Is road racing too expensive?

joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
edited 28 August in Amateur race
I went to enter a couple of races today to find the cost is £30 per race, which kinda shocked me and has pretty much put me off entering. I've had races in the past where I have a puncture or had a mechanical issue (or sometimes got dropped :oops: ) within the first hour of racing, so £30 for that is pretty expensive.

I am sure when I started racing ~10 years ago they were all well under £20, and compared to cyclocross where they are £12-14. I know the economies of cyclocross are different, more races per event meaning more participants and no closed roads but still. I can do the whole season for the price of a handful of road races.

I think £30 is where I step off the road racing bang wagon and just start tapering for the weekly chaingang instead.
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  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,701
    No, judging by its popularity. Mountain bike enduro races are £70ish for a day's practice and a day's racing
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    Road racing costs tothe organiser are much higher than they were - accredited marshals, motorbike Marshall’s etc. Crits may be cheaper of course, but may still need the marshalls to stop dog walkers etc.
    The TLI and LVRC ( if you are a vet) may be less costly.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Even events at hog hill at £15, not quite sure why it's so expensive given the dedicated bike park and the lack of need for marshalls.

    I've heard racing in Belgium costs the equivalent of a couple of £!

    Not a vet yet and at 29 I have some way to get, but I guess that's something to look forward to when hitting 40.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 719
    Why don't you ask the organiser next time you're at a race what his/her breakdown of costs is? In a nice way of course. You'll have your eyes opened.

    ~4 quid per entry off the top goes to BC. Another 2-3 quid per rider for the circuit hire. 1-2 quid/rider for the commissaires (depending on course/circuit). Prize money probably another 1 quid per rider. So you're up to 10 quid already just to break even. Some organisers pay their marshals a token amount, or at least provide free food and drinks. Most clubs seek a tiny profit of their event that goes back to club coffers, but usually only a few hundred quid at best. Sometimes when there are hardly any entries, it's a loss. Then you have the commercial organisers who are trying to make a real profit...

    On the road, you've got cars, petrol, NEG, accredited marshals, prize money, HQ hire, etc. Adds up.

    I love it when people who will drop £150 on a jersey or £2k on a set of wheels complain that the sport is expensive to race... it's a sport run mostly by volunteers and frankly I think racing is good value for money compared to sportives. Budget for the costs, or maybe step up to organise yourself and see if you can do it cheaper?
  • mickledore.fymickledore.fy Posts: 400
    I love it when people who will drop £150 on a jersey or £2k on a set of wheels complain that the sport is expensive to race...
    Spot on.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    My jerseys are mostly 10-year-old club ones, the last jersey I bought was last year and second hand for £30. However, as a matter of interest, lets do the maths on some £2k wheels (which is a lot more than I spent on mine). I rode 463hours last year, therefore those £2k wheels cost £4.30/hour if I used them for one year. The cost of racing is currently ~£10 - 15/hour.


    I did think this may turn in to a personal attack on me and, without any prior knowledge, accuse me of not doing my volunteering (which I do do). None the less, I will respond.

    My question was why is racing so expensive in Britain when it's so ridiculously cheap in other european countries?

    My question was NOT are organizers ripping us off by charging loads of money and laughing all the way to the bank in their brand new BMW?
  • mickledore.fymickledore.fy Posts: 400
    But it's not expensive.
    How much does it cost to watch a Premier League footy match?
    A Test Match, especially at Lord's or The Oval.
    How much does a trip to Alton Towers cost?
    What are cinema tickets these days?
    Even fish and chips costs IRO £8; I know because I bought some on Saturday. First time for a long while and it shocked me.
    How much is Amazon Prime or Netflix - on top of your licence fee?
    Or a Sky subscription?
    How much does a mobile phone contract cost?
    How much is petrol per gallon? Sky high these days but you pay it without quibble.

