Create your own Tour De Coop – Chicken Coop – bicycle Tour – Spread the good will!
Every community should have their own Tour De Coop event! To help promote other coop tours in other communities, I have provided some marketing and planning resources that you can use for free. Each coop tour should be uniquely created for the community and desired goals of event, but here is some information on how we organized and developed our first Silicon Valley Tour De Coop.
First, I don’t want to take credit for coop – bicycle tours. Several cities starting creating these events a few years back and I heard about another coop – bike ride (the David Tour de Cluck) that inspired me to do one locally in my community.
Here’s a graphic of various coop tour all over the country to inspire you graphically. I found these by doing a Tour De Coop google image search:
Here are some others tours that you might be able to get ideas about:
Funky Chicken Coop Tour – Austin, Texas
NY Times article about David Tour De Cluck
List of Many Coop Tours throughout the US on Pinterest
Get Started – Why wait!
It’s actually much easier to organize one of these events than one might imagine due to the natural magic of combining chickens and bike riding in your community. Put that idea out to your community and people will willing sign up for your event without a lot of marketing! Trust me..
I like to design my events to have minimal planning overhead and cost associated with an event. In this case, it was the individual homeowner/coop owners who did most of the work who took it upon themselves to open and prepare their yards and gardens for the public.
Step 1: Creating an event graphic. If you are short on graphic ideas, you are free to use the graphic I created (chicken on a bike) and just add your own text to create your poster and website/marketing materials. Click on the image below to grab a full size version of the JPG image. Chickens and bikes are just fun images to work with!
Step 2:) Marketing – One can easily and inexpensively create a website for your event using website creation tools like WordPress. You can create and host a website for free or a full domain registration is less than $20 for the year. This Tour De Coop website cost me about $20/year which includes hosting and my domain registration.
Step 3) Finding Coops: As part of your initial outreach and marketing for the event, solicit potential coops for the tour. As part of the coop selection process, we asked potential coop stop owners for this specific information:
Their Coop name
Address and contact information
Description of the coop and yard/garden
Something unique about the coop
Step 4) Coop Selection Process – We had potential coop owners submitting their coop information for about 2-3 months. Once we had collected sufficient numbers of coop applications, we gathered all of the coop addresses, and then built a google map showing all of the coops submitted for this year.
This over all google maps of coops locations helped us figure out potential routes knowing where freeways and communities existed and how we could create some bikable routes, how interesting and unique the coop. We also wanted to make sure the coop was setting a good example of how to properly raise chicken.
Step 4B) Coopster meetings – We also held two coopster meetings to have coop owners learn about how to prepare their yard and coop for this event, lining up volunteers and discussed various safety issues and cross coop contamination issues and the use of the lysol spray at coop stops.
Step 5) Map the coop loops – Once we decided on the coops, we then used an on-line mapping tool call RideWithGPS where we created the routes, maps, cue sheets. This provided us with distances and elevations and very specific right/left/straight turn information. (More info on step 7 of maps and cue sheets and website.) We review the routes on-line and test road many of the rides.
Step 6) Market your event and ride – We marketed the event to various newsletter and local organizations. To control and get a list of participants interested in the ride, we created an event using an on-line event reservation planner website called EventBrite. Since the event was free, there was no charge use this ticketing/event reservation service for free.
The eventbrite system allow us to issue an set number tickets to the event. Since the map for the event was not finalized until 1 week before the event, we were able to send out final confirming event maps and information to just those that had registered for the event.
Step 7) Place coop information on line – For each of the coops, we had the coopsters (coop owners) email us a description about the coop, something unique about the coop and what they were offering to the tourist on the tour day. They also sent a photo. From each of those, we created a web page for each coop for people to review before. We did not release the addresses of the coop on these web pages.
Step 8) Map and cue sheets – The RideWithGPS is a good web program but it’s uses google base maps and can make mistakes. The maps it creates are good on-line but not that useful printed. So we use ridewithGPS to build the routes, cue sheets (which we carefully edited once ridewithGPS created them). Once we had finalized the routes, we had to do these additional steps to create printable maps:
1) View a portion of the route with RideWithGPS at a scale that shows street level details. We would do a screen capture of part of a route.
2) We would copy and paste that screen capture into Adobe photoshop and crop the map out of the screen shot.
3) To make the maps printable, we could use the photoshop adjust lighting and contrast feature and decrease lighting (-10) and increase contrast(+70). The original color maps don’t print well in Black and white printers.
4) We would add type showing coop stop addresses on the maps.
5) Save as JPG image and put up on the website with the route information. Some routes required up to 6 maps. These images are also viewable and can be zoomed in on smart phones from the website for navigation.
6) We offer 4 types of navigation –
- Google map of all of the coops on a single web page
- Printable Maps from screen shots of ridewithGPS
- Direct link to RideWithGPS on-line map for specific route
- Cue Sheet (PDF) created by RideWithGPS
Step 9) Email maps, and event information to registered Coop Tourists – 3 days before the event we sent out an email to those registered with links to the maps and routes and cuesheets and coop addresses.