Club membership has been much discussed topic of the Executive Committee in recent months. It is more difficult than might be expected to determine what club membership trends might be at a given moment in time, but it seems clear that we are not growing and may have even shrunk. We know that we can reverse this situation, in fact the officers and the Membership Committee are currently working toward this.
One of the first tasks the Membership Committee carried out was a survey of non-renewing members, it turned up some not so surprising results. The survey respondents said they wanted shorter rides. We’ve responded by adding shorter legs to several rides on the upcoming schedule. It was also noted that “Food and Event” rides, such as the Tour de Gils and Club Picnic, are also some of the more popular events. The current schedule shows an overabundance of these types of events. Some have mentioned that the clubs name being “The Louisville Wheelmen” with the male connotation might be a possible area of discontent. This has also being addressed, see page 11 for an article and survey on the clubs name.
Naturally, the process keeping current and attracting new members will go faster if everyone in the club is willing to pitch in and help. How can you help? There are a number of ways. One thing that we can all do right away is to start working with new people at rides and meetings. It is fair to expect the club’s leaders to be very active in meeting new people and helping them feel at home, but this is a job that goes much better when everyone takes a part. The next time you attend a ride or meeting, please take a moment to introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know. It would also help if we could slow up a bit on club rides and try harder to bring the new riders back with us rather than drop them deep in the countryside and leave them for dead. Lastly, when riders have mechanical problems, let’s stop and try to help instead of just riding by. Ten years ago, if one person had a problem, everybody stopped to help, but sadly, that is no longer true today.
Something else we can all do is try to publicize our club and its programs in a good light. Do this while riding by being polite, courteous and by refraining from any behavior which does not reflect well on the club or on cycling. There is no way to be sure that the motorist we irritate or intimidate today will not become a cyclist who refuses to join our club or who talks our club down to everyone who will listen. Likewise, we should be intolerant of inappropriate behavior on the part of others and should speak up when it occurs on club rides.
The third thing to do is to help the club’s leaders make our club better by identifying problems and helping to correct them. Positive criticism is always welcome, especially when it is accompanied by some suggestions for improvement, or, even better, an offer to help.
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