With the larger growth of cycling in Halton, and the growth of the club, I am proud of the fact that we are one of the most respected cycling clubs in the area. But this success has brought about its own set of problems.
Unfortunately this year we have received a large number of complaints regarding our group sizes, from the Rec group up to Group 4. Complaints have come from the community, drivers, ride marshals and club members who no longer enjoy the rides or feel safe. Our club has grown over the years, most recently last year we had over 500 members! In an attempt to address safety concerns, parking issues and lack of volunteers, we capped membership this year at 450 riders. The executive group has decided that this strategy was inadequate and we have continued to have the same issues so we have had to make the following decisions:
- Effective immediately, all group rides, from Rec to Group 4 will now be limited to a maximum of 15 riders per group (including the RM). To facilitate this, we will require TWO ride marshals to sign up in order for the ride to proceed. Ride marshal #1 will select the route as has been the practice, and the second RM will be present to guide if more than 15 riders show up. Ride marshals will allow a safe distance (1km) between the two groups out on the route. The second group will not try to catch or pass the first group and will try to maintain the safe distance behind (unless the first group has stopped for an issue or mechanical). If two ride marshals do not sign up for the ride, it will be cancelled. As the season progresses, if the numbers become fewer we will re-evaluate and consider returning to 1 ride marshal per group.
- For the 2019 season, we will be capping membership at 350 members. Previous members who have ride marshaled a minimum of TWO rides or have volunteered in the club will be given priority for membership. Second priority will be given to other members and if there is still room left over after that, membership will be opened to the general public. Please note that this year membership filled up very quickly and we have people asking to be on a waiting list for next year. At this time, the only exceptions to the membership cap that have been permitted are for Group 5 that has smaller numbers and only at the request of a member of that group are exceptions being allowed.
- Guests are not welcome on our rides, even if they have a membership with another club, are OCA members and covered by insurance. Out of respect for the paying members of our club, we cannot allow guests when we are already struggling with such large groups.
The executive group is hopeful that additional riders will step-up to ride marshal and we will not have to cancel rides. For anybody who would like to volunteer but has not already signed up to do so, please click this link and complete the form: https://goo.gl/forms/