DEC 8TH UPDATE: Post-Meeting Thoughts
First thing I have to say, is I’m extremely frustrated that my exact prediction came true: CyclingBC was unprepared and left many questions unanswered in the meeting. It was embarrassing, unprofessional and a failure of leadership.
All the presented information (and more) should have been available online well before the meeting. There should have been a period of time for an invitation of questions, which would be compiled on the website. With that information provided, a Town Hall is much more meaningful, and the ‘basic’ questions are already answered, and any outstanding issues could be raised in that forum. It would be much more reasonable to allow a few days to compile any remaining information on the site, and then open the vote, rather than ‘hope’ the meeting can answer ‘everything’. That’s off the top of my dumb head how this could have been run better.
I was also personally offended several steps of the way in this process, and have outlined this below under Additional Thoughts in an effort to keep this section shorter. I normally try to keep ‘myself’ out of this, but this I feel my treatment has been extraordinarily poor.
The vote was to open Dec 7th, and the website hadn’t changed or been updated that day. A recording of the meeting was also supposed to posted, and was not on the 7th. I’m somewhat surprised that today on the 8th the video is there, with an added FAQ, which does answer some questions, but leaves others (on the Day License Trends chart, what do the two coloured lines represent?)
I have some Brene Brown inspired advice for CyclingBC: transparency and accountability build trust. And I think we’ve lost a lot of trust.
All said, I’ve still got a few big questions that relate to this, none is a deal-breaker on its own, but they compound and paint an unfortunate picture that needs to be addressed.
I’m still not convinced the 24/7 insurance is worth it. It seems to only kick in for really severe accidents….which for most are pretty uncommon and benefit few. Given that many already have secondary insurance, or ride infrequently, I maintain this ought to be scrapped, or made an optional add-on at best. The benefits are advertised poorly, and I’ve heard accounts where people might have benefitted, but had no idea about it.
I also don’t get how we can get 24/7 for $50, but ‘sanctioned event only’ is still $35 (if I understood what they were saying at the meeting.) How can it go from ‘events only’ to 24/7 coverage for just $15? That just doesn’t seem plausible.
Another interpretation is that this is referencing the same insurance, but it’s $35 for $1000 coverage, and $50 for $5000. In that case I guess it’s worth the extra, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it ought to be optional, and many simply may not want it. We really don’t know because the information isn’t clear, and no one else has surveyed the membership. (Side note: why isn’t this being marketed widely to cycling commuters, who ARE out 5 days a week? If it’s such great coverage, wouldn’t they be piling on to get it?)
According to the 2021 Financial statement ( https://cyclingbc.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/20211231-Financial-Statements.pdf ) $564,715 was paid in wages and benefits, and $193,108 as “Subcontractors”. $757,823 total.
Total revenue was $1,246,689. 60% of CyclingBC’s total revenue goes to pay people. IMO a lean and efficient organization does not pay 60% of their total revenue to staff/workers. And raising membership fees to cover that isn’t fair. I’ve read Erin’s annual salary is ~$114k. If so, that’s 10% of TOTAL organizational revenue, or over 1/4 total revenue from memberships in 2021 ($471k revenue from memberships and licenses.)
This is also a significant jump in percentage of revenue from 2020, wages & subcontractors were $432,976 & $124,798 respectively. Total revenue in 2020 was $1,062,476. This was still 52% of the total. It’s not even a creep; wages are steamrolling to higher and higher costs.
What’s the situation with other cycling orgs? Looking at the Ontario Cycling Association (financials here: https://ontariocycling.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/2021-Ontario-Cycling-Audited-Financial-Statements.pdf ) $486,634 was paid in wages and benefits. They don’t list subcontractors, and none of the rest are obviously paid workers to me. Their annual revenue was $1,711,391. That’s 28% of their total revenue. Granted they have different opportinuties to generate income, but it seems much more within reason of their budget. OCA website lists over 9,200 members for the record, the revenue from that is comparable to CyclingBC oddly, with 4600 members the same year. Are Ontario racers getting better value?
