Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is there a fee to ride the Pedaling4Paws ride?
A: No, there is no fee. All riders are asked to fundraise or donate a minimum of $300 to the rider’s favorite shelter(s). There are costs (see other questions below) you will incur, but we strive to minimize the cost to each person while we try to maximize the amount of money we can raise for the SPCAs/shelters we support. You do have to let us know you are going if you want to be part of the ride, but if you are totally self-supported, you can still ride along and groups are encouraged to join us along the way, whether for a few miles or a few hours. As long as you are not a safety hazard or a nuisance, we welcome you, even if we are not helping you coordinate your ride! All riders must apply to participate and the organizers reserve the right to limit applications for any number or reasons related to safety and space considerations.
Q: How do you suggest someone help this cause?
A: The easiest answer is to donate to or fundraise for one of the SPCAs/shelters on our Donate Locally page. Please make sure checks are marked with Pedaling4Paws in the memo if you donate online (many of the benefactors take donations online), make sure to include Pedaling4Paws either in parentheses after your name or if there’s an “in honor of” area, please include that. If you donate but were not able to annotate the donation, please contact us so we can reach out to the SPCA/shelter to let them know your donation was part of the Pedaling4Paws activity. You do not have to tell us how much you donated and we get absolutely nothing financially from your donation. We only use the information to keep track of how much has been raised each year. Our goal is to always grow!
A: If you fundraise for Pedaling4Paws, either collect money from those you speak to or ask them to follow the above instructions. The SPCAs/Shelters are also in need of goods to be donated like old newspapers, litter, blankets/towels, food and much more. Call your local SPCA/shelter to find out what they need. You can also donate your time by being a volunteer either for an SPCA/shelter or for the Pedaling4Paws trip. Contact us if you are intersted in volunteering on a ride). Finally, and in addition to all of the above, you can adopt one or more of the animals in the SPCA/shelter!
Q: Where do you stay during the trip and how much would it cost me if I join the ride?
A: We stay in hotels/motels. We strive to get 3 people per room when in a hotel/motel and our generous hotel/motel partners give us great rates, so the cost per person is very low. To see the day-to-day breakdown of where we stop, scroll to the bottom of our “Get Involved” page. If you are on your own, what you pay is up to you.
We estimate a cost of $40 to $60 per person per night at hotels/motels.
Q: Where do you eat and how much does it cost?
A: Cyclists typically eat well. Our breakfasts are included in the cost of lodging (or in the hospitality of the host family we stay with). Lunch is typically at a cafe or diner so assume under $15 for each meal, depending on what you chose to buy. Dinner is typically at a family friendly location that is modest in cost, but if you get very hungry, you may want to put aside more, depending on your beverage selection and quantify of food eaten. To see the day-to-day breakdown of where we stop, scroll to the bottom of our “Get Involved” page.
We estimate a cost of $30 to $60 per day in meal costs – again depending totally on how much you consume. You pay for your own meals, so there is no surcharge.
Q: What is the total cost to complete Pedaling4Paws for the week?
A: We have seen past participants complete the ride spending under $300 for everything, but the average cost is $700. There is no fee to participate, so the costs relate to lodging, food, and incidentals. Participants must purchase two Pedaling4Paws jerseys ($50.00, each) and two t-shirts ($12, each). Each participant is asked to donate or fundraise a minimum of $300 with 100% of all money raised going to the shelter(s) the participant chooses. The Pedaling4Paws organizers receive absolutely no compensation or financial benefit. They organize everything because of the shelters and the cause.
Q: How do riders return home when the ride is completed?
A: The ride is self-supported. At worst case, that means for every 4 riders, we get one of those riders to supply a vehicle that can hold the 4 riders and their bikes (mini-vans are popular as are SUVs with 4 bike racks on a back hitch). In agreeing to participate, riders also agree that they will help with the driving, so at any point during the ride, one of the riders has their bike on the rack and is driving the vehicle while the other 3 ride. At the end of the week, the group returns home in the vehicle with all bikes on the rack and all riders in the vehicle. We have enough riders who do only 1 or 2 days, so we can typically get a person back to where they started although there are occasions on a 1 day ride where a family member drives up to 1.5 hours to pick someone up and to return them home.
Q: Do people have to fundraise?
A: Yes. Our goal is to raise as much as we can for the SPCAs/shelters that we support and the best way to do that is to ask friends, family, co-workers, etc. to support you on this cause. If people want to sponsor you to help you make the trip, go for it, but hit your fundraising minimum first. If someone is interested in sponsoring the entire ride, please point them to our Sponsorship page and ask them to contact us.
Q: What is the route like?
A: Check out our Rides pages for all the latest details, profiles and the exact ride we plan to follow, road construction notwithstanding.
Q: Does everyone really ride all 5 days when they sign up for 5 days?
