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Ms. Monster
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We had an excellent meeting last night in which we discussed the best ways to get a club going for the Hamilton area. We resolved that joining with the Hamilton Cycling Club would be the fastest and easiest route to improving trail access.

The overriding goal of everyone in the room was : MORE SINGLETRACK in the Hamilton area.

But there's lots more discussion to be had.

Jason Murray from IMBA had the excellent point that fighting with a mountain-bike resistant organisation (e.g. the RBG) is not a good starting point. Similarly, the HRCA is committed to MULTI-use trails, which means wide enough for horses and gravel-covered. Changing these mission-statements will come with time. The City of Hamilton, however, is keen to build trails. Lukey suggested this is the "low-hanging fruit" to aim for initially. Success breeds success! Any thoughts on where a new (legal) trail system could be developed?

Also, most clubs won't survive long unless their members get something in return. "Advocacy" is all well and good for a year or two, but unless people know and like eachother (usually developed by face-to-face contact), this will fade. There are lots of possibilities:
- trail building days (of course)
- organise a local race
- organise a local "bike fun day"
- organise regular group rides
- organise trips to out-of-town singletrack (Hydrocut, Puslinch, Copeland, Joyride150, whatever)
- have clinics (a decent way to recruit new members too)
- lots of other stuff I haven't thought about

What do you think? It can't all be done in the first year. Advocacy is clearly a priority, but I'd bet at least one other goal could be accomplished. Speak up!
 

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*R*O*W*Y*C*O*
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If there is anything the ShortHills Cycling Club can do to help out please let me know.
We would fully support any efforts for more trails and more racing in Southern Ontario.

Timothy Lee
SHCC President

email link

 

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I look forward to the comments added to this thread. Please provide me with any feedback you might have with regards to the HCC and mountain biking. I will take everything into account when I attend the board meeting. PM is fine as well.

One of the prominent issues raised last night was integration into the Hamilton Cycling Club and having the needs of the Mountain Biking community met by the club. I think this stems from the historical focus the HCC club maintained. From my interaction with the current HCC club executive, I don't expect this to be an issue as long as Mountain Bikers are there to lead, the club will be there in support. We as the MTB community are gaining a large, established infrastructure, which I think many people substantially under estimate as an enormous time sink to develop. With the club already familiar with bureaucratic process and hopefully a big fat Rolodex of contacts, we should have legs underneath us quickly to start running. Organizing a road race or advocating for trails is 80% congruent. Red tape is red tape and experience helps.

However, I understand and expect that there is a substantial number of MTB members out there who are not completely convinced this integration with the HCC can happen. My goal, as utopian as it sounds is to unit everyone. The larger we stand as a community of cyclist, the more power we will have in every aspect of cycling within the city.

In that regard. I would encourage the mountain bike community NOT to rush out and pruchase an HCC membership yet. This is not implying I do not wish this to happen, but I would like, and will hopefully in discussion with the board of HCC develop a method of bringing a conglomerate of MTB members in the club at one point to see what fraction of the overall membership has joined with the primary intention of promoting mountain biking after this initial step forward. This will provide the club with an understanding of the demographic, and hopefully allow the current HCC board to see that our voice must be prominent in a future HCC. More importantly, I hope this will convince any skeptics that the numbers exist and a new HCC club will have a proportional representation. If any one feels this is completely unreasonable or counter productive, I am open to criticism.

Finally, to everyone. This is going to take hard work from a few, and numbers behind them in support. I suspect there are the few who are prepared to work hard, we need the numbers in support.

Oh, and to answer the original question. If we have a club that caters to everything (trail advocacy, social organization, youth development, racing, etc), we will increase support in each facet through a synergistic effect. Most racers ride trails and have kids and will support both. Some social riders will join a race team occasionally, everyone wants trails, but many might not join without a sub community that races, or organizes clinics or social rides. In a city of 500,000, this is not unrealistic what so ever.

Cheers

Jeff
 

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Evil Jr.
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The only thing I would add to this is that there is probably already a large proportion of current HCC members that are also MTBers and they deserve to be represented on the MTB side as well if they are moved to do so.

All I'm saying is that our "rep by pop" might be even higher if we make them feel welcome from the outset.

