'New' Groups

Anything relating to the clubs associated with Cycling UK
glueman
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'New' Groups

Postby glueman » 5 Mar 2008, 8:03am

I'm starting this thread as a discussion on 'new' member groups as the 'CTC staff on the board' thread in Campaigning was unintentionally hijacked.
First off, thank you Karen for making the situation somewhat clearer. The whole thing may be a horrible misunderstanding on my part and I don't intend fishing round old posts saying you said this and he/she said that. Never the less I was under the impression :? that a new initiative was in place which enabled small groups of individual members to pursue their cycling enthusiasms within or across regional areas.

My instinctive response was 'about time too', the reason being that in my opinion DAs and Sections didn't uniformly meet best practice. I've felt for a long time that involvement in club rides wasn't so negligible because people didn't like riding with others, but the 'others' had particular and dare I say it, peculiar ideas about what riding with the CTC meant.
Some groups are welcoming, some are not. We're told there's a post code lottery regarding health and education provision but it's always seemed there's one in CTC DAs, get lucky and you'll have all the fun and information to meet your aspirations whatever they are, be in the wrong spot and the CTC may as well not exist, or worse it will leave a sour taste.

I'm not agitating for exclusive groups although it doesn't get any more exclusive than two people of strong opinions and few words taking you to places you don't want to go in the name of the brotherhood of cycling, it was just when the idea came up 'exclusivity' was what I thought was being implied.
As a man I have no trouble with women setting up a member group and if a family group was established see no reason why hardened audax riders would want to join. If you want to set up a gay group or one for over 65s or for people who exclusively hostel or include a load of roughstuff in their jaunt who's business is it and anyway, isn't that what has always happened by default?
Inclusive provision has always been a myth and newcomers are much more likely to find their section to be fast or old or lugging trailers than they are to provide just what the person is looking for.

It would be a shame if the concept died because of historical precedent or a spurious notion of equality. DAs can't provide the range of activities contemporary riders are looking for and generally speaking, haven't done for years. New member groups might reflect that diversity of aspiration much more nearly than clinging to old ideals of the club. [/b]

byegad
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Postby byegad » 5 Mar 2008, 12:35pm

Similar post on Campaigning/CTC employees thread

I was hoping that a UK wide recumbent trikers group could be formed as a Members Group. The aim being to meet up in various parts of the UK and ride together. There would be no limit on members other than you would expect people to travel feet first and have three wheels under them. This is not an exclusion clause and I envisage other types of bikes/trikes turning up for rides if the rider was interested in one day buying the 'signature' vehicle. It would need to be if not UK wide at least Regional in size in order to attract enough members.

While I know several trikers around the country and they would probably be the first to join I assume that once formed it would become a public group as our 'fame' spread.

I'd like to second glueman's words about Karen's post in the other thread.
Also his comments about DA's variability is sadly true. Some time ago in Cycle the question was asked what provision is there for a keen 16yr old girl on an MTB within DAs. The answer is largely none, I await the deluge of DAs denying this statement. ( I do know there are some who can offer something but not many)

While riding as a group would be the mainstay of the group I could see us needing to get involved with facilities as some do stop a trike from using them by the way access is physically limited.

glueman
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Postby glueman » 5 Mar 2008, 12:54pm

This issue stands on a few factors. Can a local DA/section/MG fulfil your requirements of a cycling group? If not can existing members be encouraged to provide it? If they can't or won't is an individual or friends group allowed to set up an MG to their own satisfaction?

So far as exclusivity goes I don't recall this being a big issue. I seem to remember 'ladies' sections being around (happy to be corrected on this) and if a women's group why not any other? AFAIK other organisations like the Ramblers have had age defined groups for some time, in the knowledge that young people may not want to walk with retired folk and vice versa.
The problem all along has been an assumption that the CTC provides adequate provision for a cyclists' aspiration. In our devolved, time starved, menu lead age it's an absurd idea that leaves a limited, one size fits all notion of a CTC group which has had implications for popular cycling in the UK.

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Si
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Postby Si » 5 Mar 2008, 1:51pm

So far as exclusivity goes I don't recall this being a big issue. I seem to remember 'ladies' sections being around (happy to be corrected on this) and if a women's group why not any other?


