I thought it appropriate to give you all an update as to where we are with things. It is fair to say that we have had a bit of a hiatus, and have had to pause on a few of the things we had planned to try and put in place by this time in the year. The Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) did help in our view clarify the members views on the direction the club had been taking, and the direction the membership wanted the club to take. I can sum that up as a desire to be a broad based club, committed to growth, committed to development, and committed to trying to meet the needs of a wide variety of club member in a club-like manner.
Despite the hiatus, a great deal has carried on as normal. Turn out for all the club rides has been consistently good throughout the last couple of months, even if the face of competition from some of the bigger and most well known sportive events. We have continued getting applications to join, and one of our 1st U18 members has been out for a couple of club rides, which marks an important step in being able to offer safeguarded rides for appropriately experienced 16-18 year olds. We have new kit which for many of us was hand delivered by Harry from Halo Sports, and which seems to have gone well with all, whilst theu continue to expand the range of kit they are producing for us.
The racers have continued to turn out week in and week out: in the core of this Billy Dyer, Mark Cleverley, and our new Race Secretary Pete Hatt; and on top of these guys a group of “occasionals” who are verging on the “regular/enthusiast” rather than occasional !! Jason Whitmarsh also has been a regular on the track racing scene, and by the looks of things has been doing extremely well, whilst doing his level best to cajole more of us into this. Some club members will also know a little of Jack Billyard, who has had to fight through a few extra obstacles to get out and get racing in Italy with Zappis Under 23 Racing Team. If you look up the starting list for the British National Road Championships there is the pretty impressive sight of Jack’s name on the starting list alongside Mark Cavendish & co !! Next major target for Jack looks like being the “Baby Giro” in July, and we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that Jack gets to start this incredible race.
Outside of competitive cycling, the club has continued to be very busy, with many members getting out on a whole variety of sportives, as well as club organised events. Mark Surowiec, the Club Membership Secretary, has just run the club’s first Nocturne out to Bournemouth, with the extremely welcome support of Dave Duxberry and Dan Taylor, without whom the event could not have happened. Watch this space on this one – we think there is a formula here that works, can be improved upon, and is definitely worth returning too…….
So – what next ? Well we will be putting our best efforts into the plan we started off with. That means activities and events designed to meet the wishes of club members, to provide a broad diet of riding activities, to get some social events going, as well as to look at the things that allow a club to further deepen its root. We have co-opted a willing club member to help with the Club Summer Social on Sunday 24th July. We’ve got 22 club members indicating they are coming, and we will need more to be viable. But with a definite plan emerging I hope more of you will feel you want to join us. We would also like to re-energise the artistic and creative energy of a small handful of club members we co-opted into a Marketing Sub Committee, particularly as we have a couple of new club members with directly relevant expertise that we would love to harness. Expect too to see a velodrome trip back on the cards, and possibly a group riding/chaingang training session at Castle Combe. Meantime Pete Hatt is itching to share a host of ideas on developing a racing identity for the club, and to try and secure access to more expert coaching support to those interested/able to commit.
The goal of seeing a club Time Trial up and running, and regular group in DTCC skinsuits earning points for the club does not seem so far off – but we need also to look at circuit racing at the same time and see what interest we can build here.
Ride leadership and safety is something that the committee has been examining ways to improve on. We have talked for sometime about ride leadership, and whilst we respect the view of those club members who “just want to ride my bike”, and see leadership as a responsibility they could do without, without leadership and a sensible approach to it, the club will not be meeting its duty of care on club rides. We are trying to balance the wishes of people who take this view, with those who have expressed a willingness to step up and help, but want clear guidance on how to do this. The view taken by British Cycling is a pragmatic one contrary to popular belief – this is that whilst they recommend the use of their Ride Leader qualification they do not mandate it. What they recommend is the adoption of simple procedures operated by experienced club cyclists to sensibly reduce risks. This is what we are trying to do, but we do need your help in doing it. I would ask that everyone considers 3 main things when we meet for club rides: self selecting into groups of similar pace/ability (this is the surest way of everyone getting what they want from a ride); secondly, offering to support a ride lead as either the “sweeper” or check navigator; and having looked around to find no ride lead…..consider stepping forward and offering yourself !!!! Please watch this space here too
In connection with this point, its worth making a specific rider safety related point – and I speak from the (unfortunate ?) experience of having to be scraped off the tarmac by Thursday’s chaingang crew, followed by a trip to A&E. We operate a rolling risk assessment for all of our ride activities, which we periodically review, and update it for specific “one-off” events such as the Nocturne. A missing jigsaw puzzle piece is an incident register, which we will shortly implement. Having had a number of “off’s” on club rides that I am aware of (2 of them involving me !) in the last 3 months, we do need to look for patterns, and keep our risk assessment closely linked to the incident register. Accidents can and do happen, and it is the nature of the sport that you simply won’t eliminate risk. But there is more we should do, and we need you to be willing contributors to get this right.
Lastly, those of you who attended the EGM, may recall us attempting to try and scoop up a bit of information on you, our club members, specifically: what qualifications/expertise do you have that you think may be of interest to us as a cycling club; secondly what things would you consider putting your time into to help the club. We have n’t yet digested this, and it maybe that we need to come out and try and get similar information from the rest of the club not present at the EGM. But in simple terms, we would like to encourage and support club members who think that they may have an interest in developing formal qualifications for the benefit of the club and cycling. This might be 1st Aid, Level 3 BC coaching, or Ride Leader type qualifications – but it is something that the club can afford to help with thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.
So – we’re going to crack on. Thankyou all for your patience – a busy summer awaits !! Safe riding all !!!