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mfarnham
Nov 27, 2023
In General Banter
Hi folks,   Thought I’d make some comments on the CBC fees increase situation given the discussion on Spond. I’m posting it on the forum, but it’s a response to a Spond thread.   Some background:    CBC has gone through some periods of deep dysfunction over the years.  This is not totally surprising given that it serves a lot of different constituencies who each value different things (recreational riders, racers, people across 8 cycling disciplines, urban vs. rural, club vs. not, etc.). The board used to be operational (they directly managed staff) but it was often populated by single-issue-driven people and there was a lot of infighting and poor coordination--too many cooks in the kitchen, each wanting to serve up something different to the membership and often giving conflicting direction to staff.  Tripleshot’s Craig Bosenberg served on the  board and was among those who advocated for switching to a governance board that would supply strategic direction plus a CEO who would handle the operations side of things (implement the strategic vision of the board—more like one chef broadly directed by a committee).  This was contentious because some of the single-issue folks wanted to keep their control over operations and push their pet projects.  One board member at the time even secretly rallied proxy votes against the bylaws changes in 2019 that a majority of the board had voted in favour of (a bit like what’s happening today—where one board member has lobbied votes against the 7-1 board majority recommendation for the 2024 fee schedule and disseminated documents that may have violated staff privacy).    The 2019 Bylaws changes were approved by the membership at the AGM and now we have a governance board.  That means the Board tries to agree on where the ship should go, but we turn it over to the CEO to plot the course and direct staff to get us there.  If the CEO directs badly, we can fire her.  In my little over a year on the board, the board has mostly governed by consensus. In my view, the advantage of the “governance board” model that we currently have is that we can bring all of our own individual perspectives to the table, but the staff has more consistent direction and expectations as a result of having a single manager.    As Tripleshot president during the Covid outbreak, I was often in daily communication with Erin Waugh, the CEO then and now. The province had shut down our rides and as a large club bringing good ideas to the table, Tripleshot benefited from a cooperative relationship with Erin.  I’m pretty sure we were the first large club in the province to re-open our rides and that’s largely because we were on the phone to Erin and talking, not yelling.  In 2021 (after I stepped down as TS president) I became less happy with how Cycling BC handled the 94Forward situation that Lister mentioned on Spond.  In that case, I felt Cycling BC and Cycling Canada were trying to maintain control over things that would have been better managed by a club—in that particular case, Tripleshot (who had an innovative proposal to use 94Forward funds).  That’s a whole other story, but suffice it to say I became a person frustrated with CBC (I even did some yelling at Erin back then, which I now regret—more on yelling later).  Based on those frustrations and others noted by Lister on Spond I decided to run for the board.    Unfortunately I’ve barely been able to spend any time on those concerns.  90% of my time spent working on my CBC board duties has been crisis management dealing with the 1% of members who accuse Erin and the board of being crooks or incompetent. I’m the treasurer and while I don’t sign the cheques, I do review Erin’s expenses on a monthly basis, and there’s nothing untoward about them (it’s pretty boring stuff).  I sometimes ask questions about some of those expenses, and thus far I’ve always gotten satisfactory answers.  I review the budget line items with Erin a few times a year and I sometimes have criticisms or suggestions, but as Craig reckoned on Spond, there’s nothing nefarious in the books.  I’ve met privately with the auditor (a routine end-of-year process) who tells me we keep excellent books and everything is in order.  Different people have different priorities and would want the money spent differently no doubt, but what Erin is doing is sensible given the broad direction she’s been handed by the board.    I’ve learned several things since joining the board.    1)    A little humility goes a long way.  I came in from my little corner of cycling thinking I knew how things should be done, but then I realized I was just bringing one point of view and needed to learn a bit before trying to convince everyone to do things my way.  Asking questions and learning why things are done the way their done makes it easier for me to propose changes that are actually feasible.  It also sometimes makes me realize the flaws in my original idea. 2)    There are pros and cons to a big tent.  We’re a diverse organization (sadly not yet in the socioeconomic sense, but along many other dimensions—number of disciplines etc.) and lots of people want the ship to sail in different directions.  There are some key advantages to a big tent.  Purchasing insurance is much cheaper for 6300 people together than for multiple groups of several hundred (road racers, recreational roadies, MTB downhill riders, etc.).  Go Google individual bike insurance and see what you can find that’s equivalent to what CBC offers. Another advantage to a big tent is that the government would rather give a couple big grants to “Cycling” than dozens of smaller grants to small sub-disciplines.  And having one organization lobby for grants takes less administrative resources than having 8 different disciplines writing their own minor grant proposals. The downside of a big tent is that you end up with multiple constituencies with highly divergent priorities. This means every member is likely to want to see different priorities than what the CEO actually implements. If the CEO ever perfectly pleased one constituency, all the others would likely revolt.  Holding the family together is challenging and requires a spirit of compromise rather than “my way or the highway”. 3)    Talking tends to be more productive than yelling.  We had a yeller on the board for a short while, and productive work ground to a halt.  I suspect many of the current yellers among the membership and I agree on some things that we might be able to work together to change.  But they’re so busy yelling that they haven’t bothered to try to speak with me. If there’s something you want to see done differently, talk to me about it.  Remember, coffee is the best way to sort out differences among riders. 4)    Erin is probably underpaid.  Especially given the verbal abuse she receives from a small handful of our members.  She’s been subject to pretty appalling harassment at times (some of which is on tape). Not only is that poor behaviour, it’s a financial liability to the organization and its members. CBC used to be dependent on a few rich Vancouver donors because there was no willingness or capability within the organization to make the effort to be accountable to government for grants.  That has changed under Erin, so now a significant portion of our revenues come from government grants which tend to be more a more stable source of revenue than wealthy donors. 5)    Getting members to engage is really hard.  I’ve pushed for greater engagement especially with clubs, because clubs are aggregators of what many cyclists in the province want.  But when we schedule townhalls, very few clubs send people.  And when very few people show up, it’s hard to know whether the views expressed are representative of the larger membership.  There were two townhalls held specifically about the 2024 fee schedule starting in early November, very few people turned up, and a couple of those who did yelled at Erin for most of the meetings.  It didn’t make for a very productive exchange of information. 6)     There’s lots of room for improvement.  Cycling Canada and Cycling BC both fail to recognize the value of what happens in clubs.  Both sports organizations engage in reinventing the wheel when they could turn to clubs like Triplehot to help them improve the sport.  Want better youth development?  Give grants to clubs to do that rather than hiring a provincial coach to poach talent from youth programs.  And treat HopOn as a recruiting program for local youth clubs.  Want to promote socioeconomic diversity?  Give grants to clubs to recruit in underserved communities and provide clubs with training and best practices to facilitate that. I have no doubt we can do better.  It’s just that improvement is not going to originate in a bunch of people yelling at the CEO and hollering about financial impropriety where there is none.  And blowing up the organization will almost certainly make all but a handful of members worse off.   Happy to talk to people more about this over coffee.    Best, Martin
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mfarnham
Aug 21, 2023
In Tripleshot Racing
So this happened... TOUR DE L'AVENIR 2023 || STAGE 2,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JHyiXCh3I0 Tour de l'Avenir Stage 2. Thanks again to the Tripleshot Founders (before my time) for having the foresight to start such a successful youth program. And to our members and sponsors over the years for supporting the program financially and in spirit. And to Lister for being such an inspiring coach since the youth program started in 2010, and Jo for all her logistical support. :) Martin
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mfarnham
Jun 09, 2023
In Tripleshot Classifieds
Hi. I have a friend who has a twice used, 2-bike, trunk/hatchback rack (the kind that hangs bikes off the back of your car) that she doesn't need. $50 obo. Posting it for Tripleshot first...will go to one of the larger listing sites after a few days if there's no interest here. Cheers! Martin
Barely used trunk/hatchback bike rack for sale content media
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