I'm pretty sure that there's already an over 50s group in Birmingham so it looks like they've no trouble with exclusivity.

Edit...yes, there is indeed:
http://freespace.virgin.net/jimi.gee/bc ... 0rides.htm
although they don't seem to be advertising their rides very much at the mo.

glueman
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Postby glueman » 5 Mar 2008, 3:10pm

That was my impression Si, the exclusivity precendent has long since been breached.
It might be interesting to hear from people who don't ride with groups as to their reasons why. Would you ride with a group if you felt they had similar outlook and ability or do you prefer to ride alone? Do you feel your time is too limited to belong to a club, or your interests too marginal? Do you see cycling as one part of wider outdoor enthusiasm, or fitness, or sports?

If you do ride with an organised group do they meet your riding 'needs'? Would you ride with other groups or would you feel 'disloyal?' What would your ideal cycling club look like?
There's a discussion here which is rarely looked into imo, but is worth having even if it means conventional DA/MGs change their outlook to what they're doing or riders who are happy with their group would like to pass on successful initiatives.

glueman
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Postby glueman » 7 Mar 2008, 1:11pm

Hmm, well...

The lack of response suggests those whose interests differ from CTC norms have long since formed their own groups without the club's involvement or a new Member Group initiative is going to take some serious publicity.
Or it may have just been a way of shunting DAs into different packages all along?

byegad
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Postby byegad » 7 Mar 2008, 1:33pm

Couldn't agree more glueman. It looks like the old guard are still in control. There are plenty of CTC members but not so many active in DAs/groups. AND THEY WONDER WHY!

PH
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Postby PH » 7 Mar 2008, 7:19pm

The lack of replies could be due to the vagueness of the policy, rather than a lack of interest in the subject. New groups and sub groups are being formed all the time, I read in the newsletter that there was no shortage of interest in setting up the new Cornwall group. It’s also worth remembering how few the contributors to this forum are compared to the membership.
I often read of how resistant to change DAs can be, I only have experience of the DA I’m involved with, Derby, where new ideas are always welcome. I don’t know how to view the generalised complaints, in what way have people found DAs unhelpful? What did you propose and why was it rejected? I know these opinions are widely held, it’s one of the reasons for allowing stand alone groups, just having no experience of it I find it hard to imagine. It can be hard to join a long established social group, it takes time to get accepted, that’s not a CTC thing it’s human nature and true of any group. The section I ride with go out of their way to be welcoming, we still sometimes get riders come once and never again, luckily we also get some come once and are hooked, you have to accept that whatever you do it’s never going to appeal to everyone.
As I see it, if you want to set up a new member group offering something different within a regional area, the first step seems to be to contact the DA. If you did find your DA unhelpful there are two alternatives, set up as a stand alone member group or as an independent group and affiliate to the CTC. If the DA is willing, there are a lot of advantages in working with them, however different you think your new group will be there’ll still be some crossover with existing groups, we’re all cyclists. There’s also the benefit of pooling resources, Derby DA runs a number of cycling and social events, plus a bi-monthly magazine that would not be practical or financially viable for one of the three member groups. The last thing we need is groups offering the same thing and competing for members, I can’t see that being to anyone’s advantage. If change is needed get involved and try changing from within.
If it’s a non regional group you’re considering, then joining a DA might not be practical, so independent or affiliated is probably the way to go. The process is laid out in the policy handbook, the first steps looks pretty straightforward to me. Any doubt about whether exclusive groups are permitted would soon be answered, I can’t see there being a problem, as Si has said there’s always been groups with specific interests and objectives.

Slightly OT – I’ve recently been to see the Derby DA archives*. They go back a hundred years and I’ve come to the conclusion that not much changes. All the stuff people are moaning about now (not just here) was moaned about then. Criticisms of the old guard being unwilling to change started in the 30s, it can’t be the same old guard. There were also complaints about the young uns’ not joining, groups riding too fast or too slow, too much traffic, too much rough stuff… The members participating has waxed and waned over the years, we’re presently getting the same sort of numbers as the mid 60s.

