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Exponential Growth Responses
25 Aug, 2006 - Amy Taylor

We had such a great response from the Exponential article that we thought we should post a few ideas.  Cyclingnz.com welcome feedback and appreciate any comments you have on anything posted on this site so keep it up!  Keep the banter going and enjoy.

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I would have to say that joining a club would not have entered my mind were it not for my employers who paid for a professional coaching programme (with Performance Lab) for my first Taupo. One of the suggestions in the training programme was to join a club and do some weekend races as a way of improving speed and aerobic fitness. Without that suggestion I would not have considered club membership, and certainly saw no promotional material to encourage joining a club anywhere else.

On the whole with the exception of sports like rugby and soccer where club membership is almost mandatory for the sake of participation, many sports are becoming more a mix of sport and social, with corporate leagues a common theme. Cycling fits into the corporate league theme with many relay participants in events like Taupo. I even saw a number of corporate teams doing Northland this year.

Bike NZ could do more to promote club participation, but it needs enthusiasm shown right through the spectrum from individual riders, the clubs themselves, shops and event promoters. Cycling will grow as a sport with more club participation without a doubt. And the benefits  
should be more than just numbers, but also improvements in safety and in junior participation as parents get their kids out on bikes. BikeNZ needs to get on board with assisting in initiatives right through the spectrum.

My club, Tauranga Road Cycling Club has increased its membership markedly in the past couple of years through a number of initiatives:  
Firstly new riders who join in any of our training rides or races are encouraged to join after a few rides; local shops offer discounts for members; the local newspaper runs a weekly sports draw and contacts page which the club publishes details in; and a number of club riders encourage new riders they meet on the road to come along to club training rides and races. I have to say that Tauranga has much less "elite" racing membership than other BOP/Waikato clubs, but the recent membership increase has resulted in a real improvement in junior  If nothing else, club racing is potentially more social than a fun ride in that you can have a yarn afterwards with the same people each week, and perhaps a beer as well. I have noticed that chiller bags of Lion Red seem to be a common accompaniment for the after race bullshit  
session at Tauranga's Thursday twilight races during summer. So get out there and promote club participation and keep waving to everyone you see on two wheels.

- Lindsay

 

In response to the article written, I think part of the reason is the 'racing fraternity' as such. Cycling has had mass growth but there still seems to be the select group who race as part a club, turning up not knowing anyone can be quite intimadating, however the 'fun rides' put many people in the same situation and with mass participation it becomes much easier to blend into the crowd.

- Mazza.

 

Other things to consider reagrding large numbers at Taupo. Lots of the people that take part are multisport athletes, while others are just plain old social riders - they do it for fun and fitness, not to curb their competitiveness. Taupo is also seen by many as a challenge.
I'd say like any sport, to increase the numbers of racing cyclists you need to get participants at the school level then hold on to them. Getting older people to take up a competitive sport later in life is more difficult, these people have other interests that have occupied their weekends for years, and getting people to change their routine / way of life isn't always easy.
How many people take up competitive rugby in their 20's and 30's? We also know how 'clicky' cycling has become, which is a major turn off.

- Jackson.

 

Put the onus on the clubs. Promote a program that helps riders train for Taupo. focus on the benefits of joining the club & how it will help them for there goal - Taupo, K2 etc.
- how to ride in a bunch
- tips & suggestions to becoming a better rider
- training schedule
- training in a group etc.
Once riders start joining clubs, it should be a easy task to get them involved with racing.

- Reghere

Clubs could and should promote themselves at rides like Taupo. For the outsiders it's so hard to find out what clubs are out there and what they offer etc.
Clubs also need to promote themselves at bike/fitness etc shops. When was the last time you saw a club pamphlet in a bike shop?
There are often flyers for fun rides though.

-Paul

My view and even after talking to a few other riders that do race they need to change the season back to summer racing.
Nobody wants to train and race over winter its to cold,wet and dangerous!
I know myself and allot of other riders stopped racing due to this reason when they did change back to winter racing in 97/98!
Back then the numbers racing at club and national level were huge.
Cycling NZ needs to stop thinking that everything revolves around track racing..the road is where its at especially long term and if your a young fella starting out you need hope that one day you might go pro...track wont do that nore will riding in winter which im sure is not plesent and actually turns people of riding/racing!
One last thing at races the officials need to be more helpful and they need to offer incentives to attract people to race like spot prizes and stop handicap racing..its not fun!

- Hippy

 

Thank you to all those who have contributed and especially to the author for generating some stimulating thought for our readers.

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