I am pleased to have been elected as Chairman of the Devizes Town Cycling Club and would wish to thank those who voted for me. Many of you will know that I sit in the upper age band of club members and whilst I have ridden bikes since I was a child, I am a recent convert to road cycling and lycra.
I would like to start by thanking the founders of the club for their foresight in identifying a niche and working hard to establish a club that has a good reputation and expanding membership. As I have said several times, I wish they did it years earlier, because had they done so, I may have developed a better ability to climb at something faster than a snail’s pace!
I would also like to thank Paddy Little, the outgoing Chairman and those members of the committee, Andy Harper, Pete Hatt and Sam Little who are standing down. They have all done much, mostly behind the scenes to build on the early success of the Club and take it forward. Equally, I would like to thank Rich Monk and Mark Surowiec who are remaining and welcome Marj MacCallum, Tim Pigott and Graham Townsend to the committee.
I appreciate that the last year has not been without its difficulties and challenges and having spoken to many people with far more experience in being members of and managing clubs than me, I am reassured that our experience is not uncommon. I am pleased that the support from members has continued and numbers have continued to grow with membership currently standing at 107. I am sure this will continue to fluctuate slightly, but the trajectory will be upwards.
Personally, I see that the Club is on a journey and this is an evolutionary process. The development of a five year plan has worked well and I intend to use it as the basis for how we move forward in the coming year. That said, I am receptive to new ideas and suggestions on new initiatives so that we can provide variety and attract new members, but not lose the stable diet of riding, coffee and banter that many of us enjoy so much.
I have had a number of conversations with the often referred to ‘dark side’ of off road riders and have to confess that this is something I do and enjoy (the riding)! It will I am sure come as no surprise to hear me say that this is something I am keen to explore and see whether there is a large enough appetite to arrange off road activities on a regular basis. I would be interested in feedback on this and would thank those members who have offered their services in this regard but would wish to reassure ‘roadies’ that is an option and not obligatory.
I believe the Saturday rides work very well and are very well supported. That said, I think it would be wise to look at all rides to see whether there may be benefits to tweak existing arrangements, but I stress this is purely exploratory. Also, I am keen to enlist the support of volunteers to help and support rides so that we can create more opportunities and spread the workload among the willing volunteers. This would be in support of existing ride programme, but how about weekday riding opportunities as well?
We are very fortunate to have a number of generous sponsors and a healthy bank balance. I am hoping to use some monies to invest in training such as first aid, coaching and ride leadership; as I believe they will enhance and build on our existing foundations in strengthening the club.
I am pleased to say, that whilst we were not able to elect an Events Secretary, I have been approached by Paul Haddrell-forth and Mark Lewis who have offered to help to organize activities and I am grateful for their support. I am keen that we prepare a calendar of events for the coming year so that we all have good notice of what’s going on and when. I would add that if you have any ideas on activities of events you feel we should consider, please do not hesitate to suggest them.
I believe that as a club, we should have positive and constructive relationships with other clubs and I appreciate that healthy rivalry can be positive. In this regard, I intend to engage with and build positive relationships with other local cycling clubs. I am hopeful that such an approach will allow us to develop relationships and arrangements whereby we work so as to be complementary to each other rather than at odds or in conflict.
Finally, I would say that I very much realize that neither I, or the committee have a monopoly on good ideas and you as members probably have significantly more experience and expertise than me/us. In that regard I would encourage you to come forward with ideas and suggestions. Equally, if you feel something will not work or it could be done better, please raise your concern and tell us why- preferably with an alternative suggestion.
Thank you for your support and I look forward to riding and socializing with you during the coming year.