It is my privilege once again to deliver the Bike Manawatu Chairman’s Report. I am pleased to report that the club despite a few hiccups remains strong and your Board remains committed to the Vision to be “the heart of New Zealand cycling”.
That Vision will remain a challenge if cycling continues to grow in popularity nationwide and as other regions are starting to get their respective cycling acts together. However, I firmly believe however that Bike Manawatu continues to set the standard that others look to. The challenge is to keep leading the way across all sectors.
It is always important to reflect on what we have done well and what we can improve on. Let’s firstly reflect on our successes. I wonder how many clubs in New Zealand can count two medal winning Olympians on their membership list?
Well done to Jesse Sergent and Simon van Velthooven for representing this region and this club at London 2012 and for being great ambassadors to the sport.
This club can claim a multitude of successes from Masters right down through the junior ranks to Under 15 grade. We have multi national champions and national titles from both road and track. We are seen by many outside the region as being the benchmark to which to aspire. And we have Colin Anderson. A world 24 hour record holder and then 65 times around Lake Taupo on turning 65 this year. The thought is mind blowing; the effort incredible.
While competitive racing is an essential part of the club, we continue as a club to put a great deal of resource and effort into our social riders and social events in an effort to both retain and attract new members and to help keep the sport to the forefront.
I was lucky enough to be in London during the Olympics and was left with two lasting legacies. The first being the catch cry “Inspiring a Generation”. Our Olympians have certainly done that.
Secondly and perhaps just as important was the role and terminology used for the thousands of volunteers - “Game Makers”.
Without the “Game Makers”, success for our athletes on the road and track would not be possible. This club like many others relies heavily on a wonderful group of “Game Makers”, our volunteers who unselfishly contribute to running the almost weekly events, often multiple weekly events over most weeks of the summer, autumn and spring seasons. It is not uncommon for a single week to have two track meetings, a time trial, Sunday ride and often a Saturday road race.
I have not personally counted the number of events run by the club each year but I would not be surprised for there to be at least a hundred.
Each event needs an organiser, a manager, a recorder, helpers, judges and often a traffic management plan and commissaire.
The total hours engaged by our “Game Makers” would be staggering.
What I do want to say unreservedly is a huge thank you to all the “Game Makers”. You know who you are. We cannot function without you. On behalf of the Board, thank you.
In terms of the Board, I personally want to thank you for the clear strategic thinking, considerate planning, wise counsel and enthusiasm you have brought to the table this year. It is not always an easy job, but when you reflect on the years work and the results achieved you can be well pleased.
During the year two of our Board members Mark Waterland and John Arbuckle stood down as a result of commitments elsewhere. The Board has continued to function with five members through to this AGM.
As at 31 December 2012 Bike Manawatu had 302 members (211 male; 91 female) being one of the larger clubs in the country. Membership was made up as follows:
The above numbers indicated an increase of almost 22% over the 248 members we had at the end of 2011. However we must not be fooled by the figures. While the above are a promising trend there is a real and looming issue around the new Bike NZ membership model and the ability to access the website.
As at the time of writing we have only 164 members with numbers down across all categories. The Bike NZ website membership portal is confusing, frustrating and has been a barrier for many joining Bike Manawatu.
As a result the club is being proactive in sending invoices/notices to all existing members to ensure that they do renew. Please encourage old and new members to join as it is most important. A strong membership base is fundamental to the health of the club both competitively, socially and financially and to keeping the club sustainable so that we are able to deliver the services and events our members are looking for.
It is a catch-22 situation.
This year as with previous years, the cycling calendar became very congested. A number of “conflicts” occurred on our calendar with certain club events, including Club Championships, being impacted by outside events out of our control. As a consequence, the Events Group had a meeting to log in “key” benchmark events. The calendar can then hopefully cater to most events and be built around key dates. The Events Group does need more help. If you are able to help please contact Glenys our Secretary.
One of the outcomes of the Events Group meeting will likely see the Junior/Senior Road Championships being run at different times of the year to best fit the racing programme of these members.
During 2012, Bike Manawatu was invited by Destination Manawatu to help run the Country Road Classic. After a number of meetings, final agreement could not be reached so we declined the opportunity. Whilst grateful for the opportunity, the Board remains committed to organising and running events that are viable long term and that lift the profile to all potential entrants to the sport.
We feel that the events we have established being the Manfeild Six Hour, Feilding Festival of Cycling and La Femme will meet these broad criteria over the medium term going forward.
The Novice Tour is in the process of being reviewed. Bike Manawatu remains committed to running this iconic event for junior riders. The date and format may need to be changed given the “clash” we now have with the New Zealand Secondary Schools Cycling Champs that same weekend in late term three. However finding an acceptable weekend is problematic.
The audited accounts have been circulated. We continue to operate as a financially sound club. Membership fee income was up given increased membership; race entry fees were similar and we had significant contributions from the Manfeild Six Hour, Feilding Festival of Cycling and the La Femme fun rides.
Grants remain an unreliable source of future income. We are mindful of that. Expenses were also up leaving an Operating Profit before extraordinary items and post depreciation of $7,582. During the year we also receive final payment (extraordinary item) from the former Masters club being $7,889.66.
We have also retained the sum of $50,000 as a Special Project Reserve Fund and have funds available for Junior Development and travel.
The efforts of the schools group and their contribution to Bike Manawatu deserves special mention. The growth in cycling in this region, and the results achieved by our young riders, continue to draw attention nationwide, wherever and whenever they ride. There are some real “stars” in the making. Several are already shining bright.
The challenge is to keep the schools programme alive and well. It is a huge untapped resource across all the schools in our region. Well done to the parents, caregivers, teachers and young riders on your achievements representing the club and your school both on and off the bike.
