Frequently Asked Questions about the GONG Ride

What is the GONG Ride?
The GONG (Greater Omaha Nighttime Gravel) Ride is self-supported nighttime bicycle ride occurring each summer in the vicinity of Omaha, Nebraska, USA utilizing a majority of unpaved, gravel roads.  Riders may elect a 25 mile or 50 mile route.

When is the GONG Ride?
Sadly, we have canceled the 2020 GONG Ride due to COVID-19 virus concerns. Please check back later for details on 2021 GONG Ride.

Where is the GONG Ride?
Check back later for details on the 2021 GONG Ride.

Do you really have a gong?
Of course. It wouldn't be a proper GONG Ride without a gong.

Can I bring my own gong?
We wish you would. Everyone should have a gong.

Why nighttime?
Why not?

But if you need some fun reasons, here are a few:
  • It's not as hot.
  • No sun glare.
  • No problem if you can't find your sunglasses.
  • You can wear your dirty shirt.  No one will notice.
  • You can see further.  (The stars are zillions of miles away!)
  • You won't see the mosquitoes biting you.
  • That's when the freaks come out.
I heard there is camping. Is there camping?
Yes. Free camping is available Saturday night/Sunday morning. Water and bathrooms are available. Bring your own tent and take out your own trash. Email admin@gongride.com for more information.

Do I need to register?
Preregistering helps us with logistics for parking, prizes, and such.  Preregister via post card and get an extra prize raffle ticket. See the Register page for more info.

What kind of bike should I ride?

A cyclocross bike may work best, but gravel roads can be ridden on other bikes, such as hybrid, commuter, mountain, and road bikes. Do this on a unicycle, and you will be awesome. In short, ride whatever bike give you the most pleasure.

How long is the ride?
We are offering a 25 mile ride and a 50 mile ride. You can change your mind part of the way through and make the ride as long or as short as you want it.

How long will this ride take?
Plan on at least a 10 mile per hour average, including stops. That would make the 50 mile ride last about five hours.

Is this going to be a hilly ride?
Yes. Well, it's no ride through the mountains, but if you're not used to rollers on ungraded prairie farm roads, it's going to seem pretty hilly.

In 2013, the 25 mile ride was 1,080 feet of climbing with a maximum grade of about 7.4% with a handful of 3%-4% grades.

The 50 mile ride was 2,950 feet of climbing with a maximum grade of about 7.4% with several 3%-5% grades.

Compare that to a 20 mile Taco Ride down the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, which is about 730 feet of elevation gain with a fairly steady 2% grade for about half of the ride.

You'll want to exercise caution when descending on the hills. It's easy to reach speeds of 30-40 mph if you're not using your brakes to check your speed. These speeds are not recommended at night, as you'll likely outrun your light.

Will there be any support on the ride?
No. You are on your own. Be prepared to do your own repairs for things like a flat tire, broken chain, dead batteries, and etc. Cyclists are a friendly bunch, and likely someone can help you if you are in trouble, but having the supplies you need, and the knowledge to use them is paramount when you ride out in the country.

What should I bring?
Please bring the following items:
  • A completed and signed Accident Waiver and Release of Liability form.
  • A cue sheet and map. You can download these from the Ride Resources page.
  • A cellphone in case you need to call for help or get separated from the group.
  • A quality bicycle that you know how to ride. Good brakes are must, as the country gravel roads are hilly.
  • Two water bottles. At least. Know how much water you'll need for the distance and weather and bring what you need.
  • Food or snacks in case you get hungry. You should definitely plan to eat something over the course of any 50 mile ride.
  • Supplies to fix a flat tire. The gravel roads can be punishing, especially on skinny tires or under-inflated tires.
    • spare tube
    • patch kit
    • pump and/or CO2 cartridges
    • tire lever(s)
    • tools to remove your wheel and put it back on
  • Lights. And not just a tiny flasher on your handlebars. You'll need a bright light that can last many hours in order to see. The back country roads can be very dark, particularly on a cloudy night. Consider that you'll need to see not only the road in front of you, but street signs, and your cue sheet. The following are required:
    • front white light
    • rear red flasher
    • extra batteries
Do I really need lights?
Yes. You really need lights.

Come on!  I ride without lights all the time.
Don't even show up without a light. You'll die, and that will really spoil it for everyone else.

A waiver? Really? I thought this was supposed to be a fun ride.
Yes. Bummer, we know. It's a necessary evil. To sweeten the deal, you'll get an extra raffle ticket with a completed waiver.

How much does this ride cost?
$0.00. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

Where should I park my car?
See Parking for more information.

What if I want to ride to the ride?
There may be some interest in a ride to the ride from different points around the city. If you want to lead such a ride, please send an email to info@gongride.com or discuss on the Facebook page. Be sure to check the News page and the Facebook page for updates.

Will there be any stops along the way?
At this point, it doesn't seem like there are any convenience stores or restaurants near the route that are open past midnight. There will be many opportunities to stop and regroup as necessary, but please be prepared with all of the food, water, and supplies that you'll need to make the entire ride.

With that said, the past couple of years have found the majority of GONG Riders stopping at bars near the route. These watering hole stops have been well received, so we may try to ensure the 2020 route feature something like that. 

Is this a race?
No. It's a fun ride. However, feel free to challenge your buddies, especially to the top of the next hill. There won't be anyone watching a finish line, so consider using Strava to make your own virtual racecourse, if that's your thing.

Are there any prizes?
Since this isn't a race, there are no prizes for top finishers. However, in the past, we've had some sponsors donate some swag to give away to participants in a drawing. Each participant will receive a prize raffle ticket. Submit a completed waiver, and you'll get one extra ticket. See the Prizes page for more information.

Update for 2020: We were too lazy to arrange for any prizes. Just come and ride.

What if it rains?
Depending on the severity and forecast, we may still ride if it's raining. If we don't ride, we'll try again the following week.  

What if I can't finish the ride?
There will be some attempt to keep the group together, but there are no guarantees. It's also pretty common for smaller subgroups to split off so the fast people can go fast and the slow people go slow. However, don't forget, when it comes down to it, you are responsible for yourself on this ride. If you can't finish, you might opt to take paved roads back into town, or call a friend or relative to come pick you up.