I have extremely mixed emotions as I write my final President’s Message in WheelPeople. I am overjoyed that Rami Haddad has been elected to succeed me. Rami is a natural leader and a great person and I am comfortable that he will not only continue to drive CRW forward but also to steer it into some exciting new directions.
As I come to the end of two years as CRW President, I am astounded how different the two terms were. 2019 sped by so fast and though I felt that I had so much to learn, the year was incredibly successful. We had 2 very successful centuries including a very frigid, wet Climb to the Clouds. Both events were accompanied by rousing after-parties including great food and music. We had the first member party and annual meeting in many years and found a beautiful venue for our annual Holiday Party. The club created an e-bike policy, distributed name tags and began a significant growth spurt in membership.
And then came 2020 – do I need to say more? The year of Covid-19. We shut down our rides program and cancelled our centuries. Despite that, CRW volunteers stepped up to keep the club relevant in hard times, running a series of online workshops and webinars and taking our centuries virtual. Through careful planning and dedicated club members, our Cranberry Harvest Century was accompanied by a well-stocked rest stop on two different days. A Covid-19 Task Force guided the club through new policies and a limited re-opening. Club members donated $7,000 of their unused century registration fees for our grant program and CRW disbursed $17,000 to four extremely worthwhile bicycle advocacy groups. The Board recognized the impact of a curtailed riding program on members and extended all memberships for an additional year, free of charge. A new program curating the best rides in each town was established. The club appointed a Vice President of Diversity to advise the club on diversity, inclusion and equity issues. And, WheelPeople is more vibrant and full of meaty articles under the editorship of Eli Post!
Having served through these incredibly different years, I observe that one-year terms and a limitation on two such terms are not in the best interest of the club. It really takes almost a year for a CRW President to learn the ropes. It’s a large, volunteer-driven organization and surprisingly complex. My recommendation is that terms of future CRW Presidents be extended to two years. I will make these recommendations to the Board and will volunteer to help revise the club constitution and bylaws to make that happen.
As I depart as President, it’s been my pleasure to serve CRW, a club I truly cherish. I thank the Board, the Ride Leaders and all the many CRW Volunteers who make the club function. And, I thank the over 2600 members, a record number, who demonstrate the vitality of CRW.
I’m not going far. I will remain on the CRW Board during the coming year as Past President. I plan to assist Rami in whatever way that I can.
I wish you all very happy holidays, good health and a return to normalcy in 2021!