The website is now the main conduit to all our members. Thank you to Vaughan Hunt for keeping this portal current and relevant and to all the regular contributors. A website that is current, interesting, accessible and relevant is most important to the club.
This year the Board contracted Luuk van Wagtendonk to write a regular column in the Manawatu Standard. That has been very well received. Luuk writes an informative balance and interesting article.
Twitter and instant text are also now used to communicate events, postponements and cancellations that may be weather affected.
The membership booklet was also updated by Ian Gray during the year. It too will be due for a further upgrade in 2013.
Megan Blatchford-Peck took on the mantel as coaching coordinator during the year. Megan was able to instigate a number of initiatives that were well received. Unfortunately due to other commitments Megan stood down later in the year. It was also sad to see Chris Foggin the Bike NZ Regional Development Coordinator join the drift north. Both positions currently remain vacant.
Coaching is a potential “hamstring” to club growth and development. We need to ensure that coaches are an important and integral part of the club and that they are respected, appreciated and acknowledged.
If you feel that you have something to offer in this area please do not hesitate to contact Glenys, Steve Stannard or myself.
The Board has also identified commissaires as being an area we are short in and will through Bike NZ, proactively seek to train more.
Our leading club commissaire is Tim Whitehouse who helps with a number of events throughout the year. Tim is a regular official at the NZ Track Nationals.
This year Bike NZ with the support of Sport NZ introduced a Child Protection Policy to its affiliated clubs. Bike Manawatu is in the process of adopting and developing a Child Protection Policy with due recognition of the various pieces of legislation relating to the protection of children under 18 years and how that may impact on our providers.
The Board is also in the process of developing a Code of Conduct for parents and spectators. Members will also be reminded of their requirements around conduct during and after races.
Bike Manawatu has high expectations of those who represent the club and it should be clear to all members and volunteers who represent the club that they are expected to behave in a way that upholds the values of fair play and positivity.
The Board has also developed a Terms of Reference for the Bike Manawatu Finance Committee.
The purpose of the Finance Committee is to monitor the identified risk areas of Bike Manawatu and advise the Board of Bike Manawatu of appropriate quality assurance systems to be implemented to reduce risk. The Finance Committee will also monitor the development the annual budget and performance against budget and to investigate revenue opportunities.
Notwithstanding the two Olympics medals won by our members this year, the club has also won for the second year running the Sport Manawatu Grass Roots Club of the Year, a huge accolade for such a young club. On the same evening we also won awards for marketing and for running events.
Simon also won the overall Manawatu Sportsman of the Year. Jesse was a nomination in the same category.
Mike McRedmond won the “personality of the year”, a reflection of his unbridled enthusiasm and passion for the sport and this club.
The club also had nominations in the Masters category - Sue McMaster, Junior Men - Campbell Stewart, Junior Women - Kate Stewart and Michaela Drummond.
The club held its’ inaugural Club Awards evening at the Coachman Hotel in September, a reasonably formal but very enjoyable affair with a guest speaker. Prizes were awarded to members who have made a special or outstanding contribution to the club. We hope to make this evening a regular event.
Winners on the night were Barry Gilliland, Kirsty Kaihau, Richard Sheehan and Steve Stannard. Their contributions to the club span a wide range of activities often over a long period.
Sponsorship remains difficult in a challenging economic climate. We are enormously grateful to all our sponsors. Special mention to our key sponsors of the Manfeild Six Hour (Kevin Laskey), the La Femme (Churchyard Physiotherapy), Feilding Festival of Cycling (Manawatu Standard) and the Novice Tour (Mitre 10). I would also like to acknowledge the Marist Sports Club for their generosity in letting us use their rooms and facilities through the year.
We also secured a special “coffee” deal for our members at Aqaba on Broadway.
The Board is always open to a “good idea” that my help or promote the club in a positive light. The “Bells on Bikes” promotion is being delivered to our members primarily as a way to garner support from the Palmerston North City Council and Manawatu District Council for the development of cycle ways and pathways. We have been active in making submissions to promote safer cycling. The bells help bring this aspect to the fore and will hopefully encourage more funding in this area.
The Board also felt a contribution to the Massey University cycle team for the NZ Men’s Tour in January was an important initiative on several fronts. Not only does it encourage our own bike riders to aspire to greater things, but a strong relationship with Massey will only benefit the club going forward. You can expect more from the club in this event in the future.
Bike Manawatu remains a powerful and relevant force in the country’s cycling scene both on and off the track. We are recognised by Bike NZ as a “model” organisation and have been invited by Bike NZ to apply as a “Tier 1” club in the new Bike NZ constitution.
A Tier 1 club will be drawn from each of the three codes; BMX, Mountain Bike, Road and Track. There will be limit of twelve Tier 1 clubs, four from each code. A Tier 1 club will help develop strategies and programmes with Bike NZ, will focus on increasing membership, improving what the club has to offer, and retaining and managing volunteers. A Tier 1 club will also have a vote at the AGM alongside other similarly recognised clubs and the three founding member organisations.
We feel that as a club we are best heard inside the “Bike NZ tent” than outside it and will look to make a contribution to the sport as best we can for the greater good.
The Board remains committed to delivering the Vision and our Mission Statement which is to promote, foster and encourage recreational and competitive cycling in Manawatu.
Finally, I would again like to thank my fellow Board Steve Stannard, Mike Christie, Iona McCarthy and Mike Daisley for their sound governance, their leadership, clear strategic thinking and unity in dealing with the opportunities and issues that have presented themselves this year.
And of course to Glenys. One of our main tasks is to train Glenys to delegate more. Her input is extraordinary; her commitment unwavering and her passion for cycling unlimited.
Thank you one and all for all your efforts.
8 April 2013