Summary of 2017 AGM

MB Swindon AGM
The Southbrook Inn, Swindon
26 February 2017

Presentation given at the 2017 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
  • Richard – Events Secretary
  • Kat – Club & Membership Secretary
  • Debbie – Women’s Officer

2. Review of the year

a. Finances

Jason gave an overview of the accounts stating that it has been a hard year for the club with the loss of the Hargroves sponsorship, however without the race team to support there are lower outgoings and so we are back to a balance.

In 2016, the club took just over 230 membership fees, and £625 in training fees. Together these make the majority of the income (full details within the AGM presentation file).

The outgoing costs are mainly for administration this year, with the costs for Croft Trail being lower than previous years as the focus has been on maintenance. The machinery purchased last year required servicing and a new leaf blower was purchased to make clearing the autumn leaf fall easier.

There are still shirts in stock, available from the website.

Looking forward to 2017 the club is looking at additional merchandise offerings with the potential for a long sleeved shirt and the previously popular travel mug. There is also a requirement from Swindon Borough Council to source insurance for trail building activities, which is currently being investigated.

A major expenditure for 2017 will be the provision of first aid training for the ride leaders, this will be an advanced 2-day course covering outdoor activities to ensure they are suitable trained in the event of an incident on a ride. There will also be a 1-day course for those leading rides closer to populated areas, this course has some additional spaces which will be offered to members at a discounted rate.

A brush cutter will be purchased to help with trail maintenance, as it is more effective than a strimmer at clearing the nettles and thistles in the summer months.

With these expenditures there is a projection of a slight loss, however the first aid training is a 3 year cycle which has been accrued for rather than a yearly outgoing.

Q – There’s no mention of auditing costs, how is this being done?

A – There is no formal cost for this as it is being reviewed by an independent person rather than a formal audit, but there may be a small gesture to thank them for their time.

b. Ride events

Richard had reviewed the archive of events in 2016 and they totalled about 100, which equates to a couple per week (mid-week and weekend) with the majority being reasonably well attended. He then gave an overview of the locations the club rides have taken us in the last year, these included the following:

  • Cwmcarn
  • Forest of Dean (FoD)
  • Stroud
  • Exmoor – Quantocks
  • Local riding
  • Evening rides

Richard thanked Tom Scott and Michael Duller for stepping up and running the mid-week rides.

A big thank you was also given to all the ride leaders and tail gunners, as without them the rides would not run. They are the true ambassadors of the club.

Q – Who are the ride leaders?

A – They are all listed on the website, on the club staff page.

c. Ladies activities

Debbie gave an overview of the activities from 2016, stating that it had been a much better year than 2015. With key highlights being:

  • March – maintenance evening at Hargroves
  • Ladies only core skills training session with full attendance
  • September – Brechfa trip with 8 ladies attending and becoming a joint event in the end
  • October – there was a guest ride leader with Kristian’s Castle Coombe ride
  • December – Debbie and Kat hosted the Mulled Wine and Minces Pies event at Croft Trail.

Since last year’s ladies forum a messenger system has been implemented and been very successful in keeping ladies informed of what’s coming up and who else will be attending.

Rather than another face-to-face forum, an online forum was held where opinion was sought from the female membership and covered the types of rides available and what they wanted.

Debbie thanked the 4 ride leaders in the team and for helping her to fill the diary with rides for the ladies.

d. Club events

The club lost its Social Events Secretary, Sharon Yeates in July/August 2016, due to other pressures on her time. They thanked her for her contributions and informed the room that no-one had come forward in the interim to replace her.

During 2016 there was:

  • a well attended skittles evening
  • 2 open days at Croft Trail – aiming to encourage more use of the trail and inform users of the background to its existance
  • Hargoves Demo day
  • Swindon CycleFest – stand at a larger event with other clubs
  • Christmas event at Croft Trail

It is hoped that the 2017 Hargoves Demo Day won’t be in May and that other shops in the area will get involved in the day to increase the offering of bikes to demo. It is expected to be more of a family orientated event in June/July but nothing is confirmed.

The Swindon CycleFest was a good event and there are hopes that the 2017 one will be even better, but details are still being discussed about its format.

