All posts by Kat

2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Please remember that to be able to vote on items at the AGM (constitution changes, committee elections) you will need to be a valid MB Swindon member. So please check your membership is up to date. If you’ve misplaced / lost your card you can check your renewal date on the website – www.mbswindon.co.uk/membersonly

This year’s AGM will include the following items on the agenda:

  1. Introduction
  2. Review of 2018, including:
    • Financial summary
    • Membership review
    • Events round-up
  3. Amendments to the constitution
  4. Election of Committee roles
  5. Any other business (AOB)

Questions and feedback can be sent in advance via email to info@mbswindon.co.uk

Amendments to constitution

You will find the proposed changes to the constitution in the following document – MB Swindon Constitution – 2016 to 2019 changeMB Swindon Constitution – 2016 to 2019 change v2 due to a requested amendment to point 6 around payments from club funds.

Should you have any comments or questions in relation to these changes please send them by email to info@mbswindon.co.uk in advance of the meeting.

Election of Committee roles

Should the amendments to the constitution be accepted, the following roles will be available for election:

  • Chairperson
  • Treasurer
  • Club / Membership Secretary
  • Events Officer

If you would like to put yourself forward for one of the available roles, please email your name and position interested in to info@mbswindon.co.uk by 19:00 Friday 22 February.


IF the constitutional changes are NOT accepted, then no elections will take place at the AGM and a special general meeting (SGM) will be called at a later date to carry out the Committee elections.

Update on 2018 training courses

Earlier this summer we announced Training for 2018 where we said we would be adding additional dates to the training calendar. Unfortunately due to the work commitments of the instructors, there has been reduced availability of free weekends, which has lead to only one more session being added to the calendar.

This Trail Skills date was released to the waiting list last week and became fully booked within a couple of days. If there is enough demand and the weather is still kind, then another date may be added in early October. The final decision will have to wait until closer to the time as the weather is so changeable. If you would be interested in an October course please email kat@mbswindon.co.uk

 

Build Day! Fix red section berm and other jobs

Come down and help out if you can, we’ll be focusing on fixing the first berm into the first red section that is collapsing, but will also be looking at sorting other tasks such as filling pot holes, resurfacing the first section of trail and general maintenance around the whole trail.

For some history of build day activities take a look at our Croft Trail build diary 

Woodwork repairs in the triangle section

If you ride the trail regularly you should have spotted that the raised woodwork section within the triangle section has had to be closed due to instability of the supporting wooden frame. For those of you not part of our Facebook group you will not have seen the photos and discussion about the extent of the deterioration of the wood used to build the structure.

Below are some of the key extracts from these discussions (to read the full conversation the linked dates will take you to the Facebook posts within the closed group):

Steffan James
15 January
If you go down to the woods today… don’t use the woodwork section! As you can see, there is a pretty big broken section, making it unusable. I have nailed a sign to the start of the raised section and blocked off the entrance with logs. If you go down there and see that anyone has removed these, please let one of the committee know.

The majority of this was repaired by Jason and Pete on a wet 21 January, with it reopening the following week.


Jason Rodger
16 March
Tomorrow Morning (Saturday 17th March.) I will be doing some work to repair and replace sections of one of the bridges at Croft. It’s in a poor state and close to failure. Please take heed of any diversion notices you see – once I start work the bridge will be impassable for a time. Hopefully I will be done by 11 and normal service will be resumed.


Gabriel Gray
23 May
Saw this at the start of the wooden pump track. Don’t know if you guys were aware of it?

Initial plan to look at it ahead of the Hargoves demo day on Sunday 27 May 2018


Jason Rodger
27 May

Sad day I am afraid, after several reports of broken sections and a couple of inspections I have had no choice but to close the triangle woodwork section. Parts of it are now very rotten and some parts have actually broken. I have cut away the entry ramp, but please don’t attempt to ride any part of it. Discussions are underway with several people/groups to decide the future of this feature.

