can only list the drawbacks:
- Turning away people who want to support the organization and its activities
- Making the ride less safe and enjoyable for all participants
- Putting a greater burden on other ride supporters, either paid staff or volunteers
Can someone explain this?