Have you ever wanted to start a local cycling club in your area?
Starting a local cycling club might sound like a lot of hard work and it might even look impossible to few but if you play your cards right, starting a local cycling club can be a lot easier than it looks. Cycling is a lot of fun but not as many do it as they should. Starting a local cycling club can help promote awareness for local cycling activities and encourage more local citizens to consider taking up cycling. Starting a local cycling club can also create a great social network between you and other local riders and allow you to meet new people who also ride in your area. There really is no disadvantage in starting a local cycling club and you don’t have to be rich to do it, either. Continue reading this guide to learn more about starting your own local cycling club today with ease!
Legal Considerations of a Local Cycling Club
First thing is first, before even considering starting your local cycling club, consider the legal aspects beforehand. Determine all the safety, legal and liability aspects of starting a local cycling club by asking yourself question after question about your own responsibility and the responsibilities of your club executives or officers. You might consider nominating an officer in your club to conduct all safety and risk management activities – he or she would be responsible for ensuring safety in all club activities and reducing and managing risk for the local cycling club. You also should consider drafting a set of bylaws that include information, terms and regulations on safety such as a requirement for all club riders to always wear a helmet when on their bikes and in motion. Lastly, draft up a form that all club members must sign that terminates your liability and allows them to be members at their own risk. If they refuse to sign it, refuse to permit them in the club.
To add a disclaimer to this guide – I am not a lawyer and I am not trying to give you legal advice that is 100% correct. With that being said, I highly recommend that you consult a lawyer and consider asking for their services in assisting with bylaw and release form creation. Maybe you can find a lawyer that is a fellow cyclist and allow them to join the club without paying in return that they help you with the legal aspects – to save money. But I will say this, what you spend on a lawyer will not even be close to what you would pay after getting sued for liability because the court has not favored your case of your local cycling club not being liable for an incident that has happened. It is better to be safe than sorry and I really wanted to make sure we covered this aspect before getting too far into this guide.
Making Money, Saving Money, Sponsorship
Your can start a local cycling club on the cheap but at some point, you want to make money for the club. You need money to organize bike rides. You need money to design and give custom club cycling kits to your members. You need money to design t-shirts and other gear you might plan to give away or sell on behalf of your local cycling club. You need money for race licenses if you and your club plan to participate in any sort of cycling competition. You need money for various different things in your local cycling club even down to catering in some food for the riders after a big club meet you might have. At some point – you will need a way to make money with your local cycling club.
To make money – simply charge for your membership! Don’t try charging an outrageous amount for membership but do make sure you are charging a reasonable amount to help fund your club. I just recently joined a local cycling club that charges less than $30 a year or you buy each year’s jersey for the club. Usually you have a deal worked out with the apparel manufacturer to earn a commission each time a club member purchases an item of apparel. With more and more members joining, this sort of money will start to add up. Nominate a club member to be a treasurer of the club and to manage all monies and record all activities dealing with monies in your club. Make sure you keep a record of everything whereas money is involved in your club.
Saving money for the club is also important. This can be done by gaining sponsors for the club. Go around to local businesses, organizations, schools, universities and even individuals and ask for a donation in return that you stick their logo on your club’s cycling jersey or shorts to represent them as an official sponsor of your club. You should also seek sponsors to donate goods for the club as well such as pallets of bottled water for an upcoming club sponsored organized ride you might have planned. When asking for sponsorship, the worst that could happen is that the potential sponsor says no, so what do you really have to lose? Sponsoring your club is going to give people and businesses a better community orientated reputation so someone at some point is bound to sponsor your local cycling club.
Community Participation with a Local Cycling Club
As a local cycling club, you should be heavily invested in participating with community needs in your area. This could be anything from hosting an organized ride to raise money to help with repairs to a local community park to even raising money to buy some mountain bikes for less fortunate kids in your local community. You might even consider starting an afterschool program for local kids to attend where you teach them better tactics on cycling, getting into professional cycling, safety and even basic bicycle repair. Do all that you can for your local community because you are after all a local cycling club that cares about the local cycling presence in your community, right? It takes your community to make that happen!
