Club Development

A Proposed Development Plan for the Club- June 2014

Looking ahead – is there a future for the club?

We are a small club, with around 50 paid-up members. Membership numbers are largely static, neither rapidly growing or declining.

The focus of the club reflects our member’s main interests. We are mainly adult (male) road cyclists with an interest in competitive cycling and training, riding distances in the 40 to 100 km range at moderate to high speeds (30kmh +). Criterium racing is a particular interest. Our events draw cyclists from across the Northern Rivers, are well-regarded and largely give the club it’s profile in the region. Because of this competitive focus we operate under the umbrella of Cycling Australia (CA), which is responsible for running competitive road cycling nationally. CA, and the services it provides, are mainly focussed on competitive and high performance cycling.

Financially, the club is under continual pressure to remain solvent. Around 80% of members fees go to Cycling Australia and Cycling NSW (CANSW). The club is also obliged to pay other costs to CANSW such as sanctioning of race, sponsorship approval fees, etc. The balance of funds barely covers running costs (all club officials are unpaid). Criteriums mostly, but not always, pay for themselves and occasionally provide a small surplus.

We have a partially completed race track at the Byron Bay Sports Centre which was funded by the NSW government. Approximately $100,000.00 is required to complete the track. At the present time there appears little prospect of attracting this level of funding from government. In the absence of other sponsorship, we have no revenues to fund activities other than our basic operations.

Perhaps reflecting our relatively small membership and narrow focus, the club has limited influence with local council and other public agencies, and has had limited success in promoting cycling in the region and raising awareness of cycling matters that affect members.

And yet we live in an area that is ideal for cycling, with a local population that values healthy living and a large and growing influx of visitors with similar interests. On the face of it, there seems to be a significant potential to increase participation levels, based on a substantial unmet demand for structured cycling activities . As an example, there is active and increasing interest across the region in recreational riding, which at the present time is met largely through informal riding groups operating outside a club environment.

Arguably, Byron Bay Cycling Club is at a crossroads. If it ignores the broader potential interest in cycling that exists in the Byron region it runs the risk of being further sidelined. It is likely that another group or groups will emerge to represent those interests. But if the club is to respond to these challenges, how should it proceed?

A development plan for the club

Our responsibility as the club’s management committee is to represent the member’s interests. We need a considered and systematic approach to the role of the club should have within the cycling community. As the future of the club cannot be guaranteed we’re suggesting that the club needs a development plan that sets out simply and clearly:
• what the club will do
• why it will do it
• and how it will do it.
The Committee’s view after considerable investigation is that to remain viable and relevant the club needs to do a number of things including:

1. the promotion and development of road cycling and cycling safety in the Byron region.
2. an aim to cater to the needs of the full range of cyclists and cycling activities, from recreational through to competitive, encompassing fun, family, fitness and racing/competitive cycling, for the young and old, male and female.
3. to build it’s profile in the local and regional community, through developing productive relationships with government, potential sponsors and other cycling groups and the general community.
4. to look to partnering with organisations such as Bicycle Network (BN) who can provide us the professional infrastructure to attract and engross other parts of the cycling community that are not race or competitively focused.
5. to investigate opportunities of partnering to present cycling events that will increase the clubs profile and promote cycling in the region.
6. to specialise in a race format that brings quality racing into the area using our assets such as our criterium circuit.

These are ambitious aims, and certainly represent a shift away from business as usual. But our view is that the important first step is to recognise that business as usual may not be a viable option. If so we need to look for a consensus on a way forward that meets the needs of members, provides a future for the club and meets its obligation to promote safe cycling for everybody. If we can achieve this, then we can start to look at the practical steps that will steadily take the club down an agreed path. Our progress may well be slow at first, but the important point is that we know where we’re heading, and we can monitor our progress against our goals.

If we go down the path proposed, the character of the club will slowly change. While we think this will be for the better, and will provide a viable future for the club, it is important that members have the opportunity to consider our proposal and give us their views. We are inviting members to put forward their views so we can go ahead and work up the detail of the development plan.

To view our members feedback click here