…I have no empirical evidence for this, I just know it.
It doesn’t matter how big we are, how awesome our kit is, or how many races we win, mentions in the media, awards won or industry accolades. These are not the reasons we are great.
The Club Is Awesome Because It Is All About The Members.
Everything that the club does is to benefit the membership. If an idea doesn’t benefit you and me, then we don’t want to know about it. The committee that works tirelessly behind the scenes is continually asking themselves this exact same question.
The committee are all there because they love cycling. You won’t see them making a big song and dance about what they have accomplished, because they love what they do. They don’t seek accolades, but I would like to thank them sincerely and with heartfelt admiration for their efforts.
You might not see what the committee does. Most of the work is behind the scenes – making racing safer, providing more training, balancing the books, preparing the next social event, etc. Some of the work will not be realised for years to come; such as the development of the inner Melbourne criterium facility. The committee does a great job and are the driving force behind the growth and success of the club.
With Membership Comes Great Responsibility
You are probably reading this because you are an SKCC member (or you are a rival club trying to understand why SKCC is so awesome!).
SKCC is a not-for-profit club. Contrary to some bizarre rumours, we don’t make profit, and we don’t have a huge war-chest. We have reserves for a few months, but not much beyond that.
A little over 20% of your annual licence fees go to SKCC – the rest goes to Cycling Australia. Most of our revenue comes from crit racing and kit sales. These funds are put straight back into running racing and buy more kit – we always aim to break even on these.
To keep our costs down we rely on volunteers for many activities. Volunteering keeps the costs down, but more importantly it creates the social bonds that keep the club operating as a single unit. I know that volunteering can feel like a drag, but I would ask you to think of what you can get out of being a volunteer:
• meet new members
• make new friends
• learn more about this great club
• that warm glow of being part of a successful event and club
• free race entry and a snazzy Hi-Viz vest!
Another option is to get in early and volunteer your efforts where you have a skill or interest. Recently one of our club champions approached me to see if they could get involved in training new riders in bunch skills and race skills. Keep your eyes out for a new training program to be launched when the weather starts to warm.
I am not going to single out and name everyone of the committee members and volunteers who have contributed to this great club. There are too many to list (and I am sure to forget someone).
What Has This Focus On Members Achieved?
The last year has been another fantastic 12 months for the club. The growth of the club has been so solid and continual that it would be easy to take it for granted (we don’t). This year the club became the largest racing club in Australia and we will break the 1,000 membership in the next couple of months. While this is a great outcome, it is important to remember that membership growth is NOT the target. The target is meeting the cycling needs of the membership (see above section). The membership will continue to grow as long as the club provides services that members value.
To keep on top of what members want, we will be conducting another members survey in 2013. Please take the time to fill this out when you see it in your inbox. This will let us know what we need to focus our efforts on in the next 24 months.
Other memorable outcomes for 2012/13 include:
• Fantastic race numbers across all grades and despite some awful weather
• Reduced race entry fees for all members as the SKCC crits
• Development of a relationship with Bicycle Victoria to share recreational licenses
• Ridewiser as ClubPro and graded training rides
• Development of the biggest handicapping system in cycling in Australia (IMHO)
• Improved race safety and a race safety committee
• The SKCC accounts are spotless and we now report and function in a way that would be the envy of many businesses
• Members Protection scheme rolled out to member
• Racing at the Bay St festival
• MTB racing and training growing at a fantastic pace
• SKCC women winning everything they throw themselves at
• Kicked off the SKCC track team with wins across the board at the state club champs
• Biggest single-day crit ever held in Australia – the SKCC Super Crit held on Dec 23.
Another fantastic aspect of the club is the number and diversity of teams that are part of SKCC. These range from informal social groups all the way through to the neo pro. I love it when I see a one of the elite teams volunteering just like everyone else. Seeing O2 and StayTrue riders with a broom in their hands tells me the club has a great future.
These club groups are great ways for new members to learn and develop. For example; I have watched the Musette group of riders expand and develop for many years. New riders are welcomed to the group, helped to train and supported in racing. The same applies for many other groups within the club. These groups will become even more important as the club grows.
What Are The Next Challenges For The Club?
Our number one challenge is a permanent criterium facility in inner Melbourne. I have written about this before. It is a huge challenge, but with the help of Cycling Victoria and Melinda Jacobsen we are moving forward. If you can help here, let us know. If you ever meet a pollie in the street let them know your support for this facility.
Sponsorship is also a challenge. Much of this is a challenge in a good way; lots of people want to be associated with our club. The challenge with sponsorship is to choose the right sponsors and make sure that both parties benefit from the relationship. Working and developing relationships with the ever growing number of bike shops and bike brands is also a challenge.
Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place in August. If you have a passion for cycling put up your hand – you can put in as much or as little time as you are able. We are particularly looking for skills in racing, communications, social planning, IT and the management of sponsors. In particular we are looking for someone with the passion to take up the role of Race Director and for another representative on the Northern Combine committee.
I have had a wonderful time as President of this great club for the last 2 years. Now it is time for me to step aside and welcome some new blood and ideas.
I am really proud of what the club has been able to do. As President, I have been blessed with a fantastic committee and volunteers that share a passion for cycling and have been willing to devote their time for all of our benefit.
As a last word, I would also like to thank everyone for their enormous levels of support when I crashed in August last year. The damage to my femur was pretty bad, but the amazing amount of support and best-wishes really, truly helped.