What are we doing wrong?

Discuss anything not covered below.

Moderators: Simon Hemington, Paul Thomson

andymurrayuk
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 7:09 pm

What are we doing wrong?

Postby andymurrayuk » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:46 pm

I was looking at the websites for other local clubs and saw that Berkhamsted - a very young club - posted a picture of the start of a recent club run. I counted at least 35 people, not to mention the riders out of the view of the camera. Maybe this has been asked before, but what are they doing that attracts people, that we're not doing? I think their membership is as big as ours and they did that in less than a year - it's taken us since 1933 to get our membership numbers to roughly the same.

On another note, what ever happened to the new club kit idea? Verulam have had three kits in the last few years, so what's stopping us from updating? I know the thing about registering the kit with British Cycling for racing - though one racer happily used kit older than the current design with no issue - but why not let the racers use the existing kit, whilst everyone else starts looking at a new kit design? I don't think it matters too much that we may have overlapping kit for a while, after all, other clubs must have this issue and get over it. Richard G started things off last year and it's a shame that we can't progress a bit. Maybe people view us as being on old club. Perhaps we need an image shake up to bring us up to date a bit!

User avatar
Paul Thomson
Posts: 1615
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:02 pm
Location: (H) Milton Keynes - (W) Hemel Hempstead
Contact:

Re: What are we doing wrong?

Postby Paul Thomson » Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:52 pm

We're not doing anything wrong.
We regularly get 40+ on clubruns. It should be more I agree, but that is mainly down to the riders pushing the pace too much on the runs. Slow them down and more will come to ride them. Most of the Berko club runs are pretty slow and short. They don't use them to gain or keep fitness or to train for anything (like a future race or sportive!). They are purely the club run and are their social element. Perhaps this is something we have yet to get right, although we have moved on a lot from the 'old days' where we were happy to get 6 to 10 out on a run and more than 15 or so was very rare. At least we now have 4 runs so can cater for many more.

We have roughly 200 members and that number is growing all the time. To say it's taken us since 1933 to get to that number is a little bit disingenuous don't you think? Membership levels of clubs go up and down over time. New clubs often have a big boost soon after starting but then settle down once the newness has faded.. Our club has had pretty steady growth for over 10 years.

The growth of the sport had seen a number of new clubs spring up from all over - even small villages seem to have clubs nowadays. There is room for all of us. They haven't really taken our members, and some are members of several clubs.

As for the kit, clearly those that wanted change haven't followed it through. I would say it is a minority. Just because other clubs change regularly shouldn't mean we have to. That the Verulam have changed twice in 4 or 5 years possibly shows they changed once and got it wrong.

Yes there IS an issue with riders racing and not being allowed to race in the correct current kit. That one rider managed to race a few times in old kit doesn't mean it is allowed or OK. There is no 'get around'. Those that race have to have the correct kit. If it changes then they must get the new kit. There isn't any leeway. And speaking of kit.... the Berko kit is frankly appalling! They couldn't pay me to use it... and not too enamoured by the new Verulam kit either - I preferred the older new kit. Change is not always good.

And there is a certain kudos with being in a very active but old club. New clubs still look up to us with envy. They come to us to see what we are doing to see if they can copy it. They come to us for advice. We are still the kings of the road in West Herts.

Paul
Paul Thomson
Racing Secretary

andymurrayuk
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 7:09 pm

Re: What are we doing wrong?

Postby andymurrayuk » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:34 pm

Interesting response. I know we do a lot of things right in the club and praise should be given to all who contribute to make it successful. What I'm questioning really is what made the members of Berkhamsted and other smaller village clubs, who were clearly interested in joining a club before theirs existed - not want to join Hemel; after all it's only four miles down the road from Berko. If we're the premier club for West Herts, why didn't these people want to join us? We do have good friendly people, we have club runs from social to more serious, we organise races, so what's the missing element that's making people say no to Hemel and, in some cases, create their own club? By the way, 40 at the station for a Hemel club run is a bit optimistic - I think you must be seeing double! I've never, ever, in 10 years of membership ever seen 40!! Maybe 30+ on a good day, but nah, never 40. The club 10 has had 40 though, I'll give you that; however not all of them are club members.

200 members is not bad, but my point is that in 70 years we should have loads more than 200 (am I'm not sure that all of the members are that active, with all due respect). But compare that to Dulwich Paragon who boast a membership of 600! And they're not the only London club, so it's not like they've got a monopoly on London cyclists looking for a club.

Totally agree about the Berko kit - not my cup of tea at all - same for the new Verulam kit really. Then again, it's slightly better than their previous efforts! Now I'm not saying we change because they changed, that wasn't the drift at all. It's just that maybe we need an image revamp that may send out the message that we're a modern evolving club who aren't scared to move forward (maybe a more fashionable new kit) and embrace new cycling trends, but still have an eye on the heritage that we've built up over the last 70 odd years.

User avatar
Paul Thomson
Posts: 1615
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:02 pm
Location: (H) Milton Keynes - (W) Hemel Hempstead
Contact:

Re: What are we doing wrong?

