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President's Page - December 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Happy December, Pedalers!

We’re about to turn the calendar page in a big way, into the new year and into the last year of this decade. This also means we’re about to welcome in a new Executive Committee. A huge congratulations to our newly elected members for ExCom 2020-2022: Catherine Kitchell, Carol Linden, and Stephen Krill. Also, a grateful thank you to those who are still serving on the board: Warren Farb, Ed Hazelwood, and Deb Reynolds. And finally, a tremendous amount of gratitude goes out to our exiting secretary, David Whitaker. Personally, I’d like to thank all of these people for getting me up to speed in the last two years that I’ve served as VP of Special Events, and also setting me up for success as I transition into my new position as PPTC President.

For those who weren’t present at the Annual Member meeting, here are the Cliffs Notes of my campaign “speech”, and I hope each of us who reads this can find some sense of agreement and inspiration to not just foster, but grow our amazing community of cyclists in the years to come…

Several years ago, I was a new cyclist in the area. I started off riding my bike primarily by myself, which I pretty quickly deemed unsafe and unfun, as I didn’t really know the best roads or routes around my home. As I was ramping up my cycling volume for Ironman Louisville, I asked my coach if there was a local group he thought I should ride with. He suggested I try out the Wootton Saturday ride, put on by Potomac Pedalers. It was clear when I arrived that I was very much the “new kid”, with my aero bars and triathlon kit I wore to the ride, but sticking out like a sore thumb ended up working to my advantage. I was welcomed so warmly by the ride leaders and some of the cyclists, and rode with strangers that became my friends some 60 miles later. This trend continued over the summer with the more rides I participated in, and soon enough I was a full-fledged PPTC member, attending the annual meeting. I knew that after trying to coordinate some extracurricular efforts for us cyclists on my own during the season, I wanted to do it in a more official manner, and ran for a member at-large position on the ExCom in 2017. I filled my plate with delicious food, as we all do each year at the annual meeting, and took a seat with people I’d never met. Little did I know at the time, the people I sat with were Joe Pixley, longtime member and contributor to PPTC, and former PPTC president Bob Bernstein.

After our introductions and my fleeting moment of shyness in front of these pillars of the club, I  told them I was one of the candidates running for a seat on the board, and Joe asked me what my “platform” was. And reflecting on what I said then, in all honestly, my platform now is the same as it was sitting at that table, which boils down to something pretty simple:

I want to make Potomac Pedalers the most inclusive, welcoming cycling club that exists. There is no reason that a new person who joins us on any given day, on any given ride, shouldn’t feel completely welcome, and leave the parking lot of that first or second ride eager to join our club in an official manner because we have so much greatness to offer to them.

That seems pretty simple and obvious. But of course, the real work lies in the how. Our club is at a critical junction, after years of membership attrition, and consequentially shying away from being a visible force in the cycling world here in our region. We have to find ways to stabilize our current member body, and keep the things that work well working well. However, we also have to make a concerted effort to attract new members, and not just riders- eager cyclists who have a route in their back pocket they’re itching to use on a ride that they’d lead. Cyclists who want to volunteer at our club’s events, promoting our club that we all love so much. Cyclists who come with new, vibrant ideas for how to lead our club into the next decade. And cyclists who will step up and answer the call to lead the Executive Committee in years to come. The current ExCom has some ideas for all of this, but we’re a small group that is sacrificing some of our riding time to ensure the best for our beloved group. We will need help deploying and executing our ideas, and we’ll be looking to our stalwart veteran members to do so.

So this is my promise to all of you, as the Potomac Pedalers Club President for the transition into the next decade: I promise to lead by example. You’ll see me out on the front lines of member-public interaction. You’ll see me out there leading rides, including monthly, specific Ex-Comm-member meetups. You’ll see me out there at the largest cycling events in our region, promoting our club. And you’ll see me out there in the fall, wishing our Century riders a great day as they leave Shepherd’s campus after a long year of planning that event. But, I can’t do it alone. So I hope you can promise this with me: If you love our club, after how much it has given to you in health, friendships, and a rich lifestyle on two wheels, this is the time you can do a little to give back to PPTC and our surrounding community.

Be safe, ride well, and see you in the New Year.
Anne C. M. Hyman
President, PPTC

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