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Notes from the Chairman - November 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Notes from the Chairman

by Bob Bernstein

I hope that this finds you all enjoying the pleasures of your wheeled, human powered conveyances regardless of the number of wheels; regardless whether you are leaning forward, sitting upright, or sitting back; regardless of whether you are wearing spandex or a tee shirt and jeans. After all, how can I be picky since I just completed a ride on an orange bike with an orange jersey and wearing an orange pumpkin on my head!

Let me continue a theme I started with last month’s column. In it, I devoted a majority of the column to thanking the different teams who helped to make the Back Roads Century a success. This month I want to devote my column to thanking a portion of those who help keep the Club running. In doing so, I hope to enlighten those who read this of the time many volunteers spend so that our Membership can enjoy the broadest possibilities of rides in the region. It does not happen by magic and I hope to also let you know what I, and the rest of the ExCom are doing to make the job easier.

Let me start with Ride Leaders. Without volunteers to lead rides, we would be a club of armchair cyclists. We have made the task of leading a ride easier by having, as a privilege of membership, a RideWithGPS account. There, a Ride Leader is able to plan and map a ride and create cue sheets for their ride. Our new website allows the Ride Leaders to advertise their ride without the stress of a looming print deadline. The website also allows participants to sign up in advance so the Ride Leader will have an idea of how many riders may be joining. This adds to the safety of the ride because it allows the Ride Leader the opportunity to obtain co-leaders to help on rides with a large number of participants.

The Ride Coordinator’s job has been made easier as they are not tied to a deadline and are able to more gently persuade members to lead a ride. They no longer need to ensure that the ride listings are in the correct format as the website does this for them. They are able to devote more time to ensuring the listing has the necessary information. Some have been doing a great job of helping to make rides multi-class. This makes everyone’s life easier and gives the participants the flexibility to choose ride class and length of the ride based upon how they feel that day, who shows up for the ride and the weather.

I am going to jump to describe the jobs of two members of the ExCom. The Vice Chair, Special Events is responsible for the special events the Club holds. These are the popular weekends, the Annual Meeting, the Volunteer Dinner and other events. The Vice Chair is assisted in the weekend rides by the Weekend Coordinator and by the Non Ride Special Event Committee for the meetings and social hours. Nancy Avitabile has done a great job getting this new position off the ground. She stepped up to ease the transition of this position after five years as Treasurer.

The Vice Chair, Century is a job no one ever wants. Eric Pilsk stepped in to do this after many years working on other aspects of the Century. He has built a great support team and they have distilled much of their experience in running the Century into the Century Guidebook. This position is important for two reasons. First, for many non-members, this is their view of our Club. Like a proud parent, one wants their children to shine. The Back Roads Century shines as the best value of any century in the region and perhaps on the East Coast. Second, the money we make on the century is what allows up to keep membership dues affordable. Please read last month’s column to see the network of volunteers who help make the Century possible. I want to thank Eric for being the first Vice Chair, Century especially since he knew what he was getting into.

Now for the arm twisting. As I said, the Club’s success is due to those who step forward and volunteer. Please consider running for an open position on the ExCom. No experience necessary and lots of opportunity for job satisfaction. And if you're looking for leadership experience to put on your resume, leadership in a Club of several thousand members does have clout - even if it is a voluntary position.

There will be a Special Annual Meeting on 3 December instead of January this year. Please save the date and join your Club mates for a social afternoon of food, information and fun. The theme will be “Adventures on the Bike.” We will be voting for new members of next year’s ExCom. Please consider volunteering for a two-year term as Century Vice Chair, Special Events Vice Chair, Recording Secretary, or At-Large Member. 

Thank you and keep the rubber side down.

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