Help - Cycling Club Member Engagement (Need Ideas)

I’m looking for feedback from this community of cyclist and triathletes on what you look for in a cycling club as perks or benefits and overall club engagement.

I’m really looking for some fresh ideas on how to generate member engagement both physically and via social media channels primarily to provide value to a member so they really feel like they’re a part of something special. Not just a discount on a new team kit and other discounts from team sponsors, don’t get me wrong these are truly nice benefits but again I want to elevate that sense of belonging to something.

I am the president of this club and we recently became a non-profit to help drive a youth a grass roots youth program (ipad to bike) but admittedly Covid has crashed a lot of momentum. Login • Instagram. Our club is 100 members strong 70/30 split of Cyclist to Triathletes. My first year as president was the year that was lost “Covid”, this year has been a struggle as well. Team rides are spotty on turnout, we couldn’t get our annual road race put on due to restrictions from the local government and so on. We’re in CA so Covid restrictions have continued to linger to some degree in and around surrounding areas.

2 Likes

2016-19 I rode and raced for a local ‘shop’ team. They were our sponsor and we got some benefits. In 2019, the shop closed. We lost our sponsor and any benefits. As a group, we loved riding together so we decided to do our own thing. We tossed a few ideas around, came up with a name and even found another sponsor.

2019-early 2020. COVID hit, group rides and races stopped and we lost another sponsor.

2020-2021. Our group/team had dwindled and things weren’t looking great. A small number of us got together with the sole purpose of defining who and what we were. There are plenty of great cycling clubs around my area and they’re all well attended so there’s a passion for cycling. Why then do I not join one? What does my group offer me that the others don’t?

We spend well over a month drilling down into this. Once we felt that we had a ‘reason’ for us to continue to exist, we polled the other riders/team members. We wanted to know how they perceived the group. Why they opted to ride with us? What they liked about the set up of the group and what they’d like to see improved.

Two rounds of this type of discussion to place. Feedback forms were created and distributed. TEAMS discussions also took place.

All of this enabled us to get an understanding of why riders were choosing us. Did we ‘like’ why riders were choosing us and what we might do to improve our ethos and outward community presence.

This learning gave us the foundations onto which the team and the riders can build. We’ve all had an opportunity to voice our concerns. We’re all invested in making the team a welcoming environment. We’ve been able to rebrand. Our kit is no longer a ‘nice’ club kit, it’s an outward display of all the learnings we took from this process. We have an agreed tone of voice for social media and most importantly, team members are proud to wear the kit and engaged in social media.

Hopefully there are some useful points in my rambling… :+1:

6 Likes

100% this. It’s a lot of work to do it, but I think it’s the best way to set a sustainable foundation for the future.

Given what you’ve said about the pivot of your club, a grass roots youth program driving ‘ipad to bike’, that tells me that you’re ‘target audience’ is younger kids of a beginner skill level and trying to engage them. If that is true, then you’ve got your core message and you can get to work building up the club with people who share that common goal.

1 Like

I’ve been cycling off and on since I was a kid, and running for about 10 years as an adult. Being slow and not very athletic I never thought clubs were for me, but when I joined my running club about 5 years ago I wondered why I never did it before. The thing I like most about being in a club is the sense of camaraderie - helping others achieve their goals and getting help to achieve mine, or chatting with random strangers who see your club top and say “oh my dad used to be in that club” when at a race 150 miles from home. Our members range from a former Commonwealth games marathoner, several Team GB age-groupers, right through to the “my kid’s in the juniors so I might as well have a go too” brigade. I’m near the bottom in terms of speed but I never feel like I’m better or worse than anyone else, just faster or slower.

We have a great Facebook community with plenty of debate, chatter, advice etc. We’re over 300 members plus the junior section so there’s always someone to talk to or run with. We also do plenty of club-only and small interclub competitions each year. During covid we’ve done a lot of solo time trials, where you run when and where you want over a given distance; we’ve also done some handicap and team events on similar lines. Some of these have involved the juniors which is even better for the team spirit. It’s given people something to aim for and while it’s not the same as normal racing, having a routine focal point that brings a lot of members together has kept a lot of people going.

However I still feel less comfortable with joining a cycling club - partly due to most of my local ones either being not very local or only having group rides at times I can’t easily commit to. My main aim in joining a cycling club would be to go on group rides and to do some friendly local races (TTs, cyclocross), and most clubs nearby have some sort of handicap competition or similar that anyone can be competitive in.