How to Run a Bike-a-Thon Fundraiser

Bike-a-thons are fun and unique. Best of all, they’re great fundraisers. They encourage physical activity while allowing participants to fundraise for their school, extra-curricular, or club.

This page outlines the A-Z of bike-a-thons, including planning, tracking donations, and tips for organizing and promoting the fundraiser.

woman participating in a bike-a-thon

Bike-a-Thon Guide

Table of Contents

woman planning a bike-a-thon with child

Bike-a-Thon 101

A quick introduction to what a bike-a-thon is and how it works.

what is a read-a-thon

What is an "A-Thon" & How Does it Work?

An “a-thon” can be a powerful fundraising tool (and a lot of fun, too!)

what do you need to run a read-a-thon?

What Do You Need to Run a Bike-a-Thon?

Learn what it takes to run a successful bike-a-thon.

using a read-a-thon to fundraise

Using a Bike-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with bike-a-thons.

read-a-thon tools and resources

Bike-a-Thon Templates, Tools, & Resources

See how FutureFund makes managing bike-a-thon pledges effortless.

read-a-thon theme ideas

Bike-a-Thon Theme Ideas

Feel inspired with our bike-a-thon theme examples.

child participating in a bike-a-thon

Start Your Bike-a-Thon With FutureFund

Our integrated pledge campaign fundraising tool allows you to collect donations (via cash, debit, or credit) and easily manage fundraising progress. Get started for free.

Bike-a-Thon 101: A Quick Guide

What is a Bike-a-Thon?

A bike-a-thon works similarly to a walk-a-thon or jog-a-thon. There is a set course and distance, and participants complete the course. The main difference, of course, is that participants are on bikes instead of on foot.

They can bit a bit more work upfront to organize since bike-a-thons are typically longer distances and require permits for road use. However, bike-a-thons can bring in a lot more donations than a more relaxed walk-a-thon.

Bike-a-Thon FAQ

How does a bike-a-thon work?

Bike-a-thons use a peer-to-peer fundraising format, just like other types of a-thon fundraisers. Participants register for the bike-a-thon and then ask their friends, family, and coworkers to support them with donations or pledges.

In exchange for the donations, the biker participates in the bike-a-thon, which is essentially a bike race. You can customize the course and choose a location and distance that works for your school. Most bike-a-thons take place on pavement, but you can also have a mountain bike-a-thon if that works for your area.

How long is a bike-a-thon?

You can make a bike-a-thon as long or as short as you want. The main thing to consider is who will be participating.

If you want younger students to participate, you should make the course shorter. If high school students or just adults will be participating, then you can make the course longer. With this in mind, you can make your bike-a-thon anywhere from 1 to 10 miles long.

When should you hold a bike-a-thon?

Bike-a-thons can only be held outside, so you should plan yours for the spring, summer, or early fall. For a school fundraiser, this usually means sometime in September, May, or June work best.

What do people need to participate?

To participate in a bike-a-thon, participants need a bike. You may also want to make helmets mandatory for the event, especially if students will be participating. Everything else is up to the riders, although it doesn’t hurt to remind them to bring things like water and snacks.

Are bike-a-thons good fundraisers?

Bike-a-thons are good fundraisers. While they might seem intimidating to plan, they have higher donation potential than other a-thons, especially for longer distances. And since participants will be riding along roadways, they raise awareness for your fundraiser too.

What is an "A Thon"?

what is a read-a-thon?

A Thon's Are Fun & Effective Event-Based Fundraisers

An “a-thon” is a peer-to-peer style fundraiser that involves participating in a certain activity and gathering donations for participating in said activity.

The activity can be almost anything, from reading to running to bowling. No matter what activity you choose, the premise is the same. Participants commit to doing the activity (reading a certain amount of books, running a certain distance) and ask their friends, family, and coworkers to support them.

A-thons work great because you reach a huge donor pool through peer-to-peer fundraising. People are also more likely to donate since participants are “working” in return for the donations.

What Do You Need to Run a Bike-a-Thon?

Community raising money for school

Use FutureFund to Power It

FutureFund’s built-in pledge campaigns allow you to easily collect money and keep donations organized. Since parents cover payment processing fees, 100% of the funds raised go to your school!

Easy for Everyone

Any good fundraiser needs to be easy to plan, participate in, and most importantly, get donations. FutureFund makes planning and running a bike-a-thon as easy as possible.

Donate Online

Instead of dealing with paper pledge forms and cash and cheques, take the process online. Donors can donate instantly online with their credit or debit cards.

All-in-One

Always know how the fundraiser is going. Easily view how much money has been raised and more with detailed reporting.