As can be seen from this post on the day of the demo day, the amount of repairs required were too great to do in a couple of hours so the decision was made to close it indefinitely while a plan was made of how best to repair and replace.


Justin Wilkinson
9 June

Just an FYI, I’m going down to the Croft trail in a few mins to do a walk of it and take some notes down of any issues. Want to get a list of problems so that we can start to work through them in a planned way on each maintenance day.

Just in case anyone comes across me and wonders what on earth I’m doing with a clipboard and pen!


Justin Wilkinson
9 June

Just so everyone is aware, people have been making their own bodge repairs to the woodwork section and then riding it in reverse. All the signs and blocks that were in place are nowhere to be seen.


Jason Rodger
12 June
Woodwork Update.

It may seem like things have gone quiet, but in the background we have been working hard to get things moving. First priority has been to gather materials – there is little point in getting a build day together if we have nothing to use. Wood from the diy stores doesn’t seem to last long so I have been looking at reclaimed wood, which as well as being cheaper is much better quality. We are well on the way to having everything we need. Thanks to Justin Wilkinson, Dave Bates and Jez, the original builder of the feature for your help so far. The wood is taking up valuable space in my garage, so I am keen to keep things moving


In response to most of these posts lots of comments were received, some with offers of help and others with suggestions of how to get it sorted as quickly as possible. There also seemed to be some level of frustration about why the work was taking so long to happen. To help people understand why there appeared to be delays the following statement was made:

Kat Ratcliffe
3 July

Across a couple of posts, I have seen people asking why their offers of help and support to repair/replace the woodwork have not been taken up. Whilst we try to run the club and maintenance of the trail in as simplistic a way as possible unfortunately sometimes things take time to happen. In this instance there are various reasons why there doesn’t appear to be much progress. Firstly we are all volunteers that have demanding day jobs, secondly we have personal lives that also take priority over the club and thirdly the maintenance tasks need to be planned out and prioritised. These plans have been started and some of the materials required have been purchased.

Those people that have been in touch offering their time and skills have been noted and once we have a more defined plan we will be in touch. We will then advertise the build days so that all who want to help will know when they are happening.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Please also be aware that as a Committee we are down 2 people as no-one stood for the Chair or Women’s Officer positions. Jason has been standing in as Chair but this is not sustainable and I would ask you to consider whether you can help support the club moving forwards by offering your help on the Committee. Further details of all the Committee positions are available on the website http://www.mbswindon.co.uk/club/constitution/

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via private message or email kat@mbswindon.co.uk

Training for 2018

As a club we pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to new members and want to help them get the most out of their mountain biking. We fulfill part of this role by offering training courses at two levels, Core Skills and Trail Skills.

The first set of dates for Core Skills have been announced and are open for booking. They are available on a first come, first served basis and can be booked via the Core Skills page.

Don’t worry if you can’t make these dates, as we are working on a couple more dates for Core Skills and some for the Trail Skills, but they are likely to be in August or September and we will update the pages once they have been secured.

Summary of 2018 AGM

MB Swindon AGM
The White Hart, Stratton, Swindon
25 February 2018

Presentation given at the 2018 AGM, supported by the notes below. Click on image to view full presentation

1. Introduction

Chris welcomed attendees, these included 12 attendees and the 4 other committee members:

  • Chris – Chair
  • Jason – Treasurer
  • Steffan – Events Secretary
  • Kat – Club & Membership Secretary
  • Debbie – Women’s Officer

He explained the running order of the night and gave the apologies from the team behind Wroughton Pump Track as they were not able to attend, due to changes in circumstances.

2. Review of the year

a. Club overview

Kat thanked all for their involvement with the club this year and explained that whilst she had not be as heavily involved with riding, all of the feedback and comments from Facebook were positive and that the club still continued to provide a good level of rides.

