If you love being on Hash weekends and want to see them continue then you should seriously start thinking of being a hare some time in the coming year. For "virgins" the idea of haring might seem daunting, however it's actually very straight forward and intuitive. Haring also gets you out on your mountain bike and is a great way to experience more of the beautiful rural Thailand that is found just outside of Bangkok!
It's easy to find a location even if it is your first time being a Hare, simply contact the trail master and he can give you lots of suggestions. There is a large archive of places where Hashes have already been run and the trail master can help you choose a location that's right for you. Once you've found a resort, the main part of haring is simply getting out on your bike and riding! If you are short on experience or time, it's easy to find support from other hashers. On the day of the ride it's fun to lay the paper trail, especially, setting those tricky checks and amusing U-turns! It's important to do the food well, and so we have a detailed buy-list and menu to make it as fool-proof and as easy as possible.
Everyone who has ever hared will tell you there's a great sense of accomplishment that comes with haring, and honestly, no one has ever said they didn't enjoy being a hare. It's a rewarding way to give back something to the Bangkok Hash House Bikers. As a token to help re-imburse hares for the expenses they have incurred recce-ing etc. the Hash gives the hare team B5,000.
- Talk to the trail master first for help in finding a good location.
- The limit to the number of Hares is three people (four, as long as one is a new hare), but there is a lot of support available. An 'old hand' can help you out with your first recce, and you can use as many people as you want to help you scout trails.
- If you don't have a GPS (and it makes setting the rides much easier), someone can lend you one and show you how to use it.
- If you don't have transportation don't let that stop you! Ask the trail master for information about hiring a van. You can fit 7 people and bikes in a van that costs only 1600 – 2000 baht per day. This means you can get a group of people to help you, while keeping your costs to a minimum.
- The Trail Master can provide you with lots more useful advice and inspiration, and will certainly allay any concerns you might have about haring!
1. Plan and Volunteer (2-12 months in advance)
Select a month when you would like to be the Hare and volunteer. You will have plenty of time to think of where your Hash will be after you’ve sobered up. Alternatively give the trailmaster a call or send an e-mail with the good news. Find out who he is in the committee listing.
Usually the Hash is held on the last weekend of the month, but if this isn’t convenient for you or the last weekend is a long weekend and accommodation will be hard to get then you can nominate another weekend.
To choose your Hash location, either think of somewhere you’ve been before on a Hash or somewhere you think would be a good place to hold a Hash, and you’ve started the ball rolling. You may already have a favourite route that you use between Hashes – great, do that as a Hash! Try not to arrange a Hash in the same location too soon after a previous Hash was held there.
One-way rides (with transport back) and ferry crossings etc. sound exciting but are almost impossible to arrange for 100 or so bikers. Keep it simple, especially if this is the first Hash you've set.
A Hash weekend is too much work for one person to arrange on their own, so coerce your buddy or partner to help you. Both of you should do the recces so if anything happens the other person knows enough to lay the trail on the day.
2. Make Initial Contact with the Hotel (2-6 months in advance)
Find a hotel/resort for the accommodation. Besides the accommodation you need an area where the pack can assemble before and after the ride. Hashers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but to most Hashers an ideal resort charges B1,200-B1,500 for a room per night and has cheap beer. When the hotel gives you their rate try to haggle the price down by promising a large number of rooms and the likelihood of repeat visits by lots of rich farangs. Tell the hotel that there will be 50+ people for dinner on the Saturday night. Details of the dinner can be arranged later. A late checkout on Sunday is essential (preferably 3pm, but 2pm might be OK if the Sunday trail isn't too long). If they are reluctant point out that most Hashers will probably check out earlier anyway.
You will need to pre-book about 30-40 rooms. Hotels differ a lot in how they handle this. Some will want you to put down 50% deposit on the rooms while others will keep the reservation with no deposit. If possible go for the latter, and try to get the hotel to accept Hasher’s bookings direct. It’s a lot of extra work to manage all the hotel accommodation yourself.
Reserve and pay for one room for the mechanic(s). You can reclaim the money from Hash Cash.