Does that make any sense? :confused:
 

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Initial goals

Any thoughts on where a new (legal) trail system could be developed?
I have to admit, I have a couple of thoughts over here! :D

I have been thinking about two potential projects. Both of them would involve creating new trails. Both would be dealing directly with the city of Hamilton, who is the land owner.

Thoughts on this strategy:
  • By creating something new, hopefully a few things would happen. One thing is that we may be able to sidestep any possible conflicts with other users. Ie., we are not asking to get rights or control over a trail system that has a historic legacy that connects it to some other groups. This would be a brand new project that never has belonged to anyone until we make it.
  • Another big plus is that I think we can generate some positive press for ourselves. Launching something new in 2010 would get us some positive notice.
  • Approaching the city in a quiet way is something we can't lose. There's no current "fight" or any entrenched politics that we need to deal with. Any setbacks can be nice and quiet, and the city hall people are not under a lot of pressure from other people.
  • Basically, let's get a nice solid plan together and go in and present it and see if we have a partner there. After all, the city is a democratic body with a mandate to serve the citizens. They will hopefully be responsive in a way that other kinds of land-managing entities don't have to be.
  • I see $1-million bike lanes going in on streets which you can already ride your bike down. So a new riding area? I think we're looking for something modest in the grand scheme of things. Not impossible at all.

Idea 1: Chedoke / Iroquois mountain bike specific trail system.

Where is the city's policy on mountain bikes. Basically, it's whatever is in the master plan for the city. As a bit of background, these planning documents ARE the official policy and direction of the city. These have already been accepted and voted in. Done deal. Ie., it's a conditional green light, already. Gone through council, had public input, all studied and checked out and approved. Got it? OK.

Mountain bikers and the trails seem to be covered in two planning documents. There's the bike master plan (paths and railtrails etc.) and the trails master plan (singeltrack). In 2007, the city of Hamilton published the latest version of the trails master plan.

Big smile. Juicy quote from page 54:

One of the issues identified by user and special interest groups at the public meetings was the lack of mountain bike opportunities or facilities. An opportunity exists to help correct this lack of mountain bike facilities by utilizing lands at the City of Hamilton former Chedoke Ski Hill.

This is sitting right on the table if we want to grab it.

This might be a highly visible project that we could take on. I think the city basically has to be receptive if we push for something like this...after all, it's already in the plan. It's 100% obvious they are looking to partner with an organization to do this project.

It's really worth looking at the official document. It shows the DH runs at blue and built stunts. They "get it". Big burly trail system. Freeride, DH, technical XC. Mountain bike specific.

Further on, page 139:
In that chart, please carefully note that the Iroquois Heights is already classified as a mountain bike trail system.

Ie., this is probably the one legal place to go ride singletrack at the moment.

So putting it all together, we could try to develop a more comprehensive showcase system, enhancing Iroquois and developing new stuff into Chedoke, which is the neighbouring block of land. Hopefully, make some kind of stronger connection between them as well. Lots to think about there.

What this would mean: It's centrally located, has tons of public non-mountain-bike traffic and we could use this as a model to show off our organization to a greater public. I'm thinking maps, big shiny signs (with our club name on it) and make the trails impeccable and appealing. Totally take stewardship and raise our visibility.

Idea 2: Colonnade Style Bike Park under the Red Hill Expressway.

This would be a copy of the idea for the Seattle Collonnade Bike Park. This area has already been disturbed by the construction of the transportation corridor, so it's not a piece of virgin nature, although it's smack in the middle of the trail systems around there. The city could easily strengthen this plan by simply moving one gate on the Mount Albion road to allow closer parking. (The long paved route in already exists but was semi-abandoned about a couple of years ago.) This could become a kind of anchor point to hopefully serve as a kind of gateway. I think there's power and water at the site.

Perhaps down the line, the bike park would be like the entry point into a specific mountain bike system in the King's Forest and Red Hill lands. We can dream.

Read through the Trails Master Plan and it's obvious the city is looking for ideas for "Trail Users" in this part of the city. This is a creative solution I bet nobody at city hall will have thought about before.

I'm thinking about a pump track, jumps, skinnies, trials sections and lots of "built technical trail features", all in a compact area, and covered by the decks for the elevated highway.