Unlike at last year’s AGM there has not been another members survey, the plan is to run it later in 2018 in line with when the original survey was launched in 2015 as this will be the three-year comparison survey. Keep an eye on your inboxes and social media for this later in the year.

Graphs of various MB Swindon social media and membership figures for the last year

A graph of the various contact points with the club was presented, which showed that on the whole involvement with the club remained the same. However she noted that the membership number had declined slightly, but this is partly attributable to there being more choice of cycling groups within Swindon. The major drop in numbers is within the Facebook group which was explained as due to the review of members, as discussed at last year’s AGM. It was felt that the group had become so large that it was of less benefit to the membership. The two drops in the graph are directly related to the points in time when the review was carried out. I t was reiterated, that the Facebook group has not been changed to members only due to the fact that it is for MB Swindon and The Croft Trail, plus it is also a good way to signpost people to the club and gain new members.

Graphs of member participation on organised rides

A second graph showing the number of club riders attending the organised rides was presented. This showed that on the whole there are 70 – 90 members attending rides throughout the year, with dips within the year. The comparison of data from 2013 – 2017 shows that the level of participation has not greatly changed over that period.

Q – How has the removal of members from the Facebook group been taken?

A – Apart from a couple of mistakes, partly down to using out of date membership data there have been no comments or issues raised after this activity was carried out. It was noted that the way Facebook works means that if someone has stopped engaging with a group then it will be less likely to appear in the person’s newsfeed. This means that those who have stopped engaging may not realise that they are no longer part of the group. If people want to re-engage then they are more than welcome to, but will be required to answer the joining questions before being approved.

b. Finances

Kat gave an overview of the accounts, on behalf of Jason (who had lost his voice due to illness).

In 2017, the club took just over 180 membership fees, and £527.09 in training fees. Together these make the majority of the income (full details within the AGM presentation file). Kat explained that the reason the figures are not a nice round number is because of the fees payable to the service used to collect the money. This is used as it makes the administration of membership and training easier and reduces the amount of data the club holds.

The major outgoing cost this year is for first aid training for the ride leaders, which means that should anything happen on a ride the ride leader should be equipped with the necessary skills to deal with it. Another major outlay is for Croft Trail, in part for the supply of the new notice board at the start of the trail. The admin costs are higher than normal, as the website hosting is a three-year upfront payment.

Kat explained that the reason the club is affiliated to two bodies is that British Cycling is more in line with mountain biking but CTC, now operating as Cycling UK, offers better insurance for the club organised rides. This insurance offers third-party cover should an attendee have an incident, much like the third-party cover you can have for your car.

Projections for 2018 are similar to previous years with no major expenditure expected. A donation to Wiltshire Air Ambulance has been made in recognition of the fact that should there be an incident on a club ride, their services may be required.

c. Ride events

Steffan started by thanking Rich Ford on helping him get started in the role which meant it was a smooth transition. He also thanked those who helped with posting events on to the website and Facebook group (Rafe, Kat, Rich).

Having looked over the calendar, we have had a total of 91 rides over the 12 months which equates to two per week. There has also been two trail build days, support of Macmillan Castles Ride (sweepers and marshals), plus four training courses.

The types of rides offered over this period have diversified with the following types of ride offered:

  • novice, local and shorter rides
  • more longer local rides or more challenging e.g. Tom’s Source of the Thames ride
  • away days e.g. Gary’s Stroud rides
  • the introduction of the ‘adventure rides’; where the ride leader doesn’t carry out a physical recce of the route, but uses maps, guides and local contacts to find the best routes e.g. Tim’s Wales rides
  • trail centre rides
  • next steps rides, which aim to support people wanting to move on to the next step in their riding

A positive for this year is the addition of new ride leaders; Sonny, Chung and Andy who have been keeping the urban rides going over the winter. Steffan noted that the mid-week ride is something that happens every week and keeps the club in people’s mind; as an active club in the Swindon area. He also noted that we had Graham back on board, which increases the type of ride we have on offer.

