The club sent out a survey with a single question in November 2021 to see if there was one main thing that the members thought would improve the club. When the committee reviewed the responses, no two suggestions were the same, so no key issue was identified but we received a couple more after that. All the questions and committee comments, including extracts from personal replies, are listed below.
This is what we already do. Winter rides, especially on the red run, stay closer to home at their most distant point and generally have options to shorten the ride by missing a section out.
Well of course! Trying to achieve this with rides led by men isn’t going to work. All-female Breeze rides may be enough to build up confidence and enthusiasm to join. If we have a woman who is prepared to try, we will support you as we have in the past.
Edited version of response sent:
On club promotion, we have to work within a time and monetary budget like any marketing team. Our key channels are the website, Facebook and word of mouth. Anybody searching for a cycling club in our area will find us unless they don’t have a phone or computer. These are backed up with club kit, car stickers, Twitter and Instagram; we don’t do as much on those channels but enough to be found by people who are looking. We have used hard copy marketing collateral in local bike shops in recent years but the incremental return on time and investment was very low. We are not opposed to posters, leaflets or cards but would rather spend the money on member benefits like gifts and socials which we plan to do more of in 2022. Likewise, we would rather spend time planning routes and events.
On member benefits, the committee has had reservations about promoting one shop over another – it would be best to be thorough, which is challenging. However, members wearing the club kit get a 10% discount at The Hummingbird (not applicable to our Xmas Lunch). Members also receive 10% off Velosure insurance and 12% off sales and service at South Downs bikes in Goring, Broadwater and Storrington. We used to have deals at Quest in Broadwater and the Bike Store in Worthing but both of those have closed down. We also had an agreement at Giant in Shoreham until they started trying to get their own club going.
Very kind. It’s not bad is it?
This topic also came up on 13th December after our review was complete and 7th January, the day our summary went out. As a result this is the only topic that was eventually mentioned more than once.
Our risk assessment for club rides advises the use of mudguards, when possible, when the weather is wet or roads are bad. Although some riders find the lack of mudguards annoying, it is not regarded as a high risk issue for anyone wearing cycling glasses – which we also advise.
The topic has been discussed at length and it was decided that a blanket requirement would be unworkable as it would exclude too many riders. Clipping mudguards to some bikes is practically impossible and many of the fixed and temporary solutions really only protect the owner rather than anyone behind.
If a regular ride leader decides that mudguards are a requirement on their rides then this will happen as it used to on the black run training rides.
If a club member is prepared to set up a mudguard-only ride then we can also support this although it will risk having some very small groups in wet weather which is never our aim.
A ride leader can also ask riders without mudguards to stay behind those who have them. This won’t happen on Red Runs where it is our intention to be as inclusive as possible and share the workload on the front.
We have been running successful Sunday rides for over 100 years. We attempt to keep to the best combination of quiet roads and decent surfaces with the surfaces being more critical in winter. Riders, like any road users, participate at their own risk, but are safer in a group due to visibility, shared knowledge, shared effort, published routes and not being alone when things go wrong.
Our risk assessment for club rides is available now but will not have any major impact on the club run experience.
The Blue Run group does have some Saturday rides during summer and midweek get togethers year round. Any club member who wants to become a ride leader can propose a ride and lead it but they need to commit to regular attendance to make it work. Our main leaders have family commitments and some also ride with VC Jubilee on Saturdays so we provide what we can, but anyone is welcome to step up.
On the mechanical and app knowledge. We used to provide this at the AOAC but attendance was very poor so it was discontinued.
Edited version of personal response:
Normally, we have an AGM where decisions are made, committee members are nominated, suggestions made and issues raised. We moved away from formal meetings due to terrible attendance and combined the AGM with a prize-giving lunch. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been possible for 2 years due to COVID but any member can make a suggestion whenever they like and they will be discussed.
The decisions most likely to inconvenience riders are late cancellations of TTs, CX Training and club runs. With one exception in 2021, these are only ever for safety or legal reasons (e.g. lockdown).
A version of the AGM will be held after the rides on 24th April 2022.
Slots for CTT events are booked long in advance and the police are notified. One of the reasons is to stop TTs clashing with each other but clashes with other events are unavoidable. We have the same issue with our Hill Climb and CX. We do the best we can but are part of a wider TT schedule. The pragmatic view is that most riders will favour one discipline over another but it’s a shame that this inconveniences some all-rounders.