President's Page - September 2018

Thursday, September 6, 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.

By the time you read this, the Back Roads Century will be just around the corner. This one of the best values for a century if not the best. Now you would be correct to look at this statement and think, “Well, what else would the President of the Club state?”  I have been saying this for many years; most of them while not the President. I have ridden 88 English centuries of more than 100 miles, and many more metric centuries. Not all of these have been organized centuries but many of them have been so I think you will agree that I have some experience to back up the statement.

As the weather gets cooler, plan to attend the Annual Meeting in November. We are looking for a great venue so a firm date has not been set. We are looking at a Saturday in November prior to Thanksgiving. Besides being able to sample an eclectic mix of foods brought by members, we hope to have an exciting speaker. We will also be electing next year’s Executive Committee, the ExCom. Up for election are the President, Vice President of Operations, Treasurer, and two At-Large members. Please email me at the address below with “ExCom” in the subject line to learn more about the various responsibilities or to nominate candidates.

We also need a number of volunteers to fill critical committee roles in the Club. I would like to see members who have not previously volunteered for the board or committees. I have run out of people I know to tap for positions. In March, I wrote in this column about the need to give back and member’s duty to volunteer to help run the Club. I thought that this was an important enough message that I had it rerun in April. In July, I wrote how membership in the Club is like a Groupon. You get back more than you spend.

Let me digress here for just a moment to talk about why we need so many people to run the Club efficiently. The primary purpose of the Club is to have weekend and weekday rides of different distances and speeds to give our members a choice in where they ride and with whom. This takes Ride Leaders and Ride Coordinators. It also takes infrastructure to organize, publicize, and operate. Volunteers help keep our costs down but there are other aspects that cost money. Website hosting and maintenance. Insurance. Our paid administrator, Core Associates, Inc. who do an outstanding job and without whom, the Club would likely perish.

In order to keep your membership dues down, we run Special Event Weekends and the Century to augment our coffers. (The weekends and Century are also fun but I am making a point.) Without these events, membership dues would be much greater. Whenever we do not have enough volunteers we have to pay for the required services or we burn out those who do volunteer. The new organization with the three vice presidents is helping to a certain extent. However, we need the middle management, committee chairs and we need volunteers to populate these committees. An empty committee puts pressure on the chair of that committee to do everything. Hence the burn out.

In my one and a half years as President, we are once again balancing the budget. We are smoothing the transition to the twenty-first century and the digital world. We are documenting policies and procedures so that subsequent ExComs and other volunteers do not have to reinvent the wheel every few years. It also helps to know exactly how many volunteers we need during the year for Operations, the Century and Special Events. In that way, we can be more effective in recruiting. We can also plan better. Instead of burning out the same people who consistently volunteer (thanks to all of you), we can make specific requests. Asking someone to be on the Annual Meeting Committee or to help clean up after the Century After Party is much more effective than a general request for volunteers’ blast…and this column.

So drop me a line at to volunteer for a position on the ExCom (with “ExCom” in the subject line), as a committee chair or to work on a committee with “Volunteer” in the subject line. By next month, I hope to have more specifics on those committees. Until then, please sign up on the Backroads website to fill a few positions that are still needed. See you in Shepherdstown.

Thank you and keep the rubber side down.

Bob B.

 [RD1]Would like a better title here…

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