It’s a new year and warm weather is right around the corner…at least, I hope it is. I know that Phil from Punxsutawney “predicted” that Spring was six weeks away, but the weather since his February 2nd showing has been much milder than I thought February winter temperatures would be if Spring was a month-and-a-half away. As a rider and a ride leader, I’m looking forward to the regularity of our scheduled weekly rides – those daytime, evening, and weekend rides with my cycling buddies around which I plan my week. I assume that you are all looking forward to the same and I hope to see some familiar faces (along with some new ones this year).
Change is in the air and the White Clay Bicycle Club is transforming with the coming of Spring. Wesley Stafford has stepped down as Club President after two-and-a-half successful years. Wes stepped into the role of President, from Vice President, when, Cindy Mannis (our Club President at the time) found the climate in Florida to be much more to her and her husband’s liking. It was a surprise to all of us and I commend Wes for assuming the role without hesitation. I want to take a moment to thank Wes for his years of service as both Vice President and President and I hope that if you see Wes on one of our rides (or on one of his local runs), you thank him for his efforts on behalf of all of us.
I mentioned that this will be a year of change for the Club. Not only has your Club President changed, but so have several Executive Committee positions. Membership, Shorefire, and Safety & Education – along with Icicle Coordinator and Social Chair – have all changed hands. If you were at the Annual Banquet on Saturday (February 25th), you would have heard that Dwight Siers will be the Membership Chair, Kevin Tumey will be the Shorefire Coordinator, and Mike Katz has assumed the role of Safety & Education Chair. In late 2016, to fill positions that were open at the time, Brian Donovan accepted the role of Icicle Coordinator and Charlie Johnston agreed to serve as Social Chair. Thanks goes out to each new Committee member for volunteering and to the other Committee members for staying on for another year: Joe Bockrath as Treasurer, Mike Kealey as Ride Captain, Dianne Leipold as Doublecross Coordinator, and Allison Wong as Webmaster. Please see the Executive Committee page on the website for a complete list of filled positions as well as the three open positions I am confident will be filled soon.
In addition to changes on the Executive Committee, I have some changes on which I will be focusing my attention during my tenure as President. My goal is to put my attention and emphasis on you, the Club members, and on giving back to the membership. I have the unique opportunity to promote the joy of riding while focusing on rider safety and the community aspect of the Club, and I want to make you the emphasis of my efforts.
Giving back and having Fun
Over the course of any given year, the Club collects membership dues and fees for our four major events (Icicle, Doublecross, Shorefire and Savage). The money that we collect goes toward operating expenses (insurance for members, insurance for the Executive Committee, event costs, etc.) with a significant portion going to support cycling-related non-profits that are suggested and supported by members of the Club. In a change of pace, I want to turn some of that attention and some of those funds back to the membership and one of the ways in which I think we can achieve that is through sponsored contests. Yes, contests! Detailed information will follow, but I am proposing several contests that involve (i) investigating the roadside history of Delaware, (ii) a scavenger hunt, (iii) a photo contest, and (iv) a mileage contest. The winners will receive prizes that are sponsored by local bike shops or by the Club. We want to make things fun and engaging and begin to bring the Club together as a larger community and I believe this is one way to entice members to be involved with Club activities. Participation in these contests is for members only, so if you haven’t renewed your membership, don’t delay!
For those that participate in our Club-led rides, I hope that you will see some changes that will make for a safer experience. As you may have noticed, as the interest in cycling is on the rise so is attendance at quite a few of our rides. Ride Leaders are tasked with the responsibility of shepherding the riders around safely from start to finish and they do an admirable job in doing so. As the groups get larger, it becomes more difficult for the Ride Leaders to control the groups and rider safety becomes a concern. What I want to do is afford the Ride Leader the option to break these large groups into smaller groups, making it easier for the Ride Leader to control the group and making it safer for the participants within the group. To do this, we need more new Ride Leaders and the current Ride Leaders to take a more active role to help on the rides. Anyone interested in becoming a Ride Leader, please contact your Ride Captain, Mike Kealey (firstname.lastname@example.org). Mike has training scheduled for Saturday, March 11, so don’t delay in letting him know that you’re interested because space is limited. And Ride Leaders, if you have riders in your groups that who you feel have the qualities to be a Ride Leader, reach out to them, let them know how you feel about them, and suggest that they attend the Ride Leader training.
Web site Enhancements (with Allison Wong’s help)
The digital age continues to prompt and force change in our everyday lives. The Club has two historical means of communicating with members: the website and the Listserve. In the past, the website has been a repository of historical information with some current information posted here and there. What I want to do is enhance our website so that is becomes a focal point of the members for historical and current information, as well as a hub for the daily operations of the Club and its members. I want it to become a place where members can go to post questions, get help, share information, buy/sell/trade bike gear, etc. There have been complaints over the years as to how the Listserve is being used, including complaints about mass mailings becoming online conversations involving the mailboxes of everyone, whether or not they have an interest in the conversation, and blocking out beneficial notifications in the process. In addition, some email servers block our Listserv all together, preventing members from getting any kind of news from the Club. The Listserve also previously served the purpose of notifying members of Club rides, but with the continued use and development of our online Ride Calendar, this is no longer necessary. We are evaluating the need for the Listerve and what other options are available to us. In reviewing possible website developments, I am assessing the creation of a Buy/Sell/Trade section where members (only) can post about bikes and bike gear in posts that can be perused by the members and the public. Another possible enhancement is online blogs by members as a means of sharing information with the membership, possibly being the next evolutionary stage of the Tailwind. Lastly, I have talked with our webmaster about making a portion of the website “members only” with members-only content housed behind a privacy “wall,” of sorts. As we flesh out these ideas, I will provide more detail to all of you.
In closing, I’d like to take a moment to give you a bit of background about me, my involvement with the Club, and why I feel my job as President is to turn our attention back to the membership. I have been involved with the WCBC since 2007, a member since 2011, and a more active member beginning in 2013. During that time, I have thoroughly enjoyed my years of involvement as a member, a Ride Leader, and a member of the Executive Committee. In my years with the Club, I have been involved with Registration at many of the major ride events, organized the Tuesday/Thursday group rides in Bear, led the MS Training Rides out of People’s Plaza, served as Ride Captain, and worked as your Vice President. I’ve remained an involved member of the Club not only because I enjoy cycling, but because I enjoy the time I get to spend with all of you. And I want to do everything that I can to make your riding experience one that you look forward to each day. What I’m proposing is going to be a lot of work, but I feel that with all the great people that we have in our Club, we will succeed in making our Club even better this year and into the future.