The Derby Rangers Annual Biking BBQ grew from what were then called Pedalling Picnics. Having run a couple of Pedalling Picnics, we thought that we could raise funds by selling cyclists burgers instead of them eating their own food.
So it was, after a friend of Phil Harris gave us a gas-fired BBQ and we were in business, combining a ride with free swimming at the Etwall Leisure Centre and a BBQ.
On a good day this was very successful, with well over 100 people coming along and we had to open a bank account to house the profits, which made the Derby Ranger Group virtually independent of Sustrans for financial matters.
As with so many things, there is a downside. Firstly, such an event requires a lot of work by quite a few people and secondly the weather on the day is a high risk factor. We have no shortage of willing workers but have been unlucky with wet weather on several recent occasions, reducing the number of attendees and on one occasion, torrential rain and flash flooding forced cancellation.
Food must be bought in advance, and therein lies another problem. Unsold items are wasted and reduce any profit.
So it was that at the last Rangers Meeting the general feeling was that BBQs for us had run their course and we should move on to something else, that being what is called "The Outdoor Tea Shop".
This would be sited at a suitable place on the Mickleover Greenway and we would offer tea, coffee, soft drinks and wrapped non-cooked food to passers-by. There would be no advance publicity, the date being chosen at short notice only with a favourable weather forcecast in prospect. Any unsold food could be saved until the next occasion and there would be no washing up as disposable plastic cups would be used.
This could be run by two or three Rangers, with all equipment being carried in one of our bike trailers. One suggestion is to give away the food and drink, whilst suggesting that recipients might make a donation to our funds.
The whole thing is not all about making a profit, but also to socialize with users of the Greenway, publisizing Sustrans and the National Cycle Network.
So what of the gas fired BBQ unit? Well, it realised £4 for us at a local scrapyard, so profitable to the bitter end!
Scrap steel is currently fetching £1 per 10kg, but as of 3rd December scrap yards will no longer pay out in cash.