PPTC Annual Meeting Recap

On January 23, 2016, Potomac Pedalers was to hold it’s Annual Meeting. On January 22, the area had one of it’s biggest snow storms ever. As it goes with every weather event, there was much doubt whether the weather would amount to anything, but the ExCom decided to heed the apocalyptic warnings and postpone the meeting just three days prior. ExCom member and soon-to-be Vice Chair Martine Palmiter had worked diligently to plan the meeting and scrambled to plan it again for a different date. Luckily our usual meeting site, the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, could offer a few alternative dates in the near future and after also consulting with our speaker, Brett Flemming, who had been hours away from hopping a plane to the area from Portland, Oregon, the Annual Meeting was rescheduled to February 13th.

Snow teased us again on our Annual Meeting, take 2, but in spite of this, a few hardy souls cycled to meet the near 150 folks who gathered to eat, drink, socialize, and hear our energetic speaker Brett Flemming!

Before our special guest, Pedalers mingled during lunch at various resource tables set up to inform members about Club events and initiatives. This was a popular addition to the meeting, helping to connect and inform members. The new members table played an important role, giving people who didn’t know anyone a place to check-in and get introduced around.

Brett Brings His Effective Cycling Techniques to PPTC!

So who is Brett Flemming? Brett is a seminar leader, a tech consultant, and an inventor, having invented the Safe Zone mirror, a unique device which offers a “panoramic cycling experience.” He’s worked for 35 years in high-performance bike shops and found that non one addressed the fact that bike accidents often happen because riders are not trained in defensive techniques, even to avoid simple collisions. His mission is to change this.

Prior to the meeting, Brett wanted to hold a Bike Rodeo to demonstrate some key  techniques, but the bitter cold made that nearly impossible. He, and a few hardy souls did, however, bike to the meeting – Kensington to Bethesda in the intermittent howling wind and a temperature hovering somewhere in the teens!

Brett’s engaging and energetic presentation covered basic information on simple bike maintenance and how keeping a working bike is the first step in being a defensive rider. He then moved on to speak about advanced safety skills every biker should endeavor to learn, including how to make a “panic stop,” corner safely, bunny-hop and more. While these things may seem like “tricks,” his point was that they should be considered need-to-know skills.

Another important point to learning to be an “effective cyclist” is to know how to communicate properly and assertively and maintain a situational awareness, always leaving yourself enough space to retreat. To the end of creating that situational awareness, Brett then talked about the function and necessity of using a mirror while riding. A lucky Pedaler walked home with one of the SafeZone mirrors as Brett raffled one off to our crowd.

A very special thank you to Brett Flemming for joining us at our annual meeting this year! Brett is committed to sharing his knowledge with our members and will be a guest contributor to the Pedal Patter and our website in the future.

Chair Presentation

After Brett’s talk, we got down to business and addressed club news. Chair Matt Birnbaum talked about the past year and the goals for the future. In offering a ride every day in 2015, Matt emphasized the strength of our Club and the commitment of volunteers and members to offering quality rides and events. As we branch out to draw in and cater to underserved demographics, we continue to serve our core membership.

Matt spoke about the enormous success of moving our Back Roads Century to Shepherdstown, the volunteer resources that made it possible, and the probability that our century will become a weekend event and that the Shepherdstown community is a solid partner and invested in our success. The move to Shepherdstown did have anticipated higher costs, but the forecast growth of the event to become a weekend would bring in more revenue in future years.

Another topic Matt spoke of was the Potomac Pedalers website. A complete overhaul is planned which will make the website more user-friendly and mobile-friendly.

These planned investments in our Club means that we are keenly focused on maintaining the fiscal health of our Club. In the short term the Club will be decreasing it’s grant giving and looking to reduce costs overall. In the long-term, a task force has been set up to review and assess our fiscal health. Doing so when there are no problems will ensure things stay that way.

New Executive Committee Named

We welcomed new board members to the Executive Committee and thanked board members Sue Gunter and Denise Cohen who have completed their terms. A hearty welcome to new board members: Martine Palmiter (Vice Chair), Stephen Krill (Recording Secretary), and David Helms,  Paul Huey-Burns, and Debbie McCall (all members-at-large).

Annual Award Winners Named

We are a Club rich with committed and caring volunteers. Perhaps the most joyful part of every Annual Meeting is when we name the year’s award winners. This year was no different – for the complete list, read the related article in this issue and be sure to congratulate these amazing folks.

Many thanks to all PPTC members who helped to make the Annual Meeting such a success. We’ll do it again next year!


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