I should be clear I’m not at all opposed to paid staff and would happily make the case it’s necessary for CyclingBC, but the value to members needs to be factored in, and I’m not feeling good value right now.
There appear to be two main ways to insure a smaller event – ‘Grassroots’ and ‘Mass Participation’. Prices here: https://cyclingbc.net/organizers/event-sanctioning-registration/ Descriptions here: https://cyclingbc.net/organizers/event-sanctioning-registration/registered-events/
To put on a single small Grassroots event, you pay a rate of $35. Participants need a Ride or UCI license, or can purchase a day license (currently $12, although proposed to increase to $25 or $35. Erin decides this, and there is no vote.)
To put on a single Mass Participation event, going with their highest cost listing (<100 people) it’s $3.50 per person. No license is required. (That fee drops with more participants.)
It’s not clear if insurance or liability is different between these. But assuming they’re similar, why is a Grassroots drop-in $12 (in addition to a $35 fee), and the Mass Participation is $3.50 (or less), total? Why are the fees between these so different?
CyclingBC has also failed to communicate this to organizers. Joanna Fox from the Tripleshot club was visibly perturbed by this in the meeting, where they’ve been organizing their fundraiser Cross Fondo with the Grass Roots option for several years, charging much more than was necessary to all (which could have gone to their own fundraising efforts rather than CyclingBC).
MEMBERSHIP BREAKDOWN IS OMITTED
We’re given a membership number of over 5,300 for 2022, but what is the breakdown? How many are UCI, Race, Ride and iRide/HopOn? This is important.
All we know is $471,795 was income in 2021 for memberships and licenses, and in 2021 memberships were around 4,600, so that’s an average of $102 per member. Which seems really high given most sold licenses are under $100. This number may not be helpful, it may include event income, as well as club memberships, etc, etc. We don’t know. Each one of us has to ask CyclingBC to find out.
I would like to see a more granular breakdown of memberships from 2019 (pre-COVID as a comparison) and 2022. A single membership number does not show where the trends in licenses has gone.
I’m honestly trying to end my diatribe, but have other important questions. Why are there no member surveys? Surely spending a few minutes putting together a survey could have given them much better insight into what members are thinking and guided this process more effectively.
Fundraising is also a huge issue, and rather than doing the work, they’re simply passing it on to the members. If more revenue is required, why not hire a fundraiser? In non-profit-speak, it’s someone who not only pays for themselves (so no extra cost), but generates meaningful revenue for the organization. It’s often a part-time role, it’s often the case fundraisers will work for a few orgs, and certainly doesn’t need to be full-time.
Final thought is we haven’t even heard what happens if this is voted down. What is the plan then?
Please vote, and please vote “NO” in the poll.
And please do share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom!
(If you haven’t been to this page before, please see below for a survey I’ve conducted with members, as well as more concerning details.)
–> SURVEY LINK! Please fill out this short survey, more info below!
–> Survey Update: 4:30pm on Tues, Dec 6th, it’s been sent over to CyclingBC to be presented tonight, thanks to the 150 respondents! I’ll leave it up for now if others want to fill it out, and the results for the 150 can be viewed in this PDF.
(ORIGINAL POST FROM DEC 2ND)
This week (on Dec 1st) CyclingBC sent out an email with a proposal for 2023 race license fees, featuring significant increases, as well as an invite to a Town Hall meeting. It can be found on their blog here.
I couldn’t believe my eyes; the proposed fees are exorbitant, and in my opinion have already been a barrier to accessing racing in BC, but this really pushes it over the top. (Note: I’ve focused on race licenses, but this also affects Ride licenses, and can generally be interchanged here.)
The current 2022 membership fees are $120 for a Provincial race license (can participate in any BC event, with the exception of National Championships.) It’s $165 for a UCI license (allows racing at any UCI sanctioned event across Canada and worldwide.)