3. Plan a Trail (1 week to 3 months in advance)
A trail is what all the Hashers follow. Your job is to set the trail, to do this you will have to go and ‘recce’ (explore) the area. You can do your first recce without leaving home, by reviewing the area using Google Earth to look for likely trails. You might even be able to look at the Google Earth image offline when you have returned to the resort after your recce. Test this at home first. A GPS of some sort is an invaluable aid when recce-ing the trail. Another great source of information is Strava Heat Map, which can show you where people are riding in a given area. Keep in mind that it does not differentiate between road and mountain bike rides though.
- 3.1. Go to your chosen location several times in advance of the Hash (i.e. a few months or weeks before). Unless you know the area well, you will probably have to visit a few times before you have a complete trail.
- 3.2. Once there, get your bike out of or off the car. (It really is this simple) If you have maps of the area have a look at them before you set out. If not find look out for landmarks as you ride. Tricky bit - Get on the bike and start to pedal.
- 3.3. Pick out a landmark to circum-navigate, decide whether you are going to do a clockwise or anti clockwise route. Compasses are useful; GPS even better but general awareness of direction and distance are great. Once out and about ride down tracks, trails, single-track and roads (not too many) and hopefully they'll lead you to more tracks, trails, single-track and roads. Do not expect to have your trail sorted out after your first visit. You start a trail by exploring and checking where other routes go, sometimes you will be frustrated as one part of your trail may not link to another part of your trail and you will wonder how to link A to B but eventually as your knowledge of the area increases, amazingly it will all come together and you will have your trail. Locals will usually help out too – don’t be afraid to ask them (they probably know bugger all about the area they’ve lived in for 75 years but you never know, maybe, just maybe, they’ll know of a secret goats trail unexplored for 15 years). When you hit a dead end use it, throw it in as ‘U turn’ or ‘false trail’ – you will need plenty of these to slow the fast riders down, so put plenty into your trail. Pretty soon you've found a route, either remember it or make a few notes as you're going round. Some people even tie coloured string to trees at useful or important junctions.
- 3.4. Aim to make the Saturday ride 30-40km and Sunday ride 20-20km. You might need an odometer on your bike in order to know the distance (B1,000 from Probike), or use one of the many mobile apps to record your rides. On the 30km side if lots of checks, hilly, sandy or waterlogged and a longer distance if fewer checks, flat area, using roads, etc. Lots of checks lead to longer rides.......... Try to keep most checks to the first half because by the second half of a long ride people are generally knackered. The Sunday ride should be suitable for children.
IMPORTANT. Keep the Out route well away from the In route! THE GOLDEN RULE OF SETTING A HASH IS THAT IF IT CAN GO WRONG THE HASHERS WILL CERTAINLY MAKE IT GO WRONG! Even experienced Hashers have witnessed the pack of Hashers missing huge parts of the ride or doing the second half of the ride first. On another Hash the pack all finished in 40 minutes having mistakenly picked up the In route which was a very short distance away from the Out route we should have been following! This is especially true of checks, as riders will be fanning out 500m (or more) in all directions. So beware.
4. Plan the Hash Weekend (1-2 months ahead)
On the way to recce your Hash, measure out the directions to the location using your car’s odometer and prepare directions for Hashers to follow getting to the ride. A month or so before your ride send all the details to the On-Sec and Webmaster. There contact details are in the committee listing. Have a look at the announcement of previous rides to see what information is needed. Decide on a start time – 1:00pm is favourite, as this gives people time to drive from Bangkok and have a quick lunch before the ride starts. The Sunday ride always starts at 10:00am.
Get some sacks of shredded paper, a few bags of flour and some chalk. You’ll need about 3 big garbage bags of paper (a bit compressed). For example: talk to the cleaning ladies in your office to keep it for you. Don’t forget to account for the space it takes in your car when you need to bring it to the hash! If you don’t have a ready supply ask around the other Hashers.