    Stop being such a cheapskate. If you think you can do any better/cheaper then put a race on. There will be lots of organisers willing to hand over all the 20p for the swearbox that goes with putting an event on.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    But it's not expensive.
    How much does it cost to watch a Premier League footy match?
    A Test Match, especially at Lord's or The Oval.
    How much does a trip to Alton Towers cost?
    What are cinema tickets these days?
    Even fish and chips costs IRO £8; I know because I bought some on Saturday. First time for a long while and it shocked me.
    How much is Amazon Prime or Netflix - on top of your licence fee?
    Or a Sky subscription?
    How much does a mobile phone contract cost?
    How much is petrol per gallon? Sky high these days but you pay it without quibble.

    Stop being such a cheapskate. If you think you can do any better/cheaper then put a race on. There will be lots of organisers willing to hand over all the 20p for the swearbox that goes with putting an event on.


    1) No idea, don't watch football
    2) No idea, don't watch cricket
    3) No idea, haven't been to Alton towers for 11 years and last time I went I didn't even pay.
    4) No idea, don't go to the cinema much.
    5) No idea, haven't bought fish and chips in years
    6) Don't have prime, Netflix is £6.99/month and you don't need a license to watch it so long as you aren't watching live streamed TV. So I have to watch 30 minutes of Netflix/month for it to be cheaper than road racing, which I probably do).
    7) Don't have sky
    8 ) £15/month for unlimited minutes, text and data. So I guess I could give up my phone for 1 hour of racing.
    9) No idea, I don't have a car (too expensive).

    And to your last point; I WASN'T SAYING I COULD DO IT CHEAPER! Nor was I saying that everyone who volunteers (cycling or otherwise) is obviously useless and I could do a much better job. I was trying to ask why road racing is so expensive.
  • ben6899ben6899 Posts: 7,032
    This has turned into a bit of an attack on Joey, I have to say. It's clear from his original post, that he was asking out of curiosity (comparing to Belgian amateur races) and not laying blame or pointing fingers anywhere.

    The disparity between £30 over here and "a couple of quid" (I confess to not knowing exact amounts) in Belgium is quite an eye opener. What are they doing differently?

    I do know that amateur racing in this country is in desperate need of more people volunteering - going on the attack in response to questions like Joey's is not the best way to get more people involved.
    Ben

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  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 10,660
    joey54321 wrote:
    I am sure when I started racing ~10 years ago they were all well under £20,

    Most other things were also cheaper 10 years ago - prices usually do increase over time. Biggest rises in racing costs, as far as I can tell, are insurance costs, safety measures (ie the increased need for barriers, NEG, CSAS marshals, etc) and levies - all of which go up over time.

    Most hobbies cost something and racing is no different. It is optional though - you don't have to do it.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 10,660
    ben6899 wrote:
    The disparity between £30 over here and "a couple of quid" (I confess to not knowing exact amounts) in Belgium is quite an eye opener. What are they doing differently?

    The comparison is not accurate, which is why it seems like such an imbalance. £30 for a UK race is presumably for a regional A/B open road event, for which the costs are higher. Midweek evening crits on your local circuit are going to be £8-15 tops, I would have thought.

    The 'two or three quid' thing probably comes from local Belgian kermesses, which in my experience are usually organised by the local cycling body (ie Cycling Flanders) and they bear most of the costs. Entries for these are only a handful of Euros.

    But comparing the cycling/racing infrastructure in Belgium with the structure over here is never going to end well..
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Have a look at triathlon if you want to see expensive.

    Even a 10k running race can cost £22 - so a road race for £30 sounds like excellent value.
  • aberdeen_luneaberdeen_lune Posts: 442
    I put on my first cycling race last year and totally underestimated the costs. I charged £10 per entry and my costs were way over that. Electronic timing was the biggest cost then levies then venue hire, prize money etc. I had to ask the club to bail me out by £300 to cover things.

    This year I doubled the race entry to ensure I break even. All the local race organisers I know and all the helpers do it for free. The costs have to be covered though as you can’t expect the organising club to sudsidise them.

