Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Thursday, October 29, 2015

November Events for a Good Cause

Bikes aren’t just a toy, or a means of physical exercise. What you often forget, once you’ve become an adult, is that they’re also a ticket to freedom. They open up new worlds of opportunity in terms of getting outside, riding around the block or to the pool or to a friend’s house, or even just being involved in something constructive and new.

“Our primary clients are low-income kids,” Chris Stanton, founder and executive director of the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative, explains, “so as much as this is about bikes, it is about opportunity, access, independence, and equity.”

Ghisallo, a 501c3 in operation in Austin since 2011, puts on classes and clinics, ranging from one-day “Bike Rodeo” skill-based clinics to weekly “Bike Clubs,” typically in the form of semester-long after-school programs. The “Earn-a-Bike” program encourages kids to learn how to repair a bike; if they don’t already own one, they receive a donated bike and work with an instructor to refurbish it. “Apprentice Mechanic” classes provide in-depth bicycle mechanical skills training and feed into a program that places outstanding students in paid apprenticeships at local bike shops and bike organizations.

The Ghisallo name is one you’ll see everywhere, and it’s one that’s doing real work in the Austin community. If you’re looking for an event benefiting a worthy cause, look no further—in November, take part in one of the races or festivals below.

Urban Assault Ride
When: Nov. 1, 9 a.m. start
Where: Camp Mabry; see checkpoint locations here 
“Beer, Bikes & Big Wheels” is what it’s all about, apparently. This event takes place in five cities across the U.S., and Austin is one of them; in fact, UAR was born here in 2003. Teams of two visit checkpoints across the city, taking on obstacles at each stop. Ghisallo is a beneficiary of the ride, and you can use code Ghisallo to save $26 per team when you register at Sign up to volunteer here.

Fun Fun Fun Fest
When: Nov 6-8
Where: Auditorium Shores
Now in its 10th year, Fun Fun Fun Fest is billed as “one of the most relaxed, creative, and pioneering festivals in music today.” The Ghisallo Bike Village will be a highlight for those traveling to the event on two wheels, providing secure parking for more than 1,500 bicycles. Split between a free bicycle valet by Bike Austin + Spinlister and a monitored self-park area, it will be the largest public bike valet to occur in Austin. The site will also include B-Cycle (Austin’s bike share system), free mechanical support, and a managed pedicab queue. Ghisallo is a beneficiary of the event.

Georgetown Cyclocross Festival
When: Nov 14-15
Where: McMaster Athletic Complex, Georgetown
The Georgetown Cyclocross Festival, put on by the Texas Cyclocross Project, will kick off a dedicated four-week fundraising campaign for Ghisallo. The event is the Austin Cyclocross Cup finale and offers a roughly 1.75 mile course with a railroad tie run-up, 250 feet of sand, and bleacher seating for spectators. A beer garden, face-painting for kids, and lots of other fun extras make it an entertaining weekend for both racers and spectators. If you’re a supporter of women’s cycling, there’s even more reason to attend and support the Georgetown CX Festival: the women’s prize purse will equal that of the men’s P123.

Bike E.A.S.T Art Attack
When: Nov. 15, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Where: 1500 E. 4th, Big Medium’s East Side venue
A social-media scavenger hunt by bike for the artistically inclined, the second annual Bike E.A.S.T. takes you a tour of East Austin studios. You’ll earn valuable raffle tickets along the way for prizes, including the grand prize—a new bike from MJ’s. In addition to the swag, expect food, live music, and a worthwhile-in-itself experience of exploring great art and the East side. Cool for the kids: 12 and under ride free with a registered adult. The event benefits Ghisallo and the East Austin Studio Tour. For a discount, use the code ACT15.

11 a.m. - start from Big Medium’s East Side Venue
2 p.m. - live music with Dreamboat
3:30 p.m. - prizes awarded for best costume and most pimped-out ride
4 p.m. - free after party at Handle Bar with food, drinks, and live music

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