With only a month to go until the clocks go forward, so we will be back up on the Ridgeway midweek and Steffan hopes that the new ride leaders will stay on throughout the warmer months.

The riders attending are fresher and more engaged with the club. The hope is that next year we will continue to offer similar to what we have done in 2017 to continue to engage the membership. One thing of note was that the local rides have become longer than in previous years, the count shows only 4 rides of 15 miles or less. This needs to be assessed, with a potential need provide more shorter rides. However with the uncertainty of the upcoming elections it is unclear whether we will have a dedicated person to organise the ladies’ rides, so we may need to look at new ways of working as a whole for arranging lead rides.

Another key task is to investigate the need for first aid training of ride leaders in 2018, the majority of the current leaders attended the two first aid courses offered in 2017. With the recruitment of new leaders it may be beneficial to the club to run another course, but opening it up to members or other clubs to fill the course.

Steffan plans to organise a ride leaders’ get together which will include a summer social ride out.

Q – Agree that there has been a shift in the difficulty of rides offered, the increase in distance and the types of rides.

A – Chris commented that there has been a general shift in cycling as a whole, when the club started out there were very few social cyclists doing century rides, but this appears to be a more frequent occurrence.

Q – As a club should we still cater for new entrants into the club with the shorter distances?

A – Yes, we need to ensure that we are able to bring in new members and help people enter into the sport. This is still seen as the best way to get people in. Debbie also commented that with the shorter rides it allows people to have the rest of the day free to do other things.

d. Ladies activities

Debbie gave an overview of the activities from 2017 stating that it had been a full calendar of events, with something every month. The female membership of the club has been maintained with on average between 33 and 39 members throughout the year (44 at the peak), with 26 of the ladies riding regularly. There have also been some ladies dibbing in on the rides, but they have not followed it up with joining the club.

This year has seen the addition of two new ride leaders, Hilda-May and Kate, who leads her first ride in March. There has also been a focus on guest ride leaders, with Rafe’s Oxford ride being well attended.

The ladies maintenance evening was well attended with 11 ladies attending the next stage session, which looked at the more complex items on maintenance. It’s unclear on how many of the ladies are now carrying out more of their own maintenance.

Jo’s Dursley ride was short but jam packed with features, while Nikki’s ride is a super one for beginners. Hilda organised an ‘epic’ ride which was 36 hilly miles, it was advertised as such and 10 ladies attended with the feedback being that it was enjoyable.

There has also been rides in Swinley, care of Ania’s local knowledge; Afan. thanks to Hilda. The year was ended with Debbie arranging a ladies gathering at Forest of Dean (FoD), which started small but snowballed after contacting 17 ride leaders across clubs in the area. The weather was unkind in the lead up to the event, with green trail being closed so the focus of the ride changed slightly. Nevertheless, 77 ladies turned up taking in the blue trail in the morning followed by food provided specially for them by the cafe at the centre. The attendance at this event shows how many lady riders there are with some travelling from Surrey Hill, Kent and Taunton to attend.

For 2018 there are a couple of rides already in the calendar, but with Debbie stepping down it will be up to the successor to continue with the promotion and organisation of ladies rides.

Debbie thanked all those who have helped make her term in office so successful and said that she will miss some parts of the role, but now is the time to let someone else take the reins.

Kat thanked Debbie for all her hard work whilst in post and acknowledge that Debbie has put her life and soul into the role and now is the time to step away whilst on such a high.

e. Croft Trail

Chris informed the room that the work on the trail in 2017 started with a continuation of the 2016 work, which rather than designated build weekends consisted of regular Friday evening build sessions. These did not bring many volunteers to join the core team.

However in mid-June, due to changes in circumstances the Friday build sessions were stopped. This meant that no new lines have been developed, although the room available for building is running out. There was discussions about rejigging the existing lines and adding a new optional line but this has not been done.