The Christmas event at the trail was well attended and it was surprising that 2 people who attended didn’t know about the trail.

e. Membership survey

Kat started by giving and overview of the membership statistics for 2016, which can be seen in the graph below:

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

She then gave an overview of the findings from the recent club membership survey, which was open for 11 days in February 2017. It was noted that the survey was open for a much shorter time period than the previous survey (ran in Spring 2015) but it a high uptake with 67 completing it  (86 completing in 2015). The key points covered are available within the AGM presentation file, this includes some quotes from participants about the positives of the club and an overview of what the club does well and what it could do to improve.

The committee noted that with the departure of the Social Events Officer that the social / non-bike riding side of the club has been somewhat neglected and it is hoped that with the elections for Committee positions that this can be addressed with a new post holder.

On the matter of communicating club events, there will be a review of the membership within the Facebook group as the size of the group is restricting the functionality available for inviting and sharing events. The club newsletter is also under review so as to decide what is the best approach to communicating with the membership.

Q – Will the survey be run again next year?

A – Yes, we agreed to run the survey every 3 years but decided it was worthwhile to get a quick gauge of how the membership felt at this point also. The 2018 survey will focus on the same aspects but will be open at the same time and for the same duration as the 2015 survey so as to get a better comparison of answers.

As an aside, Chris wanted to raise the reason for having membership and paperwork associated with attending rides organised by the club. In light of the recent court case against an instructor, it is even more important that members are aware of the risks of the activity they are participating in. The club has insurance for ride leaders through its affiliation with the national bodies and they attend a yearly meeting to ensure the best practices are being utilised.

f. Croft Trail

Chris reminded those present that the club exists for Croft Trail, the membership fees collected pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the trail. As such, the emphasis is still to provide this community facility for the residents of Swindon.

This year has seen the development of a new line where the first section of woodwork was removed, due to the wood beginning to rot. At the moment, it is prone to becoming a slushy mess but this will be worked on at the next build session.

In 2015 building sessions were started on a Friday evening as the core group of builders were able to work then. This also meant that they could still ride at the weekends. These sessions were more informal than the previous build weekends but Chris would post up on Facebook about where they would be, should anyone want to join them.

For 2017, there will be some surfacing work and improvements to some of the lines to make them work better. The very first section of the trail will be remodelled and smoothed out as it hasn’t had much work on it since its initial creation some years ago.

A new line will be developed near the log roll on Pipers Hill and tweaking to the new swooping line.

The aim has always to use as much of the land as available, and with the recent additions there is not much room to develop the trail further. The recent improvements have been to add optional lines so that you don’t have to use the same lines of each lap.

There is some remedial work required to address some of the surfacing issues, this is classed as ongoing maintenance but the costs of these are reducing each year.

Back in 2010 the trail was barely rideable in the winter months, whereas now it is pretty much an all-year facility.

Chris finished by saying that for the size of the land it has a lot squeezed into it, with no real complaints from the people who use it and many people enjoying it. In April 2017 the trail will be 9 years old and it really is a community facility, built by the community for the community.

Q – What is the situation with the dirt jumps area?

A – Originally there was some building happening within Croft Woods and the Council wanted to move these activities away from the area, so allowed the building within Croft Country Park. There have been several different groups take on the area, but there is no link with the club. A few years ago, the trail was slightly re-routed to move it away from the dirt jump area so as to separate the two activities. In the last few years it has been a few young lads working on the jumps, but it has been somewhat inconsistent. More recently a newer group have taken it on and appear to be doing some good work on improving it. However, in the winter months it hasn’t developed as much. The club still remains separate to this, but are supportive of the group moving it forward.

Q – What is the situation with trail signage, as there appears to be some critical markers missing?

A – It is currently being reviewed, with the hope that improvements can be made at the upcoming build weekend. The stash of signs and marker discs have been found, so shouldn’t be too difficult to implement.

3. Election of Committee

Kat oversaw the election of the available Committee positions in line with the amendment to the Club Constitution voted in the previous section.

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


Only one nomination was received – Jason Rodger

Vote: For – 15, Against – 0

Result: Jason re-elected as Treasurer

Events Offiver

An on the night nomination was received – Steffan James

Vote: For – 15, Against – 0

Result: Steffan elected as Events Officer

Social Events Officer

No nominations were received

Result: Position remains vacant

Due to this result, it was noted that should club members have ideas for social events that they could lead on single events with the support of the elected committee.

