Contact information:

Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

September 20, 2014

What would you consider an incentive to retain membership to AERC?

This question was posed on one of the Endurance Rider face book pages by a well-known rider.  The question was promptly shot down by an even better known rider.  Not everyone holds the same ideals of what the AERC experience should be.  It is my opinion that we don't need more rides.  There are plenty of rides.  We need rides to be less expensive. We need more RIDERS to show up at rides.  To have more riders we need INCENTIVES that attract them to show up when the costs are exorbitant ( in relation to their income) to attend.  Riders makes the rides PROFITABLE for those who do host them (and God bless those that have the money and network of volunteer help to do so).  Clearly if people are having difficulty affording to attend two or three rides a year, I doubt they will have the economic means to host one.  This isn't meant to be one of those gripe sessions, but I guess deep down maybe it is.  But the question was asked, and it offends me when someone asks a question, and then is attacked because they just responded with a truthful answer,  and I do have the forum here to put my thoughts out there.  The truth is that the biggest barrier I personally face is the economy itself and nobody I know is going to fix that.  The biggest barrier AERC may face is the economy and aging rider syndrome.  If they can't fire up the young folk the sport is going to go down like the titanic in about a ten year + span,  or phase totally into international riding for the elite,...or by some stroke of good fortune it will morph into something that appeals to the incoming generation and their fresh ideas.  If the incoming have any say over that.   Those green beans...?  They are the cement of the future, and unless they find this sport welcoming, friendly, and encouraging, well---it will be what it will be.

I see membership as an offshoot of ride attendance. Membership is like voter registration.   I can carry around my voter ID card till the cows come home and having it means NOTHING.  Until I rally, and give the town an incentive to turn out and vote for my guy.  It is the action of going and doing the thing that counts.   Putting on rides has become very costly if what I've read is accurate, and ride numbers must support those rides.   Ride fees went up in my area this year, and that is likely because ride NUMBERS are significantly down. It simply requires more dollars from the lower census of riders to keep a ride afloat.  I've only been in the sport at all about six years.  I can see at the rides I'm able to attend a dramatically lower census of riders.   One ride I'm not sure how they are managing to keep going is The Salamonie ride  here in Indiana.  The bottom just dropped right out of how many are showing up for it.  That was the first ride I ever went to and it had a pretty good turnout with a novice ride.

The basis of this posting is that no matter what, to keep rides viable (and thus AERC alive) riders must show up to RIDE what we have.   If they are showing up and being treated well when they do, they feel an incentive to join, to be a part of the greater whole.

So support all the green beans you can.  Offer to ride share.  Offer to condition with them.  Don't shoot them down, lift them up.   Listen intently to their opinions even if you do not happen to hold the same ones.  The voice of the membership matters, and the voice of those who will later become the sport, all matter.  They are the future membership and the future of AERC. 

That is all.

1 comment:

  1. I am searching for the "Like" button for this post! Fantastic insight! Thank you!