July 2019 Top Talk -Portland Bicycling Club

July 2019 Top Talk

There have been inquiries about several issues facing our Club. I’d like to use this month’s Top Talk to address one of these.

The Pioneer Century was placed on hiatus for 2019 as we address its weaknesses. It requires a substantial investment in volunteer hours and a significant outlay of our income, but similar to other event rides, registrations have significantly decreased compared to just five years ago.  We are not alone. Not too long ago, Cycle Oregon Classic was sold out and into a waiting list within hours of opening registration. As of today, months after rollout, they are still advertising that registration is open. The Cascade Bicycle Club, which in the past easily maxed out their STP ride at full capacity of 10,000, dropped the limit to 8,000 when reaching 10k became problematic. Last year even that goal was not met, and this year’s registration is still open just weeks away from the event. Cycle Oregon’s Weekend Event went on hiatus this year as they regroup and decide on its future. The Beaverton Banks and Beyond ride has been permanently sidelined.

Our decision regarding whether or not to go forward with the Pioneer Century in 2020 is yet to be made, but we are beginning to address the challenges of creating a fabulous event ride against a backdrop of many competing wonderful rides. What is the composite of a great event ride? Beautiful scenery; good food; route variety for different skill levels; good weather; reasonable fees; a great cause; fortuitous timing relative to other event rides; a great start location; safe, low traffic roads; and happy, enthusiastic volunteers. What can we do to enhance these in our own Pioneer Century in an effort to increase registrations? Or should we decrease expenses and volunteer hours to make the most of the flat registrations? Should we change the route? Increase fees? Change the start location? Create a more extravagant finish line? What?

The Board has approved a motion to assemble a small Pioneer Century Planning Committee (outreach has begun), dubbed the PCPC, to propose an event to the Board for consideration. Your opinions matter and could form the tools this committee needs to critically review and revamp our ride. We already have a spot for you to voice those thoughts, and it is right here at the bottom of this page (you need to be logged in to make a comment so that contributors are not anonymous). Comments welcome!

Pat McManus, President