Reviving 044…

As our next ride comes up this weekend lead by now State Officer Rod Armstrong and leaving from the Sunoco in Germantown next to Captain 9’s, I’m moved to think about the last time I participated in a ride starting from this location and with this Ride Captain.  That of course lead me into thinking about all that has happened since.

The last ride I participated in starting from this point and lead by Rod was my first ride with the Southern Cruisers.  It was the fall of 2008.  I had learned about the Cruisers through Madura aficionado and Regional Officer Greg Galales while conversing with him on the Delphi forums.  After checking it out, I had signed up and this was the first ride scheduled after that.  With some trepidation, Dee and I showed up on Maddie, my old Suzuki Madura 700 for a ride with the group over to Little Nashville.

Rod and Marsha greeted us as did the other riders, and all made us feel welcome.  The ride was amazing and we’ve made many rides since.  Since that time, things change as they are aught to do.  Rod started up Chapter 179 in Greenville since his home there was so far from the “Miami Valley” area covered by 044.  Many of the riders that participated that August day are now riding with 179.

Later, the First Officer of 044, Rick Shapiro announced that he had only signed up to be First Officer for two years and that the two years was up.  He stepped down essentially at the end of the 2009 season.  I’m not sure exactly who the Second Officer was at that point, but apparently he wasn’t interested in stepping in.  As such, the First Officer position transitioned to Scott Hively.   Rick Geatty accepted the Second Officer position.  It’s now late fall 2009.

By Spring 2010, Scott concluded that he wasn’t able to lead the chapter as he expected to and notified everyone that he was stepping down.  For lack of a First Officer, the chapter was in danger of being shut down.  I wasn’t about to let the chapter fade away without a fight so I offered to assume the First Officer position.  That was met with some surprise by a couple of members being that I was relatively new with the club, but again, no one else offered, and I wasn’t about to let the chapter get shut down without making an effort.

2010 saw the addition of a new website with an actual domain, email services and a Ride Caption and a Members mailing list.  Rick Geatty felt it best that I find a Second Officer that I could work with that wouldn’t be as limited in service due to his expected travel schedule.  He stepped down.  I managed to put together a number of decent rides for the season, but it was certainly a challenge.

Our ride count has been up and down since, and I’ve worked to provide as many rides for the chapter as possible.  Participation has been low but fairly steady.   When I joined, it was not uncommon for rides to have a dozen bikes.  Usually it was more like 6 or 8.  These days, we pretty regularly get 4.  My struggle at the moment is providing a decent number of rides.   Unfortunately, I don’t have time to lead them all, and though a few people on the roster have indicated they’d lead rides, ride plans and dates never seem to come.

It would seem though that the Cruisers is ever a dynamic organization.  Among other changes over the last couple of years, the First Officer for our neighbors the 309 stepped up to become State Officer.  Jake served in the position for a time and then stepped down to spend more time with family.  His wife Crystal has been a dynamic force behind 309 and also our state website.  I’m not sure who is FO of 309 these days.  Rod Armstrong, First Officer of 179 has now assumed command as State Officer and now Tom Kaugher has assumed the reigns of 179.  179 is healthy and active and should be a model for other chapters.

One of the things I’m most excited to see about the changes these days is that now that Rod is State Officer, he’s bringing the energy he put into 179 to the state level now, and he’s being proactive about helping chapters grow and succeed.   He’s committed to helping to bring 044 back to the level of success it had when he was still a chapter member here, even if he has to lead rides for us himself.  Thus, we’ll be starting with his ride to Rabbit Hash this weekend.

For my part, Dee and I have discussed how we can best manage our ride contribution to the club and we’ve decided that a scheduled ride on a set day of the month is our best way to do so.  So, we’ve set up “Steve and Dee’s Ride” for the third Sunday of each month.  Areas and destinations are still to be determined for some rides, but they are on the schedule and planning is in progress.

We’re also going to model our efforts after those of Rod, Tom and 179.  That is to say that we’ll be making every effort to spread the word about SCRC and 044 and recruit new members.  That will include making chapter business cards and passing them out to any rider that will have them.

Currently, we have 45 names on the roster.  Of them, about 8 participate regularly.  Many of the others I’ve never met.  While it’s wonderful to have a roster of 45, if 37 of them are never heard from, we don’t have much of a chapter.   As such, we’re also going to be pruning dead wood.   SCRC doesn’t have a ride or participation requirement, but they do have a policy on removing inactive members.   If you wish to stay on the roster, it isn’t hard.   Here’s all you have to do:

  • Ride when you can
  • Provide feedback or suggestions about rides
  • RSVP on rides when requested, even if it’s “no”

Simple right?  We need to know our emails and communications aren’t falling into a black hole.  If we never hear from you and you aren’t riding with us, you don’t need to be on our roster.  If you haven’t responded to an email from me or I haven’t seen you in a year or more, you can pretty much expect to be removed.

I don’t want to end on a negative note.   We’re working on reviving 044.  That will be with some new blood and some energizing of some veteran blood.  It will also be with the help of people like Rod and Tom.  I’m hoping if you’re on our roster and reading this, it will be with your help as well.   If you’re not on our roster and reading this, drop me a line.  We’re looking for interested riders.