The CyclingBC race licenses also feature ’24/7 Ride Accident’ ‘extended insurance coverage’ for any time we’re riding. It’s not optional, unlike in Ontario where I believe it’s a $25 add-on if preferred. I think it’s important to highlight that I believe a regular license, in addition to standard Provincial health coverage, includes some extra coverage at any CyclingBC event. This primarily extends extra coverage when riding elsewhere.
I would argue this extra insurance ought to be an add-on, a casual rider who’s planning to race a few events, and isn’t training regularly probably doesn’t need this.
In the past, these licenses were significantly cheaper. About a decade ago, a Provincial level license was in the $40 range, and the UCI was in the $90-120 range. (And without the extra insurance coverage.)
Not a direct part of this, and a separate decision is the one-day license fees, currently they’re $12, but are proposed to be raised to $25-35, to encourage a full membership.
Other Canadian License Fees
I think it’s also important to consider license fees in other provinces. I’ve visited the largest organizations and compiled their rates in this table. I’ve included ‘Provincial’ licenses, as well as the offered UCI license that appears to cover the widest range of cycling (please correct me if I’m wrong on any specific instances!)
|Organization||Provincial Race License Cost||Senior UCI Race License Cost||Notes|
|Cycling BC (2022)||$120||$165||Includes extended insurance coverage.|
|Cycling BC (2023 Proposal)||$170||$220||Includes extended insurance coverage.|
|Alberta Bicycle Association (2022)||$125||$170|
|Saskatchewan Cycling Association (2022)||$55||$110|
|Manitoba Cycling Association (2022)||$90||$135|
|Ontario Cycling Association (2022)||$45||$190||UCI is cheaper if not for 'all disciplines'. Eg 'CX Only' is $100.|
|FQSC Quebec (2022)||$100||$173 (-$22)||Prices can vary depending on category, this is Senior Elite 1. Also there appears to be a $22 credit.)|
|Bicycle Nova Scotia||$80||$140|
You can see there are some stark differences. On the provincial level, it’s nearly twice as expensive as any other province.
I had a chat with Erin the Executive Director at CyclingBC about fee breakdowns, she’ll be presenting this at the Town Hall meeting (I suggested publishing it earlier, preferably on their page), and in general terms my understanding is it’s about $60 for the basic license fees, $20 for administration and overhead, the extended coverage is now $50 (was around $25), and she also gave me a ‘cost’ of $150 per racing member that reflects the various costs CyclingBC incurs organizing (I didn’t note all the details, but includes training commissaires, coaching, and other racing-related expenses, and other CyclingBC programs. I look forward to a more detailed breakdown, and what CyclingBC programs are a part of this.) So a portion of that $150 cost is also included in the proposed fee.
I also learned that membership provides about 1/3 their annual revenue, and that 60% of memberships are non-race (eg. Ride licenses, which are needed for club rides, etc..). You can access their 2021 financial statement here.
I get that it’s a balancing act to decide where fundraising occurs, but I would have to question if memberships are the place for it in this case. Costco is an example of where it works – their membership is actually a very large percentage of their annual income. But they also have a very, very large membership. The cycling community is fairly small, so to rely on this means those membership fees are significantly more of a burden per member. Perhaps finding a different revenue stream would be better in this instance. Or hiring a fundraiser.
(There’s another whole topic about non-profit organizational structure, and that the CyclingBC board is actually quite impotent. It’s commonplace that a board plays a significant role in fundraising for their non-profit organizations, but with CyclingBC the board is more of a ceremonial body than driving force. The ED makes most decisions for CyclingBC, as described in their Constitution and organization documents, and frankly I feel there’s way too much responsibility with the ED, and it’s an unfair role. The board would commonly be the ones directing where fundraising and revenue streams occur, and ought to hold more responsibility.)
Below is a link to a very short survey to get a sense of what the BC bike riding/racing community thinks of the current rates, the proposed fees, and if it’s something that could be holding them back from getting a CyclingBC membership and participating.