5. Arrange Details with the Hotel (3-4 weeks ahead)
Get the hotel buffet dinner booked for the Saturday evening – 7:30 or 8:00pm is a good starting time. Choose the food from the hotel’s choices. Don’t go for the cheapest fare otherwise the Hashers will moan - a typical charge is B300 per person. Make sure the proposed menu includes some vegetarian food (otherwise they'll moan). A good idea is to ask the hotel to use a ticket system for paying for the dinner. Ensure that they will have a good supply of large bottles of beer. Recommend they collect cash for the beer as it is served, otherwise it gets very complicated with the bills.
Food suitable for vegetarians includes:
- Sweet and sour vegetables with cashew nuts,
- Phad Thai, no shrimps (good with the bean sprout and peanuts for protein),
- Green curry with veggies (no protein, but tasty),
- Phad Siew with veggies,
- Khao Phad Medmamuang,
- Fried rice dishes with vegetables/ eggs/ cashew nuts/ peanuts,
- Som tam without shrimps,
- Kang Chuut Tofu - the clear soup with greens and tofu,
- Tofu Phad Met Mamuang (Tofu stir fried with cashews),
- Tofu Phad Prik Thai Dam (Tofu stir fried with black peppers),
- Tofu Laad Prik (Tofu with Chili Sauce),
- Het Phad Khing On (Mushroom stir fried with tender ginger),
- Phad Phak Khana (Stir Fried Kale Greens),
- Phad Kraphow (Anything with basil and chilli),
- Mama/Kuay Tiew Phad Khee Mao (Noodles with basil & chilli),
- Tom Yam Chae
Also ask the hotel to provide the following on both Saturday and Sunday:-
An urn of cold water an hour before the rides.
Two tables for the food.
At least two large iceboxes with ice for the beer and softees. The ice boxes should have lids which can be locked with a padlock so they can be locked by Hash Piss after the cricle is over. Often the resort will provide this free, but if they don't check the price in advance - it should cost a few hundred baht.
Some riders drive to the resort on Friday evening, so make sure the restaurant will be serving food until 9 or 10pm for the late arrivals.
Check out the alternative accommodation in the area for the people who book after the chosen hotel is full – all you will need to find out will be hotel's name, address, contact details and price (Hashers book themselves the alternative accommodation).
Send an e-mail to Hash Piss and Hash Softee reminding them of the date and location of the ride. Check to see if they are bringing ice boxes. The Brits won't complain if the beer is warm but the French and Germans will give you flack. Usually there is no problem, but if they say they can't come contact the GM to arrange an alternative - you'll have enough to worry about on the day without worrying about drinks!
6. Buy the After-Run Food (1 day ahead)
The beer will be brought by Hash Piss and soft drinks by Hash Softee, but you buy and bring the food. Because of the large volume it would be expensive at Villa or Foodland, but you can buy what you need at Tesco Lotus, Big C or Makro. Keep the receipts and claim the money back from Hash Cash. You can keep the ham and cheese in the fridge in your room. Bring a couple of sharp knives to cut up the vegetables, and three or four large plates to put them on. Typically food should cost you less than B10,000 but gear it towards the number you expect at your hash and err on the side of making sure that everyone gets fed. If you expect the food to be more than this check with the GM first. Also, if you are paying for assistance such as a support vehicle from the resort or labour to clear a trail check with the GM before you commit to the expensditure.
You can estimate the number of riders expected as follows. On Saturday it will be about one and a half times the number of rooms, and on Sunday about equal to the number of rooms. So a week before the ride check with the resort, and if they say they've got 65 rooms booked provide food for 100 riders on Saturday and 65 riders on Sunday.
A typical shopping list for 100 riders on Saturday and 65 on Sunday is:-
- Bread - about 550 slices. Small loaves contain about 14 slices and big ones 20 or so slices. Mainly brown.
- Cheese 240 slices (However, buying block chess and grating it is cheaper. So, a combination of grated cheese and cheese slices is a nice alternative if possible.)
- Ham 240 slices
- Crisps 30 tubes or large bags (no small individual bags please)
- Mustard 4 bottles
- Mayo 6 jars
- Cucumbers, tomatoes and onions: a couple of big bags of each.
- Tuna 35 tins
- Plastic knives 1 pack
- Paper plates 2 packs
- Napkins 2 packs
- Large rubbish sacks 1 pack.