There could be an amazing tie-in with our new partnership in the HCC...this would be a skills development area that's fun for beginners and could progress up to a place for experienced riders that would be great for rainy days. Also, a compact area like this will be very social. We clearly need more face-to-face contact in order to keep on evolving as a community.

Plus, it'll be a totally different thing than what we have already. Something completely new for around here. But other municipalities are allowing bike parks and so there's a lot of precedent we can cite for city planning people.

So...what say you all?
 

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garage monster said:
The only thing I would add to this is that there is probably already a large proportion of current HCC members that are also MTBers and they deserve to be represented on the MTB side as well if they are moved to do so.

All I'm saying is that our "rep by pop" might be even higher if we make them feel welcome from the outset.

Does that make any sense? :confused:
As suggested by Nerdgirl. The new application for the HCC should have a box regarding 'are you interested in MTB advocacy, trail building, etc..' and I'm paraphrasing. Hopefully this will help to identify existing members when renewing, but certainly we will have a promotion of new MTB activities with the club for the existing members when we get on board.
 

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mtbr Decade+
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lukey said:
So...what say you all?
That colonnade bike park would be so close to me I could go down and water the plants!

Great idea, they seem to be at a loss as to what to put there.
 

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Ho Hum, another SS rider
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lukey said:
I have to admit, I have a couple of thoughts over here! :D

I have been thinking about two potential projects. Both of them would involve creating new trails. Both would be dealing directly with the city of Hamilton, who is the land owner.

So...what say you all?
What do I say? WOW!

Nice sleuthing and an excellent place to start with the synergy that may come out of last night's shindig. Regardless of the HCC vs. NewClub debate, we need to focus on projects like the ones you found buried in the plan, and plot a course to make them possible.
 

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Ho Hum, another SS rider
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Grumpy Steve and I toddled off to our usual Wed.night post-ride bar and debated club affiliation for a while. We both feel that we need to solicit a mandate from our "constituents". For us, that's the list found on our website www.mtb-c.com under "Members". We spent some time working out a sales pitch for both directions and just then in wandered our first constituent looking for wings and beer.

My pro-HCC pitch went well until I had to explain what he got for $50. When Steve rattled off Jason's $20 price and story from his Durham club, I lost the deal. HCC will have to demonstrate its value to us. So far I am leaning positively but remain unconvinced.
 

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Evil Jr.
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When I started considering what I wanted out of a regional club way back when this thread surfaced, I immediately thought about the Waterloo Cycling Club. The way they've created the Hydrocut is nothing short of astounding. I've been there on one of their trail days and it's HUGE. Great turn out, BBQ, the works. I was totally impressed. :eek:

Their basic membership is $45 and here's the pitch:

The important thing to consider is that by joining the Waterloo Cycling Club (WCC) you are not just passively signing up for membership. By joning the WCC you are joining a group of local cyclists who are keen to improve themselves and their cycling environment.
And here's the value proposition:

Membership Benefits...

* Access to all programs, club rides and club social events
* Significant discounts at our sponsors King Street Cycles, McPhail's, Runner's Choice, True North Cycles, and others
* Special offers
* A cool card with your name on it
That doesn't sound like much but it's a GREAT CLUB!

I think we're in the very formative stage of starting something just as cool. Say in a year (or two or whatever) we turn Chedoke or Red Hill into a bike park, the membership will have more than paid for itself. My involvement in (legal) trail building has taught me what a rush it is to build stuff and see people love riding it. In my opinion, you just can't put a price on that. :)
 

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Some of the discussion last night was about the perceived cheapness of some cyclists ....People will spend $4000 on a bike, but question spending the price of a new tire to join an organization or refuse to pay $7 to ride at Kelso.
Part of the value of HCC from my perspective is joining a well established organization. There is tons of work involved in getting a new organization to that level and keeping it there. The $30 a year difference saves tons of volunteer time, sounds like a bargain to me....

Back to goals:
I think a goal of the club should be to have every meeting and event be as civil and interesting as last night's meeting. We had a diverse group of people, most of whom hadn't formally met before. Just about everyone at the meeting had something to say, and all spoke their piece well and intelligently. Everyone was very respectful and listened carefully while others spoke. Some had to wait a while to get a chance to make their point and waited patiently. Everyone was passionate about mountain biking. Most stuck around for a bit after the 2 hour meeting to talk mountain biking stories.
I am very impressed!!
 