Awards ceremony

The Committee gave following awards:

  1. Trail Pixie
    • Stewart Mackay for all his efforts at keeping the trail clear of nettles, thistles and leaves
  2. Services to bike testing
    • Gary Palmer
  3. HoTs arm wrestling champion
    • Debbie Davies
  4. Application of Rule 5
    • Sharon Yeates

4. Discussion

  • Michael Duller thanked the club for the support he has received in becoming a ride leader.

Review of proposed cycling facilities within the local area

Kat gave an overview of the involvement the club has with proposed new cycling developments, they are:

  • Badbury Hill development
  • Wroughton Pump Track
  • Moredon Development

Badbury Hill

It was noted that at the last AGM there was a presentation on Badbury Hill development, from Nick Walmsley, Programme Manager, National Trust Headquarters. Since then there has been no further discussion from either the National Trust or British Cycling.

Having looked at the National Trust website, there appears to be no update on the plans to develop a cycling facility on the site. Looking at the local planning application site, there has been some objections to the development for a variety of reasons. The major concern appears to be around the access to the site and the fact that the road infrastructure would not support the increase in traffic to the site.

Should there be any further updates to this development, they will be communicated as appropriate.

Wroughton Pump Track

The club was approached just over a year ago about being involved in a proposal to develop a pump track within the village of Wroughton by an individual who had started making enquiries with the Parish Council. Since then discussions have taken place around how this might work and it was decided that due to the nature of the development that a separate group should be created to manage this. The club has been supportive along the way and has provided guidance on the process of setting up a club and tips about applying for funding, alongside the support offered by British Cycling.

The site of the development has been agreed by Wroughton Parish Council and will be in the recreation ground off Maunsell Way.

MB Swindon continues to support this development and will promote the activities of the group BMX Wroughton who are overseeing the project.

Moredon Development

The club was approached a couple of years ago by Swindon Borough Council about the potential to redevelop the Par 3 Golf Course site at Moredon into a cycling hub. Since then there have been meetings taking place to discuss the possibilities for the site, with the future looking like a multi-sport facility with the provision of a closed road circuit.

The club has continued to be engaged with these discussions and whilst not of direct interest to the club demographic, the addition of another cycling facility within the town can only be seen as a good thing.

The proposal for the site is now being finalised ahead of going out to public consultation, which will then lead to the next steps to get planning permission for the building of new infrastructure required on the site. It is expected that the site will include the following sports:

  • Community football – currently using the site
  • Community cricket – currently using the site
  • Croquet – currently using the site
  • Model Cars – currently using the site
  • Cyclocross permanant features – currently used for events with existing natual features
  • Closed road circuit
  • BMX / Pump track
  • Cycling proficiency / bikeability track

Further discussion

Q – What’s happening with race events?

A – Within the membership there has been drop in interest in these types of events. In 2016 we tried to focus on 4 events, but due to low interest from within the club and the wider mountain biking community this type of event has seen a decline.

Q – There’s been talk of a big yearly event for the club, what’s happening on that front?

A – Discussions have been had and ideas formed, with the proposal of doing a navigational type event – an MB Swindon Treasure Hunt. The aim to pilot it with club members first and then opening it up to a wider audience.

Chris re-iterated that the focus of the club should be on the trail, as this was the reason for founding the club. He wants to see more use of the trail for club activities as it is the unique selling point for the club.

The response from the room was mixed with the majority of those present joining the club to attend the rides and whilst they appreciate the trail, not all use it regularly.

Q – Why has there been a change to the approach to trail building? It now seems that there is a lack of inclusivity in the trail building sessions.

A – As mentioned in the review of Croft Trail within the main section of the AGM, the core team of builders have better availability on a Friday night and can better accommodate shorter sessions over a full weekend of building. The sessions have been advertised and there are still some weekend sessions being carried out.

Q – What has happened to Friday night rides?

A – Due to changes in availability and other commitments, the attendance at the previously popular Friday nights at the trail dwindled. A change of format was taken to make it a more social affair with a fire and brew, but the attendance did not change. Advertising of these evenings was therefore removed and those few regulars moved their focus to trail building activities.

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