The key improvements have been:

  • completion of the entrance into the first red section
    • old line is still in place
    • new alternative berm into the section
  • patching of the trail surface
  • repair work to the damaged woodwork in the triangle section

The latest repairs to the raised woodwork reignited the conversation about the future of woodwork on the trail. There are two trains of thought:

  1. labour intensive to maintain
  2. good introduction to riding on woodwork / northshore

Q – Could the club pay someone to maintain the woodwork?

A – The projected cost of this predicts that the club funds would quickly be used up if this was done.

Chris reiterated previous conversations around the benefits of the woodwork, providing a unique selling point for the trail. He also raised that there is not much scope to develop other features in the section due to the restricted access routes. Whilst there has been recent deterioration to the woodwork, some of it dates back to 2010 and is only now getting replaced. This indicates that it could last up to another seven years.

Q – Could something along the lines of the Yer Tiz graded skills sections be created at the trail?

A – This was the initial thinking for redeveloping the first red optional section, however the use of the trail for the Hargroves Demo Day forced the opening of the section.

At present the woodwork is in a reasonable state, there are no plans to remove it but it does raise the question around when it does deteriorate, what should replace it.

Chris was keen to promote the fact that Croft Trail is there, it continues to be there and it gets well used both by the club and by the local community. If you go down on a nice day, you will see lots of different people using the trail including the younger generation either on their own or as part of a family outing. As such the club should be proud to be providing such a well used facility.

Q – Would it be better to have build weekends, say two-three times a year to get a blast of input in, especially for the woodwork repairs / replacement?

A – This would possibly help, but we will have to wait and see what the results of the upcoming elections. Back in 2010-2012 there was a high level of input into developing the trail with build days starting at around 9am until it went dark, on both Saturdays and Sundays. As the trail is in a more ‘finished’ state it may be that it could be a one day per build weekend rather than the whole weekend. This could also bring in a social side where we have a BBQ and get to know one another off the bikes.

A comment from the floor was that the trail was great to have, as without a circle of friends in the mountain biking sphere it facilitated the meeting of like-minded people. They would like to see more of the trail used in club rides, as they would like to ride it with other people. They would also be interested in helping with the maintenance of the trail.

Q – As part of the membership survey should there be a question about the use of the trail? Also could we find out when people would like to have a regular meet at the trail.

A – Yes we can review the questions asked and make sure the trail and its use is covered.

3. Election of Committee

Kat oversaw the election of the available Committee positions.

Of the 17 attendees at the meeting, only 16 were eligible to vote.

Chairperson

No nomination was received in advance of the meeting, or from the floor during the meeting. As such Jason Rodger volunteered to take on the role in an interim capacity until a suitable replacement could be found.

Vote: For – 15, Against – 0

Result: Jason elected as Chairperson (alongside Treasurer role) in an interim capacity

Ladies Officer

No nomination was received in advance of the meeting, or from the floor during the meeting.

Result: Position remains vacant

Social Events Officer

No nomination was received in advance of the meeting, or from the floor during the meeting.

Result: Position remains vacant

Tom Scott said he was more than happy to help with organising ad hoc events, but he did not want to be part of the Committee. This was noted and thanks was given for his organising efforts to date.

Q – For the Chairperson role, what is the level of responsibility and commitment required?

A – Chris explained that he had tried to reduce the administrative overhead of the role whilst in post, and as the club is more established it did not require the same level of effort as required in the earlier days of the club.

Awards ceremony

The Committee gave following awards:

  1. Outstanding contribution to the club
    • Tom Scott
  2. King of the hill
    • Micky Duller
  3. Top cake provider
    • Sarah Bailey
  4. Most attended rides
    • Steve Jeans
Tom, Sarah and Steve with their awards

4. Discussion

After the result of the election, Jason was keen to comment that the club may not be able to continue as it is with only three Committee members. There may need to be changes which will be discussed by the Committee in due course.