    So to the OP £30 per head just what it costs to put on an event. Used to be much cheaper but with current rules and regulations and cost inflation its now not cheap.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 719
    My post wasn't meant to take a shot at Joey. Great that he (and others like him) volunteers because without them, the sport would be even more expensive. Just giving him a realistic breakdown of costs.
  • ben6899ben6899 Posts: 7,032
    Imposter wrote:
    ben6899 wrote:
    The disparity between £30 over here and "a couple of quid" (I confess to not knowing exact amounts) in Belgium is quite an eye opener. What are they doing differently?

    The comparison is not accurate, which is why it seems like such an imbalance. £30 for a UK race is presumably for a regional A/B open road event, for which the costs are higher. Midweek evening crits on your local circuit are going to be £8-15 tops, I would have thought.

    The 'two or three quid' thing probably comes from local Belgian kermesses, which in my experience are usually organised by the local cycling body (ie Cycling Flanders) and they bear most of the costs. Entries for these are only a handful of Euros.

    But comparing the cycling/racing infrastructure in Belgium with the structure over here is never going to end well..

    Cool, thanks for this.
    Ben

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  • ben6899ben6899 Posts: 7,032
    maryka wrote:
    My post wasn't meant to take a shot at Joey. Great that he (and others like him) volunteers because without them, the sport would be even more expensive. Just giving him a realistic breakdown of costs.

    It was more the "cheapskate!" line by Franco that I was looking at. And maybe the assumption that Joey rides around on Boras and wears Assos all the time. :-)
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
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  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,251
    Yes it's too expensive but those are the costs of putting on a race. That doesn't mean cost isn't an issue though - I wouldn't spend 2k on wheels or £150 on a jersey. Personally I'd scrap prize money - that would take a chunk off entry costs for all at the expense of making it more costly for a handful who win regularly.

    Racing round here on the day a circuit race at Mallory is £18, cyclocross in Notts and Derby cost the same a couple of years ago and I assume it's not gone down - weekend road races are well over £20 compared to maybe half that ten years ago but certainly for the open road events costs have gone up commensurately.
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  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,858
    I'm a race organiser and there alot of cost in setting up a race. Our clubs race is in suffolk and a day of criterium racing. We have first aid cover costs, cost of barrier hire, cost of transponder hire, cost the comms, cost of goody bags for all the helpers on the day, cost of a scaffold permit to put our arch, costs of BC entry fees, event insurance which every year goes up because people claim for injuries sustained ion races why I dont know, Cost of village hall hire, cost of regersitering the race with BC and it goes on. The race has to return a profit to the club as that gives the club funds to carry out the extensive actives we undertake on behalf of our members.

    Races are not cheap to put on. In belgium races are subsised by the national federation In the UK they are not. The commitee for Ixworth cycle races devote a lot of time to organising this event and we dont get paid. We do it for the love of it. Then there all the helpers. Last year we were short on marshalls and I was wandering out with yellow vest looking for wheelers who had not volunteered and volunteered them.

    Racing happens through goodwill, alot of it. In our club we blag alot to keep cost down. I would not complain about the cost, certain memebers of the commitee are packing away till gone 10 pm and we are there from 7 am setting up for. We charge £25 for adult races and £15 for junior races with transponder hire. That cheaper than some but the wheelers have been doing this a while now and we barter services for publicity alot which keeps the cost down.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • ProssPross Posts: 21,011
    The more pertinent question, rather than why is it much cheaper in Belgium is how can the TLI and LVRC put on races more cheaply within the same country and working within the same legal framework? I know from my days organising that there isn't much fat there for the organising club and it usually relies on a full field so I've always wondered how it cheaper under the other organisations' rules.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,251
    I am guessing prize money, levies and volunteer expenses add to BC race costs. I've never organised under lvrc/tli though.
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  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,298
    So could we do with BC cutting their entry levy and offering insurance FOC? Because don't you have to be a BC member to enter? Or buy a 1 day licence?

    I guess that a lot of the time, entries are from people with enough money to pay into this sort of sport and actually, you only need to address the cost when entry numbers start dropping.

