April 2019 Top Talk
Why be a member of our club? We welcome nonmembers to ride with us, but let me draw attention to the benefits of being a bona fide, paid-up member, and how dues work for you. First and central, we have a modern, beautiful website! You ask, “Why is this so important to membership?” If you ride with us regularly, consider how many times you open that site to check on ride schedules. You may be using portlandbicyclingclub.com every weekend or even every day to decide on what ride to do next. Besides just knowing what rides are happening, there are bonuses.
For example, you can download a ride to your own calendar:
…and find start locations for each day’s rides by clicking the map icon next to the date:
…which takes you to a Google map:
Website development and maintenance are primarily done by our hardworking volunteer web committee, and ride entries by our road captains. Thank these folks next time you see them: webmaster Cindy Bernert-Coppola, committee members Alan Coppola and Mark Hartel, and road captains Rob Schroeder and Darin Swanson. They are the ones keeping us afloat!
What else does this website offer? Logging into your account gains you access to a treasure trove of perks, e.g., the directory of all active members, your mileage to date, contact information for all our officers and organizational volunteers, our lending library that includes books and DVDs, and our map library. Personally, I strongly recommend Going Somewhere, A Bicycle Journey Across America:
But wait, that’s not all. Your membership gets you discounts at several local bike shops, monthly newsletters, access to our club’s Ride with GPS membership, a members-only summer picnic with prizes, a discounted members-only winter banquet with prizes and awards, monthly social/business club meetings that include presentations and snacks, and liability and gap medical insurance for every member (non-members only have coverage for one ride per year).
Everything I have listed is what you see above the surface, highly visible, tangible benefits; but where do your dues go? Your dues help pay for the underlying support that backs up all these activities: food, storage and facility fees, website maintenance fees, insurance, accounting/office fees, our designated phone line, and, when we are feeling flush, our donations. Our donations are how we give back to the community and how the Club works to support our stated mission of “supporting safe cycling and programs for youth.” Our yearly donations are to organizations that we know support our mission, such as Community Cycling Center and the NW Bicycle Safety Council.
Perhaps most important to our members, we are a social club that emphasizes safe cycling on all our rides and has a diversity of ride types, from city to rural, short to long, slow to fast, and small group to large group. Ours is a social club in that our riders love to gab about their favorite places to ride and the gear they use, but the conversations go beyond those. We talk of vacations, families, pets, and more. These are the reasons we ride as a club. There are certainly tangibles, but the intangibles are countless and invaluable!