In my previous post I mentioned that no one should take the lack of a Three Speed October Challenge this year as a sign of Society of Three Speeds “winding down”. While I admit to being a little burnt right now, I do still have enthusiasm for the “club” and for events. I just have to figure out a new way to sustain, to make it better.
I thought doing the challenges would be the way. They’ve been fun, but they are not enough. I need to figure out a way to generate more excitement for my events. There was a lot more enthusiasm for my rides in the first few years of SoTS (2013 and 2014), but since then participation has dwindled. I’m very appreciative of the dedicated core group of folks who consistently come out. And it’s nice that there’s people from all over the world who say “If I was in Portland I’d definitely go on your rides!” But distant enthusiasm does not make up for a local lack.
So I’m implementing a two-fold strategy: First, post events as far in advance as possible. This is something that’s been hard for me up to this point. Having a full-time job with erratic hours and a lot of weekends meant I couldn’t easily predict my schedule. (The way around that would have been to ask for dates off in advance, but I didn’t want to seem too demanding.) But that has changed! I work at the hostel only couple days of week and not on weekends. This makes it a lot lot easier to do a bunch of advance scheduling! The further in advance I post events, the better the chance people can do them.
The second point of the new strategy is create some events that have regional appeal. I’m looking at events like Lake Pepin as inspiration. I don’t want to replicate Pepin exactly, but I do want to do some things that would get people from around the Northwest to attend. This means thinking bigger than a simple ten mile jaunt on a Sunday afternoon. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, and I will still be doing those. But I’m talking about full day and multi day events. What I’m thinking is this:
- A nice day ride, maybe something along the lines of the London Cambridge Rural Ramble that happens every October outside of Madison, Wisc. This would be in the 25-30 mile range, a respectable day on three speeds that would explore the metro area. There are several options around that are suitable.
- A tour! The Society has done a few overnight camping trips over the years. Now I want to do a multi day event that would happen over a weekend. The Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway would be a good location. (Since I didn’t do the planned Labor Day outing here, I still need to do a pre-ride.) This could be a camping tour or with lodging. This could be a regular summer weekend (probably later summer) or maybe a three day weekend. There’s a lot to think about with this one.
I’ll still do smaller events throughout the year, but these will be less intense than the events I’ve done in the past. I’m thinking along the lines of get-togethers and/or pub crawls. This means there will be less of the typical10-15 mile rides throughout the year. I’m going to save my energy for a couple marquee events.
But of course the Society is an international operation! So there are things that will happen for those of you who can’t make it to events based here in Portland:
- The challenges will return! While I’m not doing Three Speed October this year, I still plan on doing Three Speed Adventure April and Three Speed October in 2019. There may be some changes, but the basic ideas will remain the same.
- New membership kits! Yes, the thing I’ve been procrastinating about for a couple years now. Expect a fresh new membership kit in early 2019. Stay tuned!
Now this is where I want to hear from you, dear Three Speed Enthusiast! What do you think about my ideas and plans? Do you have any suggestions? Please let me know.
Now get out on your three speed and ride!