To anyone coming along on recent rides, it’s apparent that the club’s continued growth (we have doubled in size since the AGM to 174 members) has put a lot of pressure on the club rides, the ride leaders and cafes we stop at, e.g. we had almost fifty riders on this weekend’s Saturday Gentle Cafe Ride and Sunday’s Intermediate Ride. Considering the weather and time of year this is a truly exceptional turnout.
The large groups have become almost unmanageable on the road which pose a significant risk to complying with the duty of care requirements placed on the club and even with advance notice we are often swamping the cafes who just cannot cope with a large influx of hungry and thirsty riders and not to mention the secure, off-road storage of 25+ bikes. We’ve also had to stop using some of our favourite stops due to the large groups.
So it’s clear something has to change and change quite quickly as all indications suggest the membership will continue to grow in 2018. With this in mind, a lot of work has recently taken place behind the scenes to ensure the improvements we must implement are feasible, practicable and non-disruptive.
I recently invited a group of members to help the club by becoming ride leaders and was greatly warmed by the positive response I received. We then held a meeting of both existing and future ride leaders to discuss the next steps, what options we have in terms of our rides and where the club will be heading. Here’s the plan:
– the creation of a new Intermediate Ride each Saturday which will start on Dec 2nd. It will leave Broadribb Cycles at 10am for 35 miles at 15mph, taking in a coffee stop along the way. The goal of this new ride is to take the pressure off the Gentle Café Ride which does attract a lot of Intermediate calibre riders, allowing it to revert to its original intention whereby it’s more suited to new or less-experienced riders.
– the creation of a second Intermediate Ride each Sunday starting from 11th March at 9am. The reason for its introduction is to act as more of a bridge to the Fast Ride, the existing 10am Intermediate Ride is insufficient in terms of pace and distance. The new ride will follow the route of that day’s Fast Ride but at 15-16mph and departing a couple of minutes afterwards. This allows riders to start with the Fast Ride if they want to experience a faster pace and then drop back to meet the Intermediate Ride.
A by-product of starting the new rides at the same time as an existing ride will allow a broader spread of members to meet and gives a visible route and target towards personal progression.
In addition to these two new rides, there may be scope for the introduction of a Sunday Gentle Café Ride in the warmer months of 2018, but we will make that decision after determining if the changes I’ve outlined above are working.
We are beginning to see just how popular cycling in this area is and should be proud that we have a great club that attracts new members due to the efforts of so many volunteers. My thanks go out to the new leaders who have answered my call to arms and to the existing small band of ride leaders who have taken on so much this year getting us to this point and who can now enjoy a well-earned rest in the group rather than having to be at the front each and every week.
Thank you for your time in reading this, my inbox is always open to new suggestions, comments and feedback regarding any ideas that make club life even better.