What We Are
We are a recreational road biking club, riding on scenic routes in one of the most beautiful areas in the nation. We are located in Central Oregon and provide members with the opportunity to participate in regularly scheduled group rides on diverse routes. We provide participation options for a wide range of cyclists ranging from individuals who are just starting out to accomplished riders, from young riders to those that have many years under their belt; from cyclists who ride short routes to those that are preparing for centuries.
We are a member-funded and member-administered recreational bike club. For a member-led club to succeed and grow it must have structure – like liability insurance, non-profit incorporation, officers, by-laws, a PO Box, etc. Not sexy, but important nonetheless.We want member-led rides that focus on safe riding. We use online registration for members to sign up for a ride and, where appropriate, for limiting the number of riders on a specific ride. We train ride leaders on safe riding techniques and give ride leaders specific safety protocols. We promote best safe-riding practices and will rescind memberships when a member repeatedly disobeys the rules.
We seek to ensure that there is a broad ride-leader pool. We encourage members to volunteer to lead rides. With an extensive base of ride leading volunteers, riding at different designated paces over varied distances, we increase the number of rides available for our members. We provide web tools, documents, and other support to foster ride leader volunteerism.
Most importantly, we are a bike community. There are many great Internet tools for finding other riders, like MeetUp and Facebook, but these are tools. We want more. We want a Club that outlasts the ride, a Club that grows with the needs of its members. A bike community.
What We Are Not
As a great strategist said – strategy is about those things you don’t do. We all want to be all things to all people, but that is not a good strategy.
We are not a racing club. There are many successful racing clubs with elite athletes in Bend. Racing clubs have different needs and wants than a recreational riding club.
We are not an advocacy club (yet!). Our focus is the ride. The club may decide differently over time, but the club’s initial purpose is member bike riding.
We are not sponsored by any one entity. We may have corporate members, but we will continue to be funded and administered by members for members.
We are not for every recreational rider in Central Oregon. If you don’t like going single file when you are asked to, if you like riding faster than the group, if you think stop signs are for the other guy, if you don’t follow safe group riding practices, then we are not the group for you.
An Incomplete History of Central Oregon Rides
In the past local bike shops in Central Oregon organized many great rides – the Double Dawg, Sunnyside Century, – to name a few. Over time these rides ceased to exist. They were victims of busy bike shops, increased shop liability insurance, and the loss of key personnel.
Many ad-hoc bike clubs have started in the area, because people want to ride regularly with others. But none of these groups are for the general public, and none of these (to our knowledge) are actual non-profit organizations. There have been past attempts at a club like this one; in fact we owe homage to a past COWs club. There was also the short lived COV club that was started by a bike shop owner whose bike shop closed as did the club shortly after.
Hopefully we learn from our mistakes, other than the fact we call ourselves COWs!