Monday, March 9, 2009

I see "people". They're everywhere.

Before we continue on with our educational series on what goes into getting a course ready for a bike ride, I thought I'd a take a minute and answer a question that was posted by one of my readers.

After reading my last post regarding the Eternal Struggle of all Route Coordinators, that is, not getting enough volunteers from the Volunteer Coordinator to do everything that I would like to do on the route, Joe Biker writes:

Just curious.....
couldn't you recruit some help and bring them in on your own for your department without having to go through a volunteer coordinator?

An excellent question. But there are a couple of basic flaws in Joe's thinking here. First of all, he assumes that I have the motivation and/or the people skills to go out and recruit people of my own. That would be an incorrect assumption. Most people who know me will tell you that I am an extremely lazy person. To think that I could get motivated enough to go out and recruit route volunteers on my own, would not only be incorrect, but also fool hearty.

And to be honest with you, (and I hope we can be honest with each other), even if I did go out to recruit my own volunteers, I certainly don't have the people skills to talk anyone into doing anything. Why do you think I became a Software Developer? Well, I'll tell you why. So I wouldn't have to deal with "people". Little did I know that I would wind up spending a great deal of my time sitting in meetings with "people", listening to them try and tell me what they want the software to do. Now, that might have turned out to be a bad choice on my part, but you see the basis of my decision.

I am basically becoming a recluse and a hermit. And whats more, I like it. Generally, I try and avoid "people" at all cost. It's nothing personal against any one person in particular, but just people in general. Present company excluded.

Think about the job of a Route Coordinator. Of all of the jobs involved in putting on a bike ride, Route Coordinator is probably the one that involves the least amount of contact with "people". The vast majority of my time is spent with maps, and getting signs ready, and for the most part, not dealing with "people". True, on the day of the ride, I actually have to meet with the "people" and give them their instructions for the day. But then, I send them out on the route, and I don't have to see them again for 5 or 6 hours. Once I do see them again, I just collect my sign and send them home. Of the dozens of hours I spend each year getting the course ready for Tour Dallas, I might spend a grand total of about 7 hours in direct contact with "people".

To think that I would actually go and seek "people" out, is a very misguided assumption.

So Joe, to answer your question, while it might be a viable alternative for others to go out and find their own volunteers, for me, it's just easier to whine, complain, threaten, and beg for volunteers from the Volunteer Coordinator.
Never let it be said that I didn't take the path of least resistance. And quite frankly, the Route Volunteer would probably prefer that I have as little actual contact with the volunteers as possible.

By the way, if you'd like to have your question answered by me, Nearly Famous Fred, please don't hesitate to leave a comment. I can't promise that you'll like the answer that you get, or that the answer will make any sense to anyone but me, but I will answer.

Next post, we get back to discussing our preparations for Tour Dallas. We look at the delicate relationship between the bike ride producers and the local law enforcement.

Peace out.....Nearly Famous Fred


331 Miles said...

I'm not too good with fellow humans either. I've always thought that if you can't read the route map and get yourself around the course, you deserve to get lost!

Nearly Famous Fred said...


That's pretty much my philosophy too. As a Route Coordinator, I live by the motto, "Just when you think you've idiot proofed the course, they build a better idiot".

I really enjoy your blog. Keep it up.


Anonymous said...

You need to get sick again or a least think your sick again and blog about that. This cycling thing is boring me.


Nearly Famous Fred said...

Dear Anonymous,

I'm sorry you are bored by this "cycling thing", but I just have to ask an obvious question. If you're bored by cycling talk, why are you reading a cycling blog?

Anyway, I try and get sick again.


righteousbabe said...

"I am basically becoming a recluse and a hermit. And whats more, I like it."

Amen, brother...

And are so much more brave and far less lazy than I am. I only volunteered to help with packet pickup/registration :-)