Pedal Patter Changes – August 2016

by Lee Langford and Dave Helms for the PPTC Executive Committee

Our Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, evolving from a small group of cyclists riding from a single bike shop in Potomac to a 3,000 member giant with thousands of rides and several special events every year. As our Club grew, we organized, developed our ride schedule process, and began publishing the Pedal Patter. The first Pedal Patter was modest, just a few pages, but over the years it has grown – each monthly issue is now around 26 pages. Before the internet, the Pedal Patter was the primary means by which the Club shared Executive Committee announcements, promoted special events, and published the ride calendar. Even with the growth in Pedal Patter pages, we were able to offset the production and mail expenses with advertising revenue.

More recently, @PotomacPedalers has added a growing and increasing popular suite of social media sources including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the new Pedal Patter blog.  You can find everything that’s in the paper Pedal Patter in our digital social media streams and on our website, with better, richer content, and links to additional information not available in the paper newsletter. While our @PotomacPedalers social media brand has expanded, we continue to publish the paper Pedal Patter and send it by “snail mail.” Advertising revenue, however, has not kept pace with increasing cost of production, and there is a significant net cost to the club for publishing and mailing.

A way for us to bring these costs into line is to offer less expensive and better alternatives to the paper Pedal Patter. Because we do have alternatives for perusing the ride schedule using the Club’s web site, beginning with this issue we are replacing full ride listings with an abbreviated version – this will reduce paper and production costs and save several thousand dollars. The two ride schedules available on-line are:
Calendar View:
List View: 

The changes to communicating the ride schedule are not simply about cost but also are about taking advantage of communicating via the Internet. They are the first of a series of much larger efforts to make it easier for members to volunteer to lead rides. We will have much more to say in the upcoming months as we work with Sand Glass in building a new ride scheduling tool for the website. What we can say now is that with the new system, ride coordinators and ride leaders will no longer have to commit to volunteer to lead a ride two to six weeks in advance of the actual ride date in order to accommodate the paper Pedal Patter publishing deadline. The new ride calendar will also be significantly more user friendly for members to post and edit rides.

As we complete the modernization of this web tool, paid staff will no longer need to work approximately 25 hours each month to manage the ride calendar. Instead, this will free up time for staff and volunteers to focus on revamping the Pedal Patter’s format, allowing for better stories and a better way to showcase our shared journeys on bicycle. We will continue to make the changes in a measured way, including helping our members use digital media. We hope all will give us feedback and help us improve our services. Our Club motto remains, after all these years, “Why ride alone?” With expanded digital social media, you don’t have to read the paper Pedal Patter alone; now you can share the ride, your thoughts and the fun with friends and family.

@PotomacPedaler Information Sources:
— best place to find routine and special event rides and update membership
— Find latest Club activities, short ride reports and pictures, and a summary of future events
— Rapidfire news and events of bicycling community and cross-feeding of Club events to #bikedc
— Pictures shared from and with the @PotomacPedalers
Pedal Patter blog:
— On-line home for Pedal Patter long-form articles: Club news including Notes from the Chair and Member Profiles and Awards,  Women&Bicycles, and Special Club Events


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