Using a Bike-a-Thon for Fundraising

Managing & Organizing Pledges

Each student will sign up as a participant in the fundraiser. Then, they can collect pledges individually by credit or debit card. These pledges will be recorded in FutureFund and will count towards the student’s total and the grand total for the fundraiser.

Paperwork & Donor Payment Management

It’s easy for students to sign up, especially if their information is already in the system. You can bulk sign up entire grades or classes.

All donor payments are automatically entered into the system, so you can instantly see each student’s total and the grand total.

Using FutureFund to Accept Online Donations

Donors don’t need to have cash or a checkbook handy to donate. They can easily donate through an emailable donation link and pay by credit or debit card. Any cash donations can also be noted in the system to be collected later.

using future fund for fundraising
goals and rules

Bike-a-Thon Goals & Rules

Length

The length of the course is the biggest decision to make when planning your bike-a-thon. Remember that the longer the course is, the fewer people who will be able to participate.

However, longer courses often mean bigger donations, so you can choose what works for your school. Any distance between 1 and 10 miles is a good place to start.

Biking Goal

Because bike-a-thons have a set course with a pre-determined route and distance, it should be the participant’s goal to complete the course. You can have prizes for those who finish the course first, but that isn’t required.

Biking Route

Your biking route should be fully paved, typically on a roadway or cycling path. This will make it easier for more people to participate since they won’t need special skills or a specific type of bike.

A continuous bike path often works best. If your local bike paths aren’t long enough, you can also have the event take place on the roads. You will almost definitely need permits for this, so make sure you apply well in advance.

Recommended Starting Rules

Follow these steps for a successful bike-a-thon:

    1. Before you start telling students and parents about the bike-a-thon, you should decide the following:
      • Distance 
      • Route
      • Date
      • Theme
    2. Hold the bike-a-thon on a weekend, either Saturday on Sunday.
    3. Because bike-a-thons work best on the weekend, tell people about the fundraiser at least 1 month in advance, so they can add it to their calendars.
    4. Choose a distance between 1 and 10 miles.
    5. Plan a route around your school or a local park. If you’re using the roads, check with your city or town to see what type of permit is needed.
    6. Email participants a map of the route beforehand. It’s not a bad idea to have a few paper copies at the event too.
    7. Give participants at least 1-3 hours to finish the bike-a-thon, depending on how long it is. You’ll want to plan around lunchtime, so the event should start around 9:00 am or 1:00 pm.

Bike-a-Thon Templates & Resources

read a thon templates
sample read-a-thon rules

Sample Bike-a-Thon Rules

These rules are a great starting point for organizing your bike-a-thon.

sample read-a-thon description

Sample Bike-a-Thon Event Description

Unsure of where to start? Use this sample student and parent messaging to get the ball rolling!

online pledges w/ futurefund

Set Up Online Pledges With FutureFund

Let parents and supporters donate online with FutureFund’s online pledges. Try it out for free!

Bike-a-Thon Theme Ideas

Tour de France

The Tour de France is the most popular biking event in the world. Get participants in the biking spirit by encouraging them to dress like professional cyclists and represent the country of their choice.

Bike Decorations

Make the event extra engaging with a bike decoration station. Participants can decorate their bikes with streamers, balloons, and other craft supplies to stand out come bike-a-thon time.

Holiday

You can never go wrong with a holiday theme, even for a bike-a-thon. For a fall bike-a-thon, participants can decorate their bikes for a spooky, Halloween-themed ride.

Destination

Some of the most popular bike-a-thons take place in a nearby town or city. If there is an area near you known for its biking routes, consider hosting your event there for a memorable event.

Disney Bike

There’s never a bad time to dress up as your favorite movie character. Participants can dress as their favorite superheroes and more, just remind them that long dresses and capes aren’t great for bike riding.

Neon

Encourage riders to dress up in their brightest colors. As an added bonus, the fluorescent hues will keep them highly visible on their route.

Find Other Fundraiser
Ideas & Guides

How to Run a Bowl-a-Thon Fundraiser

How to Run a Bowl-a-Thon Fundraiser

Bowl-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also being active. See how a bowl-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our guide.

How to Run a Swim-a-Thon Fundraiser

How to Run a Swim-a-Thon Fundraiser

Swim-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also being active. See how a swim-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our guide.

How to Run a Sing-a-Thon Fundraiser

How to Run a Sing-a-Thon Fundraiser

Sing-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money & bring people closer. See how a sing-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our in-depth guide.

How To Run a Jog-a-Thon Fundraiser

How To Run a Jog-a-Thon Fundraiser

Jog-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money. See how a jog-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our in-depth guide.

How to Run a Read-a-Thon Fundraiser

How to Run a Read-a-Thon Fundraiser

Read-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money. See how a read-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our in-depth guide.