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I like the idea of building more trails and what not. But to me, a cycling club is more about the social aspect. When I was part of the Oakville club, I really enjoyed the different group rides, weekly time trials and the monthly get togethers.

The best part is, these aspects are the easiest the introduce and organize, and are the least costly.

Of course, trail build days are excellent too, but building a whole bike park is going to be a project by itself.

Cheers,

Ming
 

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Ho Hum, another SS rider
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Part of the problem that we face trying to get our group to pay will be that we are used to having everything we really want without paying anything. We already have great rides at many local venues, a simple way to organize (email list server), trail build/maintenance days with satisfaction built in, occasional special event socials, an annual away-ride each spring, discounts at local watering holes, etc. etc. Now how do we convince our people that they should pay for insurance they never knew they needed and trail advocacy where we always just rode illegally?

I don't think that's being cheap or even anarchistic. It's just a tough sell.
 

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emiliolizardo said:
So far I am leaning positively but remain unconvinced.
As we were told at the meeting, the insurance itself isn't apple-to-apples. But to address the idea that this is a major cost difference, it isn't. Napkin math says:

Scenario 1: 50 member club with a 10km network
CCA=$1000+ $20+/member
IMBA=$1215+ $21+/member

Scenario 2: 100 member club with a 10km network
CCA=$2000+ $20+/member
IMBA=$1715+ $17+/member

As I read this, you're splitting hairs over a maximum total difference of like $4 a year. So let's move on and talk about what we're even buying for that cash. IMBA versus OCA is like comparing Theft vs Fire. Totally 100% different concepts. They don't consider the same sorts of incidents. They are not interchangeable. The insurances are designed to do different things. IMBA =/= OCA.

As far as I am concerned, that's going to be the ultimate determining criteria: What are we insuring after all?

I would say that chances are high we will need both. It's not either/or.

Anyone who wants to dive into the nitty-gritty, here are the FAQ's.

CCA
IMBA

(End of the day, if you actually enjoy getting into these details, you've got what it takes to be an executive officer of the club. This is the the day-to-day stuff that execs deal with.)

Going back to the post-meet-up conversation you guys had...the major cost difference between Durham and HCC isn't due to insurance. It's all the other stuff. The "other stuff" is a whole separate conversation, but it's all to do with how many different features and benefits the club offers. :thumbsup:

I am not going to talk about specifics too much here, but you might want to think about whether a cheaper member fee is always a better thing for the long-term goals and health of our organization. Most of the surveys that were handed back in at the meeting, people want tons of activities and programs. A membership fee that covers nothing but insurance is a bare-bones association. That's not necessarily the same kind of organization that is doing weekly rides, social events, organizing trips etc etc. If the membership is $20/yr and insurance is $17, how much stuff do you think you can deliver for the $3 left over? Answer = nil.

I think this debate was settled for the time being last night, but let's explore a single dimension. The HCC is applying for a Trillium grant. They just won two others. For a lot of grants to get large amounts of funds to actually get stuff done, a club would have to be incorporated for like a decade with a proven track record to be able to even apply. Think about waiting 10 years to be able to start. No way. Total show-stopper.

So, if we go the independent route, let's also ask ourselves how much a membership fee would have to be to pay for construction of a bike park. After all, that's the other option we realistically might have to encounter.

Again, it's one of those things where if we do the math, I think it's a clear win. But I can start with another napkin if you want to see the breakdown. :)
 

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CptSydor said:
However, I understand and expect that there is a substantial number of MTB members out there who are not completely convinced this integration with the HCC can happen. My goal, as utopian as it sounds is to unit everyone. The larger we stand as a community of cyclist, the more power we will have in every aspect of cycling within the city.
:thumbsup: Agreed. This was something I was tentative about yesterday, but the way you put it here, you're absolutely right Jeff.

It was nice to meet you all last night; I'm excited and looking forward to the future of MTB in Hamilton!

cheers
 

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bi-winning
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emiliolizardo said:
Part of the problem that we face trying to get our group to pay will be that we are used to having everything we really want without paying anything.
If the group has everything they want, then there is no need to change, and join a new/different organization. But, if the group wants MTB riders in Hamilton to have a strong, and united voice for bargaining with the higher-ups, and fighting for progress, then there is reason to revise the approach.
 
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