What You Like, What You Want Changed, and How the Club Can Do It
We had 77 members respond to the membership survey last month. If you would like to see what those surveys told us, a breakdown by the general numbers is here, information on the questions specific to the Harpeth River Ride is here, and the detailed comments in response to various questions are here.
For the most part, it looks as if most members are content with what the club has been doing; however, we’ve noticed some trends on our rides, and the survey results seem to support these observations. Here’s what we are going to do short-term to address these issues:
- Although there is only one more month for these, the official Tuesday and Thursday evening rides are going to change a bit. The ride leaders will attempt to ensure that there is a sweeper for each route being used that night, and that those rides will once again regroup at set locations — particularly for the “B” and “C” group. When we have a newcomer to one of these rides, the ride leader will talk with them about the route options and work with the other members at the ride to ensure that someone is watching out for our guest.
- We’re also going to try to bring back the “post-ride get-together” that used to be a staple of these weeknight rides. To kick things off last Thursday, a few of us went to La Hacienda after the ride — it’s a fun way to get to know better some of the folks with whom we bike. I’ll be doing that again tonight.
- This spring, we will add a Beginner’s Ride on Monday nights. Plans are still in progress, but the ride will probably be 10-15 miles long, running from the Titans stadium parking lot into Shelby Bottoms and back. Speed limit will be 14 mph, with at least three regroups. Afterwards, we can all go somewhere for coffee, beer, ice cream, or maybe food. The goal of these rides is to give beginners a chance to ride in a mostly traffic-free setting, ask any questions that they have of someone who’s spent a lot of time on a bike (the ride leader, which will at least initially be me), and get to know other members.
- We’re going to start working more closely again with area bike shops. We will be reprinting the club’s flyer and putting those back in the shops, so people new to the area can more easily find us. We’re also going to add a page to the site with links to shops so that members can see what kinds of classes and rides those shops are offering. There’s a lot going on in middle Tennessee that all of our members may not know about — we need to spread that information around.
- One comment that we’ve heard from folks is that we need to vary the starting location for our rides. We can’t do much about that with the regular routes (Tuesday, Thursday, and the Pancake Ride), but we would like to do that on Saturday rides. Since these routes are all designed and led by members, I am challenging all members to come up with routes in new and interesting areas — one hour’s drive from Nashville or less — and sign up to lead rides on those routes next year. Let’s also try to make sure that those routes have multiple levels of difficulty to them, both in length and terrain. Not everybody is comfortable riding 75 hilly miles, so we’re going to try to vary the challenge level of our rides from week to week, and try to offer short and long options — with sweepers at every level.
The last item highlights the people most responsible for any changes that the club can make — the Members of the Harpeth Bike Club. Maybe we can’t be everything to everybody, but we can all try to support our core mission of “Promoting Safe, Friendly, and Fun Cycling throughout Middle Tennessee.” We are not a racing club, but racers and other fast riders should be just as welcome to ride with us as beginners … or even those of us who just like to sometimes ride a little more slowly. So long as you are riding safely, whether you’re here to get a workout or see some beautiful country you should be welcome at a Harpeth Bike Club Ride.
But that welcome must come from each of us as members. If you see a new face, introduce yourself. If someone is having trouble, offer help. If someone is doing something that seems dangerous to you, find a nice way of letting that someone know of your concern.
Beyond that, I’m putting out a call for volunteers in some of these key areas. If you haven’t led a ride before and know of some routes that we don’t frequent, volunteer to lead a ride in the spring. If you want to help make riders of all levels comfortable, volunteer to shepherd a group on one of the regular routes and/or a Saturday ride.
This club can only do what the members are willing to do. The club leadership is willing to make some changes because we want the club to continue — are you willing to change as well?
Thanks for reading. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding any of this.
Robert A. Hendry
President, Harpeth Bike Club