Chris reiterated an earlier point that he is not concerned about the dip in membership numbers as it is more controlled. There are more clubs in the area, which offers more choice to riders. However, he also noted that the majority of the people in the room have been involved with the club from 2012 onwards with only two new faces from 2016/17.

For a lot of people, Croft Trail and MB Swindon has always been there as they are relatively new to them. As such, they have not seen all the input and effort that has gone in to creating the facility and club.

Q – Are there any plans to offer an additional level of training course from the club?

A – Pete, one of the instructors, said that in order to run the next level of training you really needed to be doing it frequently so as to maintain the level of skill required. As a volunteer, this is not possible and so he did not feel it appropriate to be running these types of courses. Nor is it viable for the club to offer.

Q – Could we arrange for external trainers to run local sessions for the club?

A – The terrain available locally doesn’t lend itself well to the types of courses discussed. The training providers often have dedicated training features and routes to allow them to instruct the skills. We will look in to whether we can arrange a club specific session with some of these providers and get a discounted rate on their public prices.

Committe position update

After the meeting had finished, but before attendees had dispersed Jerome Crametz came forward for the Social Events Officer role. As all the attendees were still in the room Kat called their attention and informed them of this, a vote was taken and all within the room voted in favour of Jerome taking the position. As such Jerome was voted on to the Committee.

2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM)

It’s that time of year where we report back on what the club has achieved, take a look at the statistics and accounts. We will also be holding the elections for the following Committee positions:

  • Chairperson
  • Ladies Officer
  • Social Events Officer

If you are interested in any of the vacancies please feel free to contact the current position holder, contact details on the Club Staff page. Alternatively take a look at the Club Constitution which describes the roles.

Agenda

  1. Introduction and welcome
  2. Review of the year
    • Finances
    • Rides and events
    • Ladies activities
    • Croft trail
  3. Election
  4. Discussion

We will also have a presentation from BMX Wroughton on the progress of the Wroughton Pump Track build.

Any questions please drop us an email – info@mbswindon.co.uk

Please remember that to be able to vote on items at the AGM (Committee elections) you will need to be a valid MB Swindon member. So please check your membership is up to date. If you’ve misplaced / lost your card you can check your renewal date on the website – www.mbswindon.co.uk/membersonly

Food

If you fancy a bite to eat ahead of the meeting, The White Hart serve a carvery until 6pm.

Helping us, help you

As a club we rely on volunteers to make things happen, this starts with the members of the Committee and continues with the ride leaders, the web admins and other ad hoc roles. People giving up their time to provide services to you.

The sad time has come when we say goodbye to two members of the Committee, they have served us well but for their own reasons it is now time to step down. Plus we have an unfilled vacancy. Full details on this on the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) page.

We need new blood to further develop the club and Croft Trail so we are asking you to consider if you have any skills that will help move the club forward.

  • Could you be the next Chairperson, Ladies Officer or Social Events Officer?
  • Do you have skills to help with trail building and maintenance?
  • Are you skilled in communication, marketing and promotion?
  • Would you like to share your story with other members?

If you have skills you would like to share with the club please let us know using the Volunteer with the Club form.

Since it’s founding in February 2010 MB Swindon has provided a focal point for mountain bikers in Swindon and beyond. The club is one of the first newer cycle clubs in the Swindon area and its ethos can be seen filtering through into other clubs. It would be a shame for it to be lost amongst the crowd, so please consider if you can help.

Christmas discount on kids bikes at Hargroves Swindon

As a club we may not offer rides for kids, but the team at Hargroves Swindon are offering the following discount for the younger members of your family.

On presentation of your membership card you will get 15% off all full priced kids bikes in the run up to Xmas (offer ends 24/12/2017). They will even hold them up until Xmas Eve for you.

The shop also offers paid up members of the club a regular discount, full details on the Members Only Page.