Organizing a Local Cycling Club Ride
What is a local cycling club without some sort of organized ride event? Whether it is an organized road ride event for everyone or weekly meets for getting together as club members and riding “no drop” routes around your community – organizing bike rides should be a big goal for a bike-related club. Before organizing rides, especially rides where everyone can participate – meet with your local city leaders first to check if you need to obtain a permit or permission. The last thing you want to do it violate local ordinance and laws and get into trouble with local authorities because that won’t advocate cycling at all – that will give it a bad name.
Before starting an organized ride, be sure to drive and/or ride the route beforehand to observe how safe it is, what level of exercise people need to be and alternative routes in case something happens. I remember on one ride where a truck wrecked and the driver died so part of the route was blocked off because of it and we had to ride several miles of gravel which was hell on a road bike ride. Stuff like that can randomly happen with little or no warning and completely turn something organized into something chaotic. Choose a great route and be sure to consider volunteer drivers to come to the aid of riders broke down or wrecked – especially on organized rides where many people are welcome to come.
One great thing about organized rides is it allows your local cycling club a chance to raise money be it for the community, a charity or even just your club. You can charge a reasonable fee for a basic organized ride that has basic routes. Most rides in my area charge about $30 per person and there are different mileage options so that beginners and advanced riders can participate – the more people who participate, the more money you can make. If you do charge for a ride, I highly recommend giving away t-shirts to those who participate because they are like trophies to us riders and it’s nice to get something in return after signing up for an organized road ride. A lot of people actually look forward to getting a t-shirt as well!
Your Local Cycling Club needs a Kit
As a local cycling club, your members need uniforms! Consider getting a custom cycling kit created where each member can buy the kit from the manufacturer – this will save you money since you aren’t actually buying the kit items. A good kit consists of a cycling jersey and cycling shorts or cycling bib-shorts. Some local cycling clubs go all out and get jerseys, shorts, bib-shorts, warmers, jackets, show covers and even socks. This is really up to you and your local cycling club. Make sure you put your local cycling club name and sponsors (if you have any) on your custom cycling kit so that you can advertise your club around a bit.
Local Cycling Club Members need Benefits
This is probably the hardest aspect of starting a local cycling club – getting benefits for members. Sponsorship will really come into play here! If you can make some sort of deal with a sponsor to discount their products and/or services for your local cycling club members, it will make joining your local cycling club more beneficial for those who are interested. The club I belong to gives all members a 15% discounts on gear and apparel at a local bike shop with a 10% discount on bikes – that is pretty cool especially since lately I have been buying a brand new bike each year. Stick to stores and services that actually benefit cyclists though – a local bike shop would be perfect but Fast Food discounts wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for a health-conscious bike rider now would it?
Another great benefit you can offer (that can be free) is training and classes on a monthly or quarterly basis for your members. Each month or every quarter (or whenever), you can host some sort of class on cycling for your club members. The class can be about anything, really. Maybe a mountain biking for beginners’ class. Maybe you can provide training for uphill road cycling during a road bike race. Maybe you can provide basic training for bicycle repair or something of that nature. Your local cycling club members will probably highly appreciate free classes and training that aimed to improve their cycling routines and make them into even better riders than they were when they first joined.
From Local Cycling Club to Team
To really get the word out about your local cycling club, I highly recommend you form a bike racing team as part of your club. When you actually start racing, that is when a lot of local riders are really going to start noticing your existence. Some cyclists out there are in it for the competition and if they see that there is a local cycling club racing in events, they might really want to be a part of it as well. You team bylaws and rules are going to be different than your club’s – be sure to consider that. You need to require a certain amount of participating for your team members, especially for competitions than you would for the standard local cycling club.
Finding New Club Members
Finding members for your local cycling club isn’t going to be as hard as you think it will be. In 2017, with social media booming like it is, you get that as a big tool for connecting with local cyclists. Create some social pages or join some groups on Facebook, Twitter and the works and be active on them about connecting with local riders. Participate in organized bike rides while wearing your club kit and pass out some business cards to local riders interested in your local cycling club. You might also have an annual raffle ticket event for your club members to encourage them to refer new members. For example, for each new member a local cycling club member refers – they get an entry into the raffle. The winner at the end of the year gets a percentage of the money or a prize of some sort – like a brand new bike, even! This raffle idea could be yet another great benefit to encourage others to join your local cycling club.
Now it’s your turn to start typing!
Have you ever thought about starting your own local cycling club? What sort of events, benefits and activities would your local cycling club be doing?
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