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President's Page - October 2018

Monday, October 1, 2018

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.

I am writing this on 16 September, a beautiful day. I rode this morning with friends on an old route that is very scenic. Unfortunately, it was not the Backroads Century that I and many others had anticipated. The ExCom voted to cancel the ride last Monday. The decision was not an easy one. On the one hand, we were looking at roads that were already flooded, the potential for high winds and debris on the usually shady, bucolic roads we ride, a state of emergency in two adjoining states, and a very good chance that a hurricane would be raging the day before or day of the ride. On the other hand, we were at the point where significantly more funds would be expended the next day. Many volunteers and riders had made reservations in the area at venues we thought might be needed for people whose houses were under water. On the other hand, there was the impression that the Club would make with the community. Shepherdstown, law enforcement, Shepherd University, and our other sponsors would be watching our reaction and listening to our message. Were we to do something unsafe in their minds, we might lose their support and not be able to ride or provide the outstanding event we all now take for granted. On yet another hand, there was rider safety to consider; as well as that of our many volunteers. That was a very important consideration.

We were disappointed that we had to cancel. You were disappointed that we had to cancel. The weather gods laughed at us and provided a picture-perfect day on Sunday. The decision we made was the correct decision at the time we made it. Had we waited until Wednesday or Thursday morning to cancel, the decision would have been the same as nothing had changed. There were a few people who complained but on the whole, the majority of you were very understanding. We received emails and word of mouth from many riders, volunteers and members of the Shepherdstown community expressing their thanks not only for making the right decision, but for making it early rather than waiting.

So now let’s talk about the money that everyone, including me, paid for the event. Based on the information we had at the time of the cancellation, we offered participants a $30 credit for next year. We wanted to encourage people to come back to this great event. The amount was based upon the information we had at the time. Since that time, we learned more about our expenses. Many of the venues where we had deposits, reservations and other outlays refunded our deposits. We are passing those savings on to you and you should have received an email informing you of the refund.

And before I go any further, let me thank those in the Shepherdstown community for your understanding and support. We know what it is like to attempt an event of this scope without that support. And your support of our riders and volunteers is greatly appreciated. Volunteers! Your support and efforts are what make this Century and weekend an experience that keeps our membership riding and those riders from outside the Club coming back year after year. Many of the emails we received expressed disappointment in not being able to participate this year but with the promise that they would return next year. To paraphrase a famous line from Field of Dreams, “If you hold it, we will come.”

Have we learned anything from this experience? Of course. We need to modify the wording and provide additional guidance on the “Rain or Shine,” “No cancellation” aspect. We need to provide additional clarification on the “Weather Emergency” statement. We will try to make these statements clearer because expectations are a part of providing a positive experience for all involved.

A few items before I wrap this up. Stay tuned for information about the Fall Art and Farm Tour and the Annual Meeting. Please keep November 18th open and plan on joining us for food, an exciting speaker, and the status of YOUR Club. Do you receive emails from Potomac Pedalers? If not, please ensure that our emails are not going to your spam folder. If you have blocked our emails, I would strongly recommend unblocking us. Email is how we communicate items of importance and time critical items to you, our members. I don’t like to see my inbox inundated with emails, so I assure you, we do attempt to keep the emails down to a minimum.

Thank you and keep the rubber side down.

Bob B.

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