Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Life Moves On

I feel a bit confused. On one side of me a group to which I belong is growing unexpectedly, on the other side of me a group of which I am a life member is struggling to see its own irrelevance. I fear it will die, and of course, this would be a tragedy.

CastleCyclists is growing and thriving because it is as inclusive as it says it is. It provides something for every type of cyclist, strong and weak, young and old, new and experienced. We can ride at any speed we like to a planned destination and once there we can cross swords and have a laugh with all those that rode there faster or slower than us, sharing our experiences.

CyclingUK meanwhile is over a hundred years old and my section isn't much younger. The problem is that the members are all experienced cyclists, and the rides they organise are only for experienced cyclists. My section doesn't attract new members, or younger members, or curious beginners, because it doesn't see their needs. That's hardly surprising when all but one of the committee are retired, and I'm the youngest at 53.

I volunteered for the committee two years ago when it was facing extinction, thinking that I had the power to stop this tragedy. But I'm beginning to wonder. Maybe it ought to be left to die. Maybe, as the members age, the club ages too, and will one day diminish to the point of no return. Judging by the numbers of people turning up on rides, I think it's close to that point already. Younger people don't want to be involved because they see a club for “old people”.

Can anything be done about this image? I don't think so. Even as we stand behind the stall in the market place, we demonstrate that that's precisely what we are.

So then. If I were to decide to organise something new, should I do so under the banner of Cycling UK? Probably not, because there are more forward thinking organisations which deserve support. That, and also I wouldn't want the smell of death to haunt me.

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