The Bike Monkey Bike Marshal program started in 2009 with the first Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge GranFondo. Local racer Jonathan Lee pulled together 30 members of a local Sonoma County cycling club to ride along with the participants to help with safety and mechanical issues encountered on course. It was a concept that proved to provide an enhanced level of participant satisfaction and safety. The first year mostly concentrated on keeping riders safe and monitoring for poachers, subsequent years expanded the expectation of the marshals to not along provide safety and mechanical assistance overwatch, but to be ambassadors for the event and benefiting charities. Marshals started spending more time cheering on and encouraging riders, keeping morale high and enhancing the overall experience. The eventual collaboration with VeloMed, a cycling club made up of doctors, nurses, EMTs, Paramedics, and allied healthcare professionals added a layer of safety heretofore unheard of on large cycling events, often times being able to provide rapid response at accidents before Emergency Medical Services arrived.
For our first event, the inaugural Levi’s GranFondo, we had two weeks notice to pull together 30 marshals, now we start recruitment 10 months before our premier event, Levi’s GranFondo, and have seen more than 250 marshals work on the program over the years. We now work more than 10 events within California.