A number of members have recently expressed concern at the serious decline in club membership during the past four years. Since I am not familiar with any possible causes of the problem I have asked Ray for his opinion, his comments follow. ed
Recent official figures showed cycle use is falling as the proportion of adults who cycle at least once a month fell to 14.7 per cent last year. The decline of more than a third of a million people was most pronounced in Eastern England, the South East and South West. Rates remained flat in London and the West Midlands. Cycling organisations blamed the Government for failing to provide adequate funding for cycle infrastructure and safety fears on the part of would-be cyclists.
With regard to the club, one obvious reason for a decline in membership is the demise of the club Newsletter which was a very popular publication and particularly enjoyed by the many non-riding members. We are proud that we managed to produce fifty Newsletters in the first five years of the club's existence. However, since Steve Birkin took over the job in September 2013 he only managed to produce seven Newsletters during the following two years, and none at all since September 2014.
Furthermore, the suggestion at the AGM that the production of the Newsletter is not worth the effort is ridiculous. You don't need articles, (as suggested) just snippets and the odd photograph/clipart which can be easily cut and pasted from the club website.
Every three months a runs list is produced and sent by post to all members without broadband facilities, so the only additional effort needed was to place one piece of paper into the recipients envelopes. It took us a maximum of two hours to produce and post the club Newsletter to our members with the runs lists.
When we produced our last of fifty Newsletters during 2013 the club had around thirty members without email facilities. It is no coincidence that following the demise of the Newsletter there is now less than half that number of club members without email facilities.
Another possible factor resulting in the decline in club membership is the recent decision to remove the £5 non-riding membership which was popular among many non-riding members. This is yet another reason for those who are no longer able to ride with the club not to renew their memberships.
During early 2012 the club membership stood at around 170, since then the membership has slumped to around 130; meaning the club has lost 40 members in only four years. This represents a massive disaster and is yet another classic example of how the present committee have ruined all the excellent work of the original club committee. Immediate action should be taken to address these problems by the committee without delay.
Other topics recently highlighted included the website and the runs lists. There was disappointment that the runs list was being produced in what one member called 'code' (without the inclusion of the alternative and car-assisted rides). Also some were disappointed that the popular 'real time' facilities had been withdrawn without reason. I understand it would be a simple matter to reinstate the 'real time' runs facility, providing the runs secretary was prepared to occasionally spend a couple of minutes protecting the completed cells. These and other highlighted topics will be addressed during the next few weeks. In the meantime thanks for all your comments, please keep them coming. ed