MB Swindon AGM
The White Hart, Stratton, Swindon
25 February 2018
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.
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.
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A – Apart from a couple of mistakes, partly down to using out of date membership data there have been no comments or issues raised after this activity was carried out.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.
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:
- labour intensive to maintain
- 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.
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
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.
The Committee gave following awards:
- Outstanding contribution to the club
- Tom Scott
- King of the hill
- Micky Duller
- Top cake provider
- Sarah Bailey
- Most attended rides
- Steve Jeans
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.