Spinning is a popular program at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, CO. So it's no wonder it is the home of The Roadless Ride, a 12-hour Spin-a-thon that raises money for Brent's Place.
Brent's Place is an organization that houses families with kids suffering from cancer. The organization counts on The Roadless Ride, which also includes a silent auction, to achieve its fundraising goals for the year. Greenwood raised $61,770 for Brent's Place during last year's ride.
“We're a big Spinning club,” says Paula Neubert, president and general manager of Greenwood. “We have a lot of cyclists in our club. They're very giving members. There's something about Brent's Place that hits the hearts of so many people.”
Most of the silent auction items for The Roadless Ride are donated by local businesses, Neubert says, but the club occasionally receives items from other places, such as signed merchandise from seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and eight-time Olympic speedskating medalist Apolo Ohno. Donations also come from the club in the form of free sessions with swim instructors and tennis pros for the silent auction and a free one-year membership to the club. Last year, Greenwood raised $13,000 from the silent auction. When added to the amount brought in by donations and pledges for the Spin-a-thon, the total raised was $31,178.
The Spin-a-thon involves 11 one-hour classes in the Spin studio with a one-hour break in the afternoon to clean up the room. Typically, riders are signed up for most of the 50 bikes in the room for each class, and sometimes, the group has to bring in some of the five extra bikes that the club has.
Last year's event drew 415 riders, the majority of whom were club members. However, about 25 percent of the riders are nonmembers who are simply supporters of Brent's Place. Because many of these nonmembers do not live in close proximity to the club, Greenwood does not push membership sales during the event.
Many of the Greenwood staff members participate. Two staff members rode the full 11 hours at last year's event. One staff member, the men's locker room attendant, raised $10,000 on his own. Even though he never takes a Spin class, he decided to do a one-hour session, and because he's popular with the members, he got a lot of sponsors, Neubert says.
“We have very charitable members, which makes it really easy,” Neubert says. “Our members are amazing. Our staff also donates a lot of their time. Members love to see us working.”
Brent's Place and Greenwood team up on marketing efforts, each sending promotional pieces to their databases. Greenwood sends out e-mails, newsletters and direct mail pieces. And as the Spin-a-thon draws nearer, Neubert puts a bike in the lobby with a countdown noting the number of bikes still open for each class.
Neubert suggests other club operators plan ahead if they want to host a similar event.
“You have to get your staff behind it,” she says. “Definitely get a couple of cheerleaders. Our assistant general manager works very closely with me. She's constantly talking to people about it. You have to be very organized and start well in advance.”