Message From the President – 2018…The Year in ReviewBy JW Haupt
With 2018 coming to a close, I started to think about 2018 from a Club perspective.
I’d like to think we had a very good year and here are a few reasons why…
We moved our online registration for membership and the four major events from Active.com to BikeReg.com. We are pleased with how well the transition went and how seamless it was to the registrants. The Club had been receiving complaints from members and participants over the past few years regarding issues with the Active platform, so we began to consider a move to another provider. Many of us were already members of BikeReg through our participation in other events, so it was an easy choice to make. So far, we have yet to receive any complaints!
Speaking of membership, we topped out this year at 333 registered members. The demographic breakdown is as follows: 117 women (36%) and 209 men (64%)… I assume that seven did not select one of the options. The greatest concentration of members is in the Newark, Bear, and Wilmington areas. You’ll be happy to know that membership fees for Single and Family registration will remain at the reduced rate of $15 and $20 respectively for 2019.
Partnering with Athlos we designed a new custom Club kit this year. Bright and colorful, taking advantage of the colors in the Club’s logo, we developed a full line of apparel and accessories for Club members to purchase. Shorts, bibs, jerseys, vests, jackets, arm, leg and knee warmers, and even a cycling cap were all offered in various cuts in women’s and men’s specific fit. Since we are buying them directly from the manufacturer we are getting the top quality gear at a discounted price. Going forward, the apparel and accessories will be offered for a 2-3 week window 2-3 times per year. Once the window closes it takes 3-4 weeks before the ordered items are manufactured and shipped directly to the buyer via overnight shipping. (Look for the next window to open February/March)
Now Accepting Plastic
We have moved to accepting credit cards and debit cards at our four major events: Icicle, Doublecross, Shorefire and Savage. We began by offering the option to pay with plastic (using the Square payment processing system) at the Doublecross this year and it proved to be both welcomed and problem-free. As a result, we quietly offered it again at the Shorefire and then at the Savage. We did not advertise this option, as we were still developing processes and procedures on the fly, but there was little for us to do except swipe a card, allow the registrant to sign and offer the option for an email receipt. We are happy to see that there weren’t any delays in Registration caused by this new process, so we will continue to offer the option to use plastic and will publicly advertise this in our event information going forward as a convenience for event participants.
Communication and Social Media
Over the course of 2018, we made an effort to better communicate with membership and the public in general. More blogs were posted on the web page and via social media through the use of Facebook and Twitter. We made a conscious effort to post more information leading up to events and happenings to make the cycling community aware of what the Club as involved in and real time during events to heighten the interest of our membership. If you have any suggestions on how we could better serve you, please share your suggestions with me or our Publicity Chair, Barb Gallagher.
We were fortunate again this year with leading very safe rides. Although the goal this year, as it has been for prior years, is to have all of our rides be accident-free, we did have a few reported injuries and accidents. We hope to learn from this year and, with your help, will strive to lead accident-free rides in 2019.
Our Ride Captain, Carol Bassett, trained two groups of new Ride Leaders in 2018. Four members received training in April (Brian Albin, Trevor Freburger, Patrick Karani, and David Wilson) and another five in June (Barb Gallagher, Jay Gallagher, Peter Murray, Andie Tauson, and Ed Weirauch). Thanks go out to those nine and as well as all of the other Ride Leaders for making the commitment to you and the Club to lead Club rides. If you would like to be a Ride Leader, please feel free to contact Carol Bassett or me for more information.
Hunt Calendars, our Ride Calendar host, has offered a mobile friendly update to their online ride calendar. Hunt was offering a test version in September, so I assume that they have worked out all of the bugs by now. If you are a mobile device user (tablets, smart phones, etc.), you may want to consider installing the app on your device for those times when you don’t have access to a computer but need access to the Ride Calendar!
Hosts for Out of Town Club
In March, I received an email from Anne Hyman, VP of Special Events of the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club. Their Club was booking a weekend in north Wilmington and asked if we could suggest some safe roads in the area for rides. They were planning this multi-day event for mid-August, arriving mid-day Friday and heading back to the DC area mid-day Sunday. When I reached out to some of the Ride Leaders in the north Wilmington area for suggested routes, Bill Ebbott stepped up and volunteered to plan routes for them to follow and to lead them on Friday and Saturday rides. Bill enlisted the help of Deanna Cain and Reasheed Mykoo to help lead the group on Friday and Saturday and I volunteered to lead them on a flat ride out of Delaware City that Sunday. The response from the Potomac Pedalers was nothing but glowing: “First I’d love to say that your club members are not just exemplary riders, but impeccable ride leaders and gracious hosts. We have had such a lovely weekend thanks to Bill, Deanna, and Reasheed. Our members have had nothing but amazing things to say about them and the area and the rides. You should be very proud of your club members for what wonderful people and cyclists they are.” Thanks go to Bill, Deanna, Reasheed for representing the Club in such an amazing way!
Our four major fund raising events (the Icicle, Doublecross, Shorefire and Savage rides) were a success this year. Weather and temperatures were favorable for all four events making attendance higher than in the recent past. Profits collected from these events become donations to cycling-related non-profits and we are thankful that we had such a strong showing of support for all events this year. We hope that you are making plans to support the events in 2019 and have marked your calendar for the Icicle (April 13), Doublecross (June 29), Shorefire (August 10), and Savage (September 14 or 21 – TBD).
In closing, I hope that you had a successful year of cycling. I hope that you reached goals you set for yourself and that you are considering new goals for 2019. I hope that you will continue to join us on our Club-led rides, support the Club by participating in our fund raising events, and even consider becoming more involved with the Club as a volunteer (we are always looking for members with new ideas). And most of all, I hope that you participated in some rides that made you feel like a kid again.
Enjoy your ride and be safe out there!