We’re still needing more ham radio operators to help with the 2-day BikeMS Valero Ride To The River on the first weekend of October, Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th. We’ll be using mostly 2 meter frequencies.
Volunteer Hours are generally 7am until 6pm, but may vary depending upon your assignment. Some assignments may require being in position way before sunrise, others not until 8 or 9am.
The ride on Saturday starts at Rolling Oaks Mall on the Northeast side of SA (1604 & Nacogdoches), then wanders thru the countryside via mostly back roads over to Seguin and back to a finish line at the Comal County Fairgrounds in New Braunfels. (River Road will be involved both days.) The event will finish up Saturday before 7pm, but most rest stops will close way before 5pm.
On Sunday, the 2 routes start at, and return to, the Fairgrounds. Both routes include River Road, coming one direction from Sattler. Sunday is shorter due to shorter routes.
See this link for a PDF guide entitled “The Bike Tour Survival Guide For Hams” thst provides some basic advice about the duties for the various types of assignments needed during a larger bike ride.
We need more help in these areas:
SAG VAN drivers & co-pilots (picking up stranded riders in a rental 15 passenger van or pickup truck) Can be ham & a non-ham team, or just a ham driver. Preference is given to team assignments (driver & co-pilot) especially for newbies.
Motorcycle Safety Marshals (need to train w group before the actual ride). Can be non-hams also
Ham shadows for event officials (ride with them all day, relaying msgs). Most likely riding in another person’s vehicle, so be prepared with mag mount antenna and power source (cigarette plug splitter, etc).
Medical rovers / first responders (EMTs, ham shadows). Most likely riding in another person’s vehicle, so be prepared with mag mount antenna and power source (cigarette plug splitter, etc).
Rest Stop Hams (relaying msgs to/from medical, the Rest Stop captain (supplies), or when a need to have riders picked up). Great chance to test your emergency go-kit setup, solar power or generators. Many just use their vehicles, but be leery of dead batteries. (Been there, done that, have portable battery jumper in every car now.)
If you have questions about any of these types of assignment, please contact Lee at his info below.
Criminal background checks are required for some, but not all positions, paid for by National MS Society. Driver DMV checks are required for Van & Truck drivers (also paid for). Some online driver training is required for those driving rental vehicles, but we’ll make that training available during the second half of the training / briefing meeting. Online volunteer registration is requested.
Free t-shirts will be provided. All fuel expenses for event vehicles and motorcycles are covered without need to pay up front and then waiting for reimbursement (i.e event only gas credit card).
A 2 hour training / briefing meeting is typically held the weekend before the event to cover the routes, assignments, pass out maps & other items (like t-shirts), etc. Teleconferencing will be available for those unable to attend training in person, especially for our out of town volunteers. But if you are not experienced with this event, attendance in person is highly recommended.
Optional training may include a route trip in the weeks leading up tro the event. We’ll all pile in a vehicle, or caravan, and drive the route, checking out the designated rest stop areas to find potential problems before the event.
Ham Coordinators are Charlie Land KC5NKK, MaryAnn Horn N5NYM, and Lee Besing N5NTG.
Motorcycle Safety Marshals are coordinated by Ray McLeaird N5RAM.
Medical Rovers / First Responders are coordinated by Neil Martin WA5FSR, with an actual doctor in overall charge.
Police coordination with SAPD, Guadalupe Sheriff, Comal Sheriff and New Braunfels police has been arranged. Major intersections will have a police presence.
This would be a great training opportunity for ARES and CERT groups as well, perhaps with several volunteers helping out at one or more rest stops. Hill Country REACT members are involved also.
Note: SAG Van & Pickup Truck assignments are expected to be 2-day assignments, with the vehicles being picked up from designated rental agency location on Friday (before 6pm) and returned either Sunday night or Monday morning. We do have a couple of Saturday only Truck Sag assignments if needed, due to an expectation that some percentage of riders, especially with MS, will opt to not ride on Sunday because of health reasons.
Rest stops can be assignments for 1 or both days since locations change each day. Hours vary by position relative to start and finish line. We usually have 8 stops on Saturday and 5 stops on Sunday.
While we prefer ham shadows to be a 2-day assignment with the same position, we understand that some folks might not be available both days. Preference in assignments is given to those able to do both days of course. Ham shadow positions might be with law enforcement, medical personnel, or key event officials.
Please contact Lee for more info. If you email / call / text / or leave voicemail msg, please include your name, callsign and your contact info. (Hint, he seldom answers his phone before noon because he works nights.)
Thanks in advance.
Lee Besing, N5NTG
San Antonio TX