What is the Cover Indiana?
Cover Indiana is an annual week-long bicycle tour starting in Lafayette, Indiana, to raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity.
What is Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity believes that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. They build and repair houses all over the world using volunteer labor and donations. Their partner families purchase these houses through no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans or innovative financing methods.
Am I capable of riding 400 miles? Do I need any previous cycling experience?
You are capable! Many of our riders are new to cycling. If you haven't ridden in a while or ever, we highly strongly recommend putting in a eight weeks of training. We recommend riding 3 or 4 times per week rather than only one big ride on the weekends. Consistency will take your fitness gains much further.
The Purdue and IU cycling clubs also have daily rides as well as other local clubs like the Wabash River Cycle Club or the Bloomington Bicycle Club. This isn't a race, so don't worry about trying to "keep up." Much of the draw to this event is the fun in the journey out on the road. Stop and smell the roses.
We have locals, out-of-state, and international riders. Many students from Purdue University participate. Our riders range in skill and in background - many not having ridden a bike since they were a kid to serious racers.
Is Cover Indiana a professionally led tour?
No. A large majority of the ride is organized by a few volunteers. We have ridden across the country a few times, raced in our college days, and participated in many similar events. We have strong opinions on safety and how an event should be run - but not everything will be perfect. Be flexible, but know we think you'll have an amazing week.
What is the weather like?
Lafayette has an average of about 70F for the high and 50F for the low during the second week of May. The month of May averages 9 days of rain according to NOAA.org.
What kind of bike should I use?
Short answer? A road bike - those are the ones with skinny tires. Many people have completed the Cover Indiana with a hybrid bike, but it takes considerably more effort to complete the ride due to the weight and rolling resistance of the wider tires.
Do I ride alone?
If you choose to ride alone, you may do so, but there are lots of opportunities to make a new friend. We also have designated sweep riders for each day. These are the last riders of the day and do not pass any other cyclist on the road. They help encourage riders in the back of the pack as well as provide limited mechanical support. When they arrive at the overnight location, we know that everyone has arrived.
How do I carry my stuff?
This is a supported tour, so you only need to carry what you need for the ride - sunblock, identification, cash, cell phone, etc. There will be spare tubes and tools in the SAG vehicles, but if you have your own, bring a tube, tire levers, a frame pump, and a multitool.
Where do we sleep?
We will be sleeping on church floors. If you're one of the first riders, a few churches have couches. Please feel free to bring an air mattress or sleeping pad such as a Thermorest. There are other areas where we stay to sleep in if there are snorers or you are a light sleeper.
Where/what do we eat?
Breakfast and dinner is provided, but lunch is not. Bring cash as some local businesses do not accept credit cards. You will be burning many calories on the road. You may be surprised at how much food your body wants to eat. Snacks and drinks will be provided at the SAG stops.
Do you accommodate dietary restrictions?
We can most easily accommodate vegetarians, and we will do our best with other needs. Please let us know on the registration form.
Do we ride as one group?
No. It is not safe to do so. Typically, riders will be in groups of two to six. Indiana law allows bicyclists to ride two abreast.
What if I get a flat tire or other mechanical?
There are many experienced cyclists on the route with you, so you may be near one that would love to help you. If not, you can call the Support and Gear (SAG) vehicle, and they will assist you.
What if I get lost?
Getting lost is pretty rare. By lost we don't mean you know you're a couple miles off route. We mean that you have no idea where you are. We will include maps and a cue sheet in the registration packet. The full route is marked with Dan Henry's. Dan Henry's will be spray painted on the road and show which direction to go at an intersection. Bring your smartphone and ride with a buddy if you don't feel confident in following the Dan Henry's.
Is it safe to travel by bicycle?
Cycling is an inherently dangerous activity, but we will make this ride as safe as possible. Organizers preview and research the route beforehand to check for dangerous roads like high traffic or construction. In an emergency always call 911. There is a first aid kit in each SAG vehicle designed with cycling and road rash in mind. It is not a $10 kit from Walgreens, but it is not a military field kit either. Call the SAG vehicle and they will assist you as soon as possible. Also, there are usually several riders who are CPR/First Aid Certified.
How much will I need to spend on bike gear?
A helmet and water bottle are required. Cycling shorts are highly recommended. Pro tip: don't wear underwear in conjunction with cycling shorts.
What other expenses should I expect to incur?
Mostly lunches. There will be other opportunities to support the local economy. We will ride by the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. Most years, a group will go see a movie, and many nights there will be a group in search of ice cream.
How much money should I bring?
How much do I need to fundraise?
$75 for each day you participate.
I loved Cover Indiana, but it's already over! What else can I do?
There are volunteering opportunities with your local Habitat affiliate. There is a handful of other rides that many Cover Indiana riders have done as well.