Future of the Pioneer Century -Portland Bicycling Club

Future of the Pioneer Century

The board has reviewed the performance of the Pioneer Century over the past several years and we are concerned about its success and the contribution that our invitational ride makes to the club.  We have observed the following:

  • For the last five years we have watched the number of participants steadily decline.
  • Despite enjoying perfect weather for the 2018 edition, we had one of the lowest turnouts ever – slightly more than 400 riders, less than we had hoped for.
  • Declining participation in club sponsored event rides is a general trend throughout the region – not just limited to the Pioneer.
  • It is progressively more difficult to fill all the volunteer positions needed to run the event. There are 107 volunteer positions needed to run the event totaling 424 hours.  74 club members volunteered for those 107 positions, meaning that some members pulled double duty.
  • We now have to pay volunteer organizations to staff rest stops in order to conduct the ride.
  • There is considerable volunteer fatigue due to the STP Finish Line support requirements that follow shortly on the heels of the Pioneer.
  • In the past, we used to generate substantial income from the Pioneer to fund our charitable contributions. Now, we are barely breaking even, generating just $2,000 in 2018, less than $1,000 in 2017 and a loss in 2016.
  • Brian Hammer’s efforts to cut costs in 2018 saved us almost $3500. Without these efforts, we would have lost money on the 2018 Pioneer.  Additional cost saving ideas have been identified, but they generate less savings and could impact the quality of the event.

The board believes that the time, energy and expense needed to conduct the Pioneer Century currently outweighs the benefit the club receives.  Consequently, the board has made a decision to not hold a 2019 Pioneer Century, allowing the club to re-think, re-structure and re-brand the ride.