A: Because we are self supporting, all riders are expected to help with SAG support. The organizers establish a driver rotation such that each person gets approximately the same amount of time driving as everyone else. Whereas we also allow some vehicle drivers to drive ahead and then cycle back to the group, there must always be a SAG vehicle present with the main group for safety reasons. In 2014, the organizers established a “full-ride” donorship level whereby someone who truly wants to ride all 5 days can effectively donate their way to this privilege (although it does not mean they can never stop riding if tired). Contact the organizers if you are interested in this “full-ride” promotion or by apply online to ride.
Q: When does the ride return?
A: Each ride has different start and end dates, but whenever possible, our last riding day is Saturday. All rides have an informal “celebration” dinner on the last day of the ride and some choose to return after that whereas others remain in the area until the day after and then return home.
Q: What is the typical turnout for the ride?
A: The ride size ebbs and flows based on weather and people’s schedules. We also pick up many riders for a portion of the ride (1 to 2 hours, 1/2 day or even the full day or a couple of days). Our largest amount with all counted is around 100 people, but those going the full distance are more likely 20 to 30 people. We are growing each year and have to cap our ridership in certain areas, but we invite all to apply! The application process is imperative as it allows the organizers to determine our logistical needs and it allows a discussion with prospective riders on their expectations, skill level and their support of the cause. We want a successful event that is safe and fun!
Q: What if I get tired during the ride?
A: At any point in the ride, you can get into the SAG vehicle and stay in the vehicle for as long as you would like. If you feel you cannot ride the remainder of the ride, we would encourage you to become the permanent SAG driver for your group as that will help everyone and if others get tired or simply choose not to ride for a while, you would just have more company in the vehicle.
Q: What happens if it rains?
A: The ride is rain or shine. If there is a heavy downpour, you can expect to stop and either jump in the SAG vehicles or wait under some cover until the rain slows. We strive for safety during the entire ride, but we are a rain or shine ride!
Q: If someone wants to ride, what do they have to do and by when?
A: Contact us or apply online as soon as you have interest. Let us know where you plan to ride from, how many days, what pace and how many people are riding with you. If you have access to a vehicle, let us know. We generally stop the application process for a ride two months before that ride starts so we can deal with the loading and transportation logistics and to give everyone enough time to train for the ride itself. We also need time to order your jersey and t-shirt, earlier is always better. We want to make sure you and your items are all ready before you ride!
Q: How do I prepare for the Pedaling4Paws ride?
A: Fitness-wise, ride your bike at least twice per week, ideally building up to a minimum of 40 to 50 miles per outing and at a pace of about 15 mph on flat, windless terrain by the beginning of June. Although you will be covering over 100 miles per day in many cases, you have SAG support and a responsibility to drive the SAG vehicle for a portion of the ride, so if you get tired, you can drive or be a passenger in the vehicle. For most people, the challenge is not whether their fitness will hold out, but whether they can sit in a saddle for up to 10 hours in a day. For riders located in or near the starting point of each ride expect a series of training rides months before the big day. Those training rides ensure anyone who participates in these training rides will be ready for the full week, barring unforeseen circumstances.
Q: What pace is the Pedaling4Paws ride?
A: The day-to-day pace depends on the riders who join, but you can expect the hilly days to be slower (about 13-14 mph average) whereas flatter days depend largely on the wind, but have averaged about 15-16 mph or more for the faster groups. We often have different riding speeds and levels so if you are a slower rider, expect others to join you but anyone who cannot keep a 14 mph pace should expect jumping into the SAG vehicle at least once per day to allow the entire ride to regroup at lunch and dinner. Our goal is to have all riders together for as much of the ride as possible.
Q: What is a typical day like while riding Pedaling4Paws?
A: Assume you will wake up early enough to start riding at 8AM each day. Assume about 2 hours of riding before we get to a break (which may be at an SPCA/shelter that we visit). Assume each rest stop is about 10 to 15 minutes (and that includes a change of drivers for the SAG vehicles). Assume a 1 hour lunch approximately mid-day. Assume riding 2 hours and either taking a break and riding more or continuing to the end-of-day stop. You will then check in to your lodging and take a shower and get into comfortable clothing and your Pedaling4Paws T-Shirt to go out for dinner. Assume you will return and be in bed by 9PM or 10PM, depending on what, if any preparation you prefer to do for the next day before you go to bed. Repeat this each day of the ride except the last day where we have a celebration dinner and then you head home.
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: We are doing this because we love animals and we love to ride bicycles. We are doing this for the SPCAs and local animal shelters who depend on support!
Q: What is the hardest thing about doing a multi-day ride like this?
A: Trying to do the same ride in less days like we did in 2009. In 2009, we carried everything we needed in a 15 pound carrier (the weight of the carrier and the contents). We had more support in 2010 so we didn’t have to carry quite as much on the bikes! Since 2011, we have had a Stillman Volvo supporting us on the ride! Other than that, it’s usually a question of whether you can sit in a saddle for up to 10 hours in a day…
Q: How long is the ride?
A: Most rides are about 500 miles, assuming we don’t have to detour around any construction.