*Held at the County Records Office in Matlock, open to all and worth a read if you have a bit of time to spare in the area.

glueman
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Postby glueman » 7 Mar 2008, 8:57pm

PH wrote:The last thing we need is groups offering the same thing and competing for members, I can’t see that being to anyone’s advantage. If change is needed get involved and try changing from within.


That worry always seems to be a bit over-stated, imo. It suggests CTC club runs are a certain kind of thing with a finite number of available riders but I'd say that's because the constituencies I'd previously suggested just wouldn't see a local DA/MG as their sort of thing.
The CTC has been successful at attracting commuters in recent years but it seems that club riders are still a tiny minority of overall membership. You have to ask why? Even if you include apathy it's not hard to see a large proportion who might ride if things or club groups were different.

It's easy to see this as a generalised DA dig. It isn't, I fit the template pretty accurately and have had good times and learnt a lot but what is there for that 16 year old mountain biking girl or any of the other groups for whom age, gender, available time or the bike they own puts them in the margins. There's nothing wrong with what CTC groups provide, it's just that it isn't very comprehensive.
For all the well rounded, firmly grounded riders I've ridden with I can think of good number who'd put off newcomers for life. All I'm saying is it would be good if people could generate their own groups from their own interests backed by the CTC for the mutual benefit of club and rider.

glueman
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Postby glueman » 7 Mar 2008, 9:35pm

"if you want to set up a new member group offering something different within a regional area, the first step seems to be to contact the DA".

That has always been the conventional answer and on the face of it it's a reasonable idea but let's follow through the logic. Cath has had a new bike for her 40th birthday to help her shed a few pounds. She's started riding midweek with two mothers from the local school and has seen a CTC flyer in the library or the doctor's surgery. None of them have any idea what the CTC is but having been peeped at by passing cars they think it might be a good idea.
Cath phones Fred's number and asks him what the CTC is about. He tells them there's a 90 mile or 65 mile ride this Sunday from the Arndale centre and asks what sort of bike she rides. Cath said she doesn't know but it's mostly blue and has a bag and what is there around the 15 mile mark on tuesday or thursday afternoon when the youngest is at playgroup. After a little embarrased coughing on both sides Cath thanks Fred for his help and passes the info to the girls. The CTC passes out of Cath's life as quick as it entered.

We could replace Cath with any number of people whose life experiences have never intersected with 'club life' but might develop into serious cyclists if they had the companionship of like minded individuals. Then there are those who are really more interested in say, camping weekends than anything else and want to be away every weekend possible. Are they wrong for CTC groups or are the existing groups wrong for them? That's before we get to those - and they're out there - who are actively dismissive of any new person because of a local fiefdom they rule and will find any reason to rubbish the person or his bike in the name of the CTC.

A lot of information on how-to, what and where is available as downloads and I just can't see approaching your local DA as automatically the best first step unless you're likely to fit what they're offering. OTOH if Fred could say right Cath, get the girls to fill in these membership forms, I'll drop some in the post and in return if it's alright with you I'll spread the word and you can act as liason for a mum's group or over 40s or push and brunch or whatever you want to call yourselves. Send x the title and it'll appear in the next edition of Cycle and on our local MG board as well as the national site if that's what you want. Get some flyers done for the other schools and the health centre. If you get any mechanicals give me a shout or try Bill's Bikes, he's very good. Best of luck and once you get up to 40 mile give our Sunday B riders a go. Cheers.

Much more civilised - and realistic.
Last edited by glueman on 7 Mar 2008, 9:52pm, edited 1 time in total.

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 7 Mar 2008, 9:43pm

Glueman

I'd be interested to know what you see as the benefit for anyone starting a new group of its being associated with the CTC. It's my impression it would frighten off at least as many people as those it would attract.

I can see the benefit of access to the insurance - in the modern litigious world there are still some people who underestimate the value of this.

I suppose there may be an undiscovered reservoir of unattached (in the cycling sense) CTC members waiting for their specific but unmet needs to be catered for. In the meantime, it's also my impression that the move away from the rigid DA hierarchy is part of a drift to cut free the govt., subsidy oriented 'top shop' from all the distractions.