Postby Paul Thomson » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:24 pm

I can't vouch for any specific clubs, but most clubs start out as a group of friends or have a local connection. For the Berko it started from Lovelo Cycles - a new bike shop as I'm sure you know. For other clubs in these small villages is is simply a case of having a local connection - Tring Velo, Ivinghoe Velo and Slapton Wheelers are all based around an original small group that got together to do rides. I don't think that joining another club from a different nearby club was not an option, it just wasn't on their horizon.
It's not unusual for large towns to have more than one club. In Hertfordshire it is rare... but Luton for example has had up to 4 clubs all co-existing and still has 2, plus the new Dunstable Road CC. Milton Keynes has probably 5 clubs. MK is not 5 times the size of Hemel, either in size nor population.

Either way, I am not worried about the new clubs. We can and will happily co-exist and could encourage local happy rivalry - something sometimes missing when a club is dominant.

And if you haven't seen 40+ riders down the station for club runs then I would suggest you are not there often enough. I don't go there that often, especially during the summer when I am quite busy doing lots of other things in the sport, but the days I am there I tend to make a mental note of the numbers and I can assure you it has often exceeded 40, and rarely drops below 30. I am not saying on the poor weather days that there are still throngs there, but I am more than certain the numbers are there.

And yes we can celebrate the fact we have around 200 members, note that 20 years ago we had less than 50. And before 10 years ago we had rarely gone over 100. Forget the fact the club is 82 years old. That's not relevant in the slightest. Of course there are clubs much bigger - there always has. 500-600 is not uncommon. I could name half a dozen of that size. But I could also name dozens that might have a few dozen at best - both new and old clubs. 200 is still a big club.

As for the kit - rumour has it that retro is currently the fashion.... but our current kit is not retro enough for some. They would like us to readopt the kit from the 70's and 80's.
If you hadn't noticed there has been a slight revamp of the kit - subtle change. This started last year and continued this year. But the basic overall design is unchanged. But evolved it has. As I said, those asking for a major change have gone quiet. The club is not against change at all, but the demand for it is lacking. It would have to be a substantial demand for it to be considered.

So... we're still not doing anything wrong.

Paul
Paul Thomson

Racing Secretary

andymurrayuk
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 7:09 pm

Re: What are we doing wrong?

Postby andymurrayuk » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:44 pm

Well, that's two percent of the club's membership who've expressed an opinion here. Wonder what the other 98% thinks. Anyone...?

User avatar
Bernard Lamb
Posts: 115
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:37 am

Re: What are we doing wrong?

Postby Bernard Lamb » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:17 am

Let's up the percentage a bit.
15 years ago there were days when their were very few people out on a Sunday club run. I have turned up at the Station and met 1 other rider.
Numbers had dropped dramatically after a high point in the late 1980s.
We now have a good turn out and have several rides at various ability levels.
There does not seem to be a regular very easy ride for newcomers.
This is an area that the new local clubs do cater for and it does seem to work in getting riders out.
Being retired I meet up with various groups from these clubs during the week. One point I note is that these clubs do communicate with each other and their rides join up from time to time.
For example I rode with a group from at least 3 clubs last week and as the abilities varied greatly and there were 12 people out we split into 2 groups and I took the more experienced group while Verna led the others and we met up at the café stop.
The standard of riding on Hemel club runs does seem to be better than that with some clubs. Down to the leaders and the training course run by Carol to some extent, as briefings do seem to be carried out and riders are prepared to accept a degree of discipline. People are also generally friendly.
Mention of the Verulam leads me to comment that I find them unfriendly of late, as a group. They seldom if ever acknowledge other riders. The standard of riding is not that good and I have seen them several times riding in a group that I would consider far too large for the road conditions and certainly much larger than a Hemel ride leader would accept.
There is always room for improvement but on the whole I reckon we are doing rather well.
Bernard
Bernard Lamb

User avatar
Bernard Lamb
Posts: 115
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:37 am

Re: What are we doing wrong?

Postby Bernard Lamb » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:49 am

Not what we are doing wrong, but a couple of areas where we could improve things.
I mentioned the lack of regular rides for newcomers. This does depend on volunteers coming forward.
Posting of ride information seems to be a bit hit and miss.
Other clubs do provide rather more details of their rides. For example.
http://southbuckscycling.org.uk/rides/aug.pdf
I have arrived at the station when no details have been published and have had to decide which ride to go on and found that others have arrived with a similar open mind and we have finished up doing an in between ride. Sometimes this ride has just been an odd few riders, at other times it has attracted most of those who have turned up for an A or B ride.
I am not suggesting that we need to go to the level of detail that the CTT provide but a regular listing of leaders and rough route outlines would make life easier for a lot of people.
Bernard
Bernard Lamb

User avatar
Paul Thomson
Posts: 1615
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:02 pm
Location: (H) Milton Keynes - (W) Hemel Hempstead
Contact:

Re: What are we doing wrong?

Postby Paul Thomson » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:29 pm

In theory that is exactly what is supposed to happen... Routes for each of the rides are supposed to be posted both on the Facebook page and on this forum in the club runs section by the leaders of each ride in the days prior to the ride.

Paul
Paul Thomson

Racing Secretary


Return to “General”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests