Cascade Bicycle Club has made the difficult but clearly correct decision to cancel its 2020 major events, including their iconic Seattle to Portland Classic. The decision sets up a massive test for the large bicycle events and advocacy organization, which funds most of its work through event sponsorships and registration fees.
Some events are still planned, though often in a different form than usual. Bike Everywhere Day, which was moved from May to June 19, is still on, though it will clearly look different than in years past when it had a focus on commuting to work. The Bike Everywhere Breakfast is also still on for June 3, though it is now online (so you have to cook your own breakfast). They are also still hoping to host the WA Bike, Walk, Roll Summit September in Spokane, though details are very much subject to change.
As we reported a month ago, Cascade furloughed half its staff in anticipation of major cancellations. But they were still holding out hope that the situation would change by summer and they might be able to host at least some of their events. However, the interventions we would have needed for that to happen, like massive amounts of testing and contact tracing nationwide, have not come to fruition. As it comes time for signing contracts and placing deposits, tough decision time is here for nearly all our major summer events.
We reported last week that the Fremont Solstice Parade (and its iconic painted bike ride) have been cancelled. Expect the wave of summer event cancellation notices to keep coming.
People who have already registered for Cascade events must request a refund by May 15. After that, your registration will be considered a donation, according to Cascade’s refund FAQ. UPDATE: Cascade is not offering full refunds to all rides. STP, RSVP and Flying Wheels registrants can only get 50% back. The organization says people agreed to this arrangement:
“Every person paying for registration agreed to both the waiver seen here (read item 11-Force Majeure) and our refund policy here. While we are not obligated to return any of the funds received, we have done the best we can to pay the expenses incurred up to this point and return everything else to you.”
Cascade is a large organization with a lot of staff, a large office and a big budget, especially compared to other bike advocacy organizations. It’s likely difficult for them to hibernate to get through this. Meanwhile, they are working on how to reshape their advocacy for these times.
So many other businesses and organizations are in a similar or worse situation. How our city, county, state and nation act (or fail to act) to support orgs like Cascade will determine so much about what our post-outbreak reality looks like. Are we really going to let our cultural institutions collapse?