The COVID-19 lockdown curtailed club rides just at the time that we would have been ramping up our activities, with the annual “Tour de Isle-of-Wight” being an early victim of the restrictions. Many of us took the opportunity to embrace virtual cycling platforms and have emerged from lockdown arguably stronger than ever.
The admin team also took the opportunity to review the fitness of the club, so that as restrictions continue to ease, we can continue to expand and improve the club to meet members expectations.
Having worked on these plans for the past few months and following positive feedback from active and prospective members, we are excited to announce the following “relaunch” plan.
1. Club Vision
The founding vision of the club was to be inclusive and social, balancing enthusiasm for cycling with providing a great experience for all members. This remains our vision, though we also aim to do more to support those members that want to achieve competitive results in the future.
To achieve our objectives, we believe that it is fundamentally necessary to expand the club membership, our visibility and recognition in the local community, by providing or supporting an appropriate range of activities.
The details of the plan are all intended to help us achieve this vision.
2. Club Website
Free platforms, including WhatsApp and Strava, enabled us to get the club started and have been key to our co-ordination for the past 6-years. However, we have reached the limit in terms of being able to communicate effectively to a broad group of members and just as importantly, to provide key information to new and prospective members.
For these reasons, we decided that we needed our own club website to manage our communication to members, external audiences and the broader community. Although there is still some work to do, the site is functionally complete and will continue to be updated over the coming months. We hope that members will contribute to the content that we share with members and external groups in the future.
This post contains further information on future plans and requirements for the website, please feel free to get involved with this project as appropriate.
3. Club Rides
The weekly ‘club runs’ are at the heart of the club and we will continue to optimise these as the club expands. We are not planning any major changes at this point, but will build around our current format:
- Saturday – will remain a non-drop ride, with ride groups offering options for speed and distance as required. We will aim to brings groups together for coffee during or at the end of rides wherever possible.
- Wednesday – the chain gang is proving as popular as ever. In recent weeks we have trialled an alternative “summer route” and plan to mix the rides between the two regular routes, with the “Esher Loop” being our sole winter route. As group sizes have increased, we will start to formalise the pace groups in the coming weeks, to maintain safety and ensure that everyone gets an enjoyable ride at an appropriate pace. Keep an eye on the Club News for further details.
- Monday – in the summer months, some club members have ridden hill repeats on a Monday evening and we will introduce this as a scheduled club event shortly.
- ‘Adverse Weather’ – if there is such as thing 😊 we will aim to schedule group rides on Zwift or Road Grand Tours in the event that a club ride has to be cancelled due to weather conditions or for safety reasons. We will canvas members to determine the most popular platforms.
Further information on the weekly rides is available online here, and other updates will be posted in the Club News.
In addition to the weekly rides, we are working to expand our ‘one off’ rides, which are typically longer distance and/or in other areas of the country. Details of ideas and plans will be posted online – see the post for the “Anniversary Ride” and “Cheddar and Gorge” the Club News section has a sidebar specifically for this type of post. Given the impact of COVID restrictions, we currently think there is scope for at least 3 rides of this type before the end of summer, but please let us know your thoughts.
We will continue to use the Strava group to publish rides and track attendance, with further details on logistics being posted on the website. The website will also provide a longer-term view of planned rides, with the aim being to publish a rolling 3-month view of rides and routes.
We will also continue to use WhatsApp for group communication, but this will become less relevant for ride co-ordination and more about addressing immediate messaging or questions – it will likely remain invaluable when needing to find riders in the infamous “Newdigate triangle”!
4. Club Kit
The club kit is key to our visual identity, the aim was always to make Walton Velo C.C. distinctive and instantly recognisable. As an affiliated club, we must work within restrictions defined by British Cycling and the kit has met our needs over the past 6-years.
However, there was a feeling that as we expanded it would be increasingly difficult to maintain uniformity with a club kit that encompassed everything except chamois cream! For this reason, we have decided to focus our club identity around the club jersey and provide personal choice for other key garments and accessories, such as shorts and mitts, within common sense colour guidelines.
Due to supply issues with Kalas we had already switched to a great new jersey design, supplied by Stolen Goat, and we have updated this slightly for the relaunch. This design will now define the Walton Velo C.C. identity for at least the next 3-years and will only be changed with agreement of the members.
There will be a limited range of other club branded garments offered – including a winter jersey and rain cape – and these, whilst optional, will be available to club members at a great price.
Details and sizing guides are included on the website and the club admins will collect order details directly until we have the ordering system running on the website. The aim is to submit the initial order on 1st August, with a follow-on order shortly afterwards.
This post contains further information on the new club kit.
For those who have recently purchased the ‘SG’ jersey, fear not, the changes are minimal and these jerseys can seamlessly form part of the club kit.
5. Club Membership
We believe that club membership provides good value for money, but we are determined to make it even more so by offering updated membership packages. Full details of the packages and benefits can be found here and are summarised below:
- The 1st-year Members Package will include the club jersey (short sleeve) and two club branded water bidons.
- The price of £90 is essentially the same as buying an ‘off the shelf’ jersey from any leading brand.
- The £30 price of the renewal package has been maintained from previous years and includes all the noted member benefits.
We have received a number of questions regarding insurance and this post should help to clarify the situation – we will now make it a condition of membership that every member demonstrates that they have adequate third-party cycle insurance. We have chosen not to make membership of British Cycling a condition of membership, but it’s worth highlighting that new club members do get a significant reduction on first year membership of British Cycling and that they offer a good range of insurance options. The club has also negotiated a 10% discount on cycle insurance with Yellow Jersey, please contact Bruce Karsten for details or to get the necessary discount code.
It will take a few weeks for the changes to bed down, especially with the holiday period now upon us, so we will only press the ‘reset’ button on the WhatsApp and Strava groups on 21st August 2020. After this date, these groups will be reset to include only current members of the club.
We hope that everyone is onboard with these changes and that the majority of current and past members will choose to ‘re-join’ the club and take Walton Velo Cycle Club forward.