Last modified: September 12, 2013

The Tenets of Bandit Cross

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Lately I’ve been getting a lot of requests from folks wanting to talk about Bandit Cross, and at the All-City address, people asking for prize donations for an outlaw cross race that they’re looking to put on.

Now you’re free to run your version of Bandit Cross any old way you see fit. That’s your right, but I figured I’d take a second to lay out some of the guidelines that have worked exceedingly well for me.

The Tenets of Bandit Cross

1. No Entry Fee
By keeping the race completely free, peoples attitudes tend to be much better. This goes hand in hand with tenet number 2.

Now I have in the past disobeyed this rule. Before the first ever Bandit Cross I purchased some trail tools in order to get the course in shape. I charged $3 for the first race to make the money back. I have not charged since, though I do need some new tools….

If you want to charge anything, I suggest you take Hurl’s lead with Bottle Cross and encourage people to bring a six pack or something for the after party.

2. No prizes
Bandit Cross has been a life affirming deal for me, and a nice counterpoint to the attitudes I sometimes encounter at alleycat races. Part of that is because everyone is stoked to have fun, they’re courteous to one another, and the sense of community is overwhelming.

It’s certainly not an atmosphere devoid of competition, but when you’re just racing for bragging rights and nothing else, people tend to be much more kind to one another. They let things slide instead of getting aggro, and the general atmosphere is way more genial.

I cannot stress this rule enough. In my mind it’s the most important.

3. Have a waiver
Now all sorts of armchair legal pundits have told me things such as “you can’t sign away liability” and ”you’re actually taking on more risk with a waiver because you now have documentation of a race.”

Well, according to my legal counsel (yeah I got legal counsel, his name is Cross Wizard!!!), that’s B.S., we live in a litigious society and a waiver can totally help you out in a pinch. It also helps people realize the seriousness of the undertaking and treat it with more respect.

I have had multiple requests for the waiver I use, and I have been advised to not give it out (not sure why, but I do what my legal team says). If you’re looking for a waiver I suggest you check out USA Cycling’s version on their website and adapt it to your needs.

4. Have Fun
That’s what it’s all about, enjoy yourself, enjoy the race, and take pride in making a difference in your community. Don’t wait for somebody else, make it happen.

If you’d like to learn a little more about how and why we do Bandit Cross in the Twin Cities, here’s a little video we made last year.

Bandit Cross: Ruining It For Everybody from Quality Bicycle Products on Vimeo.

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