    No - I don't ride around on £2k hoops or wear jerseys costing £130 either... in fact - the wheels I tend to ride cost less than the proposed jersey ...
  • davetexdavetex Posts: 20
    I can't wondering why the likely cheapest transaction method for BC races (online) attracts a £1 surcharge for the user, especially when that user is a BC member. Seems counter productive to me.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,858
    insurance FOC, whoes going to pay for it? BC make there money from the levies and other income. I am not saying they spend it all wisely but as an organising they do spend money on the sport. Insurance has gotten expensive for BC because riders keep on claiming when they crash. You race at your own risk. Claims should not be allowed. If you cant deal with the potenial loss from a crash in racing dont race it really that simple.

    The prize money always comes from sponsors. It is for the Ixworth crits. I have stumped up cash from my shop for the CC sudbury road race before and might again this year. You dont get it back but you need prize money for the race.

    Racing is as expensive as you want to make it. £30 for an entry is not so bad. It when you trash £2000 worth of kit in a crash it gets expensive. The cost is what it is.

    LVRC is cheaper because you hire a circiut for a couple of hours get event insurance of cycling UK and hold a race. Alot less to it.

    Road racing under BC regs is way more involved. Circuit racing under BC regs is often cheaper.
    BC comms need paying. it goes on an on the costs. It's expensive to host.

    Oh for the Ixowrth race we need to print programmes race numbers with rider names on them (alot of races we cant just reuse the same numbers)... it goes on. Yet our race is cheaper than some which shows we are canny.

    transponder hire/costs have to factored in. Line Judging is a thing of the past or it should be. Line judgin is makor pain and if you dont get it right/have a messy finish it creates complications we could do without.

    the insurance for free comment makes me thing you need to get real.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • ProssPross Posts: 21,011
    I may be wrong here but I'm pretty sure the insurance element in BC races doesn't allow competitors to claim for injury or damage. As far as I'm aware it is third party cover only. As for LVRC races just hiring a circuit that's not the case, they race on open roads too (or used to) and why would their costs for hiring a circuit for closed circuit races be any less than the BC equivalent? I've never used a transponder in a road race either as an organiser or a competitor though I haven't done either for a few years admittedly. It seems like an unnecessary cost to me.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,251
    Line judging with a couple of elevated cameras is fine - I've organised/judged plenty of road races and I'd rather spend 20 minutes sorting out results than faff about with transponders. Transponders may make sense if you are awarding primes, prizes for 1st 3rd cat or giving all finishers a place (though all that can be done with a camera) but even then they are a nice to have rather than something that makes a real difference.
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  • AlejandrosdogAlejandrosdog Posts: 2,007
    I always thought bc races were eye wateringly expensive. And to get anywhere means you’re racing twice a week minimum du ing the season so 150 to 200 pcm on entry fees.

    Plus kit
    Plus transport costs
    Plus all the rest.

    Notwithsatanding the cost of putting the event on racing in the UK is a very expensive sport.

    My experience of racing in Europe was that the event costs were a fraction of bc and it wasn’t unusual to have closed roads esp in local crits.
  • mike cbmike cb Posts: 7
    This feeling of "better" coming along with "higher price"

    Smaller events mean less equipment, less staff members on course, less swag, a lower number or no security, less medical staff and thus, an overall lower cost to put on the race.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 10,660
    mike cb wrote:
    This feeling of "better" coming along with "higher price"

    Smaller events mean less equipment, less staff members on course, less swag, a lower number or no security, less medical staff and thus, an overall lower cost to put on the race.

    what?
  • bigmitch41bigmitch41 Posts: 689
    I used to race motorcycles, now that was expensive! ;)
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  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,022
    Imposter wrote:
    mike cb wrote:
    This feeling of "better" coming along with "higher price"

    Smaller events mean less equipment, less staff members on course, less swag, a lower number or no security, less medical staff and thus, an overall lower cost to put on the race.

    what?

    Exactly... what's he talking about? staff members... swag..?
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