(And if I can do a bit of 'cross-hijacking' if the CTC's paid staff are shy about their association with the organisation, why should the hoi poloi be any different? :lol: )

glueman
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Postby glueman » 7 Mar 2008, 10:14pm

A few things thirdcrank. Don't underestimate how daunting a DA group of like minded individuals all dressed similarly and talking in code can be. Like the first day at school and a new job rolled into one with a dose of fitness anxiety. More people identify themselves with other things, like the kind of bike they ride or social group than a general desire for day tours with new people. It's a jump many just won't take.
Second as you say bike riders aren't covered for insurance generally speaking and the CTC has always seemed a bit expensive for the cover (till you get hit) but would seem much less so if it gave you support and companionship.
Like you I see a desire for the club to cut it's ties with the DAs partly because I was assured it was an on-going tendency 25 years ago but also a wide ranging club network seems out of kilter with a sleek, pared down, campaigning organisation. Imo grassroots involvement, not top down edicts are exactly what is needed.
Then there's the regular cyclists who fall through the cracks because they're a bit fast or slow or don't see eye to eye with the local DA leader or don't like the ride destinations or whatever. They would appear to be the biggest group who'd tie in to evolving splinter groups or specialist sections. You only have to see how many cyclists regularly ride with people they've met on websites to know the power of the internet to find shared outlooks and interests.

Edit: I should say I get the feeling the CTC would like the DA network to quietly die away and a few hundred politically aware, diverse groups would stick a few rockets up behinds too.

PH
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Postby PH » 7 Mar 2008, 11:23pm

glueman wrote:That worry always seems to be a bit over-stated, imo. It suggests CTC club runs are a certain kind of thing with a finite number of available riders but I'd say that's because the constituencies I'd previously suggested just wouldn't see a local DA/MG as their sort of thing.

I’m not going to spend too long arguing this point, I suspect all the evidence is anecdotal. I know that a local Audax has an adverse affect on the numbers out on a Sunday and that at any local cycling event, CTC or otherwise, it’s likely to be the same faces. As I said earlier it’s always been a small proportion of members that have actively participated, locally anyway. And although DAs should be able and willing to respond to demand, I don’t see it as their place to create it, even if that were possible.
Cath has had a new bike for her 40th birthday to help her shed a few pounds. She's started riding midweek with two mothers ...

If there's nothing suitable for her, she's going to have to set it up herself. It should be easier for her to do that within the existing structure. In Derby that would have come to a section rather than the DA. She could have been helped with; ride leading guidelines, suggested routes, recommended cafes and publicity. An experienced ride leader would have tried to join her on the first one. Her rides would go on the runs list, she could use the magazine to promote them and we would do our best to spread the word. She and the riders she attracted would also be invited too and encouraged to participate in the other social/cycling activities.
In this example Derby section already runs rides she’d have found suitable, a bi-monthly mid week ride of 30-40 miles (timed to fit in with school hours) and a monthly Saturday ride of 15-25 miles. They are often better attended than the traditional Sunday run, both were set up in response to demand.
http://www.derbyctc.org.uk/

glueman
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Postby glueman » 8 Mar 2008, 7:14am

You make fair points and Derby DA sounds like a responsive group but I still believe there's a disparity between people who like riding bikes in company and those you do it under CTC auspices.
If you don't think it's the job of the club to try and nurture that diversity in as many ways as possible we'll agree to differ. From the inside it is easy to see the DA world as multi-stranded and welcoming but if you did a review I bet it's comprised of a fairly narrow demographic. If that is the case I suggest the CTC should confront the issue head on and see what's to be done about it.

One suspects - and it's no more than cynicism on my part - the club has had a long hard look at the issue and believe change is beyond it under current structures. Maybe that's why the recent tweaks have gone on, maybe not. Either way I can't see what the intended outcome is re. socialising and mobilising CTC membership.

byegad
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Postby byegad » 8 Mar 2008, 8:20pm

Derby DA certainly sounds better organised than many.

However some cycling interests are bigger than a single DA's area. If an group of cyclists is in itself a minority interest within cycling, where do those riders go?

The present answer is outside the CTC to Regional or National organisations which represent their interests.
Surely the CTC would prefer them, like the proverbial camel, to be in the tent.....!
Apart from anything else the revenue would be welcome.


I had hoped that Members Groups was the answer......