January 2019 Top Talk

Pat McManus, President

Welcome to 2019!  My first action as your new president is to thank Chip Kyle for doing this job in such an able, patient and amiable manner for 3 years! Please greet him out there with a huge smile and a big thank you for all his hard work. Three other members of the Board are also exiting – Membership Secretary Lori Buffington, Road Captain Sarah Hill, and Member-at-Large Jeff Marshall. All three have had positive impacts on functioning of the Board and the Club and will be missed. Thank you, all!

As I write this I wonder what the next year will bring to our club. The current discussions regarding the club name and the club’s event ride, the Pioneer Century (PC), make it clear that we are feeling pressure to re-examine our place in Portland’s active cycling community. Given that an event ride is singular but a club’s name is its brand and so its identity, the movement to change the club name may be the more salient indicator of the need for self-examination. The name that has surfaced as first choice is Portland Bicycling Club. There were over 170 opinions regarding possible names to consider, so a little background on how this particular title emerged as one of the top five is in order.

The Board tallied the names according to patterns and number of suggestions within each pattern. Almost 100 of you suggested some form of Portland Bicycling Club, including Portland Cycling Club, Portland Bike Club, Portland Bicycle Club, PDX Bicycling Club and more. You may ask why not Portland Cycling Club? This was certainly popular, but the initials are already in common use for Portland Community College. Why not ‘bicycle or bike club’? Feedback from some of our riders led to the use of bicycling rather than bicycle because bicycling is an action, whereas bicycle is a noun. Some of us may be bicycle collectors, but we like to think we are a club of action rather than collection! Rose City Cyclists was popular in our survey, but fell in ranking when paired against Portland Bicycling Club. Rose City Cyclists in Thomasville, GA, will never know how close they came to having another club claim that name! Some form of “wheel” (wheelers, wheel women, wheel people, wheeling) showed up in more than 20 suggestions, but ultimately it came in last in a field of 5. We couldn’t use some suggestions because they were already in use either in Portland or elsewhere or claimed as domain names. Some creative suggestions included Portland Oregon Older Pedalers (POOP), Handlebar Rappers, Old Farts on Wheels, PDX Bipsycolists, and Cranky Crankers. Hopefully, reasons for their exclusion are obvious, but special thanks to the folks who submitted them.

Although I am prepared to lead our club regardless of the future vote, my own preference is Portland Bicycling Club. I feel that name (true or not) places us front and center in Portland and is the perfect name to pull in the diverse types of riders we see in the Portland area. Stay tuned for an announcement signaling the final vote at a club meeting. Your presence at that club meeting is required for a vote of this significance. Our Club constitution does not allow for online voting; however, perhaps that is something worth discussion at another time.

A Club cannot be static and still appeal to future generations. Expect to see change, this year and future years. Change can be interesting, exciting, scary, disliked, or surprising. But also expect some things won’t change. We’ll still aim to provide at least one group ride per day year-round; we’ll still be meeting to socialize and hear news every month at a club meeting. We’ll still be emphasizing safety on our rides, and we’ll still want to hear your stories and opinions. So Happy New Year! Here’s to a happy, healthy and safe 2019!