7. Set the Trail (6 hours ahead)
You and your co-hare need to get to the hotel on Friday so you can go out and lay the trail first thing on Saturday morning. The earlier you set off on Saturday the cooler it’ll be. Do not underestimate how long it will take you to ride the full length of your trail on the morning of your Hash, putting down the paper, flour and chalk. Get up and out there early.
Hares use shredded paper to mark the trails. Flour and chalk are also useful. Please don't use paint as it stays for years and looks as unsightly as discarded plastic bags. Instead make chalk marks where they won't get rubbed out by the passing traffic.
You will have to carry a bag stuffed with your shredded paper. Pack the paper tight to fit a lot in a small space. Carry flour in empty water bottles (easy to carry and to pour from) – having lots of flour with you is very useful (but susceptible to getting washed away if it rains). Generally, the paper is laid every 100m or so, and may be hidden from direct view. It should always be on the left side of the trail. Each blob of paper needn’t be big – if each blob is twice as big as necessary you need to carry twice as much paper round. As you’re laying the paper consider whether the Hashers will be able to follow it – nothing too clever nor too simple.
Your aim as Hare should be to set a trail that is interesting, challenging, scenic, have a few surprises and the trail should if possible aim to make everybody ride close together and finish together. As this is virtually impossible to achieve due to the varying fitness levels of the Hashers, the way that it is done is by setting ‘Checks’, ‘U-turns’ and ‘false trails’ to slow down the FRB’s (front riding bastards) thereby allowing the average rider to catch up.
'Checks' occur along the trail as a cross made with shredded paper or flour. The purpose of a check is to slow the FRB’s down and allow the rest of the pack to catch up. Set your next paper somewhere within a 500m radius of the check and lay a lot of paper at the first clump of paper after check so the check can be 'broken' by the FRBs.
U-turns and false trails. These are largely the same and are placed solely for the benefit of the FRB’s. The difference between a U-turn and a false trail is that the U-turn is an obvious instruction to the riders to turn around and look for the paper from where they came, whilst a false trail just disappears and keeps the FRB’s guessing for longer –YES!
If it possible for the riders to get confused on the trail (happens a lot) or even to take the wrong trail, then point them in the right direction by use of arrows (in flour tends to be best). As you are recceing your trail, you should be always thinking of good places for a check (usually where there’s lots of trails crossing), U-turns and false trails. Don’t forget that you can also lay ‘Back-checks’ – i.e. the paper recommences again back in the direction you’ve just come from.
8. Water Stops
Provide one or two water stops along the route (more than two stops complicates the ride, though it is good if there are shops along the route where riders can top-up if necessary). Usually, the Hares indicate a shop where the riders can purchase drinks and snacks. The hares will try to make sure that the riders have access to water but that is the end of their responsibility.
Mark the water stop with ‘H2O’ or ‘Water’ on the ground so that the riders don’t shoot past. Arrange your water stop shopkeeper to have enough COLD drinks for us. Typically allow 1.5 bottles of water per rider and one bottle of electrolyte. If no shops are available, think about a mobile waterstop: ask a local shop (or the resort) if they can drive out with their pickup truck. Always get phone number of the shops you want to use!
As a last resort you can set up your own waterstop, but this is a lot of work at a time when you will already be busy.
9. The Saturday Ride
While the Hashers are paying Hash Cash look around for people who aren’t going on the ride, and try to talk them into cutting up the salad.
At roll-off time the GM will call a circle and you should give the riders an idea of what to expect - total distance, distance to the water stop, any special hazards such as unrideable sections, shortcuts for wimps. It is also good to volunteer your phone number so any riders with problems can call you.
After the pack has set off make your way to the water stop to greet them, help any distressed riders and send them on their way for the second half of the ride.
After the pack has left the water stop return to the hotel and put out the food. Don't put out all the food for that day at first, as it will all be gone by the time the stragglers arrive back. Instead put out about two thirds, and put the remaining third out after most of the pack is already back.
10. The Sunday Ride
Repeat steps 7. and 8. above.
Ok now volunteer your services to Hare a Hash in the upcoming months!!!