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With no revenue, Oregon Bicycle Racing Association begins layoffs, postpones events to May

Posted by on March 20th, 2020 at 9:25 am

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When your main source of income is racing registration fees and all races are cancelled, you have a problem. That’s the situation facing the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA), the state’s sanctioning body for competitive cycling.

In an announcement emailed to all 1,030 members and 42 teams Thursday afternoon, OBRA Board of Directors President Steven Beardsley said the organization has had to make some “difficult decisions to limit the losses” during this unprecedented moment of crisis surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the moves is that all OBRA sanctioned events will be postponed through May 3rd. That’s about one month longer than their initial, four-week event postponement plans made on March 12th. That puts the number of events either postponed or cancelled at 23. “We will continue to monitor this timeline and give updates on any extensions as soon as we can. OBRA is committed to start racing once we can confirm such events will not put our communities at risk,” reads the announcement.

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And starting April 1st, OBRA will begin laying off some of their part-time staff who provide event support. Capital expenses and projects have also been halted until further notice.

“Members should keep an eye on our social media for some exciting virtual events that are in the works.”
— Steven Beardsley, OBRA Board President

Beardsley says OBRA is in a stable financial condition thanks to cash reserves and they will, “Most likely make it thought this.” But things could get dicey. They aren’t doing a fundraising push at this time and Beardsley recommends racer instead support other businesses and organizations in the community that are closely tied to OBRA. That said, anyone with plans to race later in the season (hopefully there is one) is encouraged to buy a 2020 OBRA racing license. That will help with cash flow as annual licenses are a “significant” revenue source the organization. You can grab a license, make donations, and find other ways to support OBRA on their website.

As for what’s next, OBRA is working on online racing and partnerships with bike companies to offer members discounts on indoor training equipment. “Members should keep an eye on our social media for some exciting virtual events that are in the works,” Beardsley says. “Hopefully, we will be out riding and racing with each other soon.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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