It’s just multiple-choice questions, no personal info, and won’t take more than a minute to complete, thank you for sharing your opinion!
Town Hall Meeting
I’ll also be preparing some items for the December 6th Town Hall meeting, and welcome others to speak about this topic.
I also requested a list of the CyclingBC Provincial and UCI fees for each year going back to 2010, but they declined to provide this and said they’d share this at the Town Hall.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, and I’ll be adding a ‘CyclingBC Topics’ sub-list to my email list for those who want to receive periodic updates on the topic of CyclingBC and their governance.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be updating this as I learn more so do check back, and let’s do what we can to keep group rides and racing healthy in BC!
Additional Thought #1: I thought it would be interesting to include membership fees for a ‘parallel’ sporting body: TriBC – their full membership is $75 (or less) with similar member benefits, coverage, etc.. Might be worthwhile to investigate how they’re keeping fees low.
Additional Thought #2: (Originally posted by me to the EV FB group) Another point that really irks me with all this: the vast majority of the membership will be expected to vote with very little information.
Some of us will attend the meeting, sure, but most won’t. They don’t seem to have any plans to actually share relevant information on their page/website. Maybe they will post a video of the meeting afterwards…so now people have to sit through a video of a meeting to get some info?
All the information people have been asking for should already be on the site. We should all have the opportunity to be informed before the meeting even begins. We should all be able to DISCUSS that information before the meeting begins, rather than being limited to learning it on the spot, and having to digest, scrutinize and critique it all on the spot. And over video conferencing no less. And no doubt some relevant info will be requested, but unavailable, because it’s on the spot. This just isn’t a good or fair process.
Additional Thought #3: The Cross on the Rock FB page has an insightful post, here’s some interesting data they’ve shared as well:
“For the Cross on the Rock series. 40% of our racers do not have licenses in 2022. That is a HUGE change from only 13.5% in 2019. A change in day licenses (which has not been determined or talked about at this point but if one thing is changing…..others most likely are as well) will have a major impact in our series and quite possibly we would have to fold after 16 seasons. If day licenses become unsustainable for doing a cyclocross race we need to find other options to keep people racing. The first stop is affordable, reasonable and multi-valued annual licenses.“
Additional Thought #4: CyclingBC needs to treat their members better, and I feel my treatment was extraordinarily poor.
Initially Erin was clearly displeased with me presenting the information here, and requested taking some of it down. I believe it may have also been characterized to others she’s spoken with as ‘confidential’ but at no point during our call, nor any follow-up emails, was any of the information she provided described as ‘confidential’. I would have respected if she stated that any was provided in confidence, and had I thought it important to be made public, I would have emphasized that to her, or stated it here. I felt like this was a breach of my personal privacy, and an untruthful slight on my personal character.
I also emailed her the PDF of the survey results late Tuesday, after emailing Tuesday morning inquiring when she would like it by, so that I could reference it when it was my opportunity to speak. I wasn’t given a reply for a time, and only after sending the PDF was I told:
“I’ve consulted with my board. This meeting is not intended to allow members to make presentations. You are welcome to ask questions during the meeting but not make a presentation.”
So in CyclingBCville, the Mayor is the only one who gets to present information at “Town Hall” meetings. What kind of Town Hall is that?
Once the meeting began, I posted one quick question in the chat feature, asking what membership totals were for the last three years, I didn’t speak, it was just quickly read and responded to which was perfect. I waited some time, and then listed my name to ask a few more questions (as was the procedure). When my name came up, it was skipped. Thankfully one of the following people, Joanna Fox, mentioned that I had been skipped. I didn’t quite catch the remark from CyclingBC, but it was along the lines of ‘he’s already asked a bunch of questions’ and then something to the effect of ‘we’ll ask him later’. Several people asked multiple questions and weren’t treated this way.
Around 8:30 I was randomly asked if I still had any questions. I was a bit thrown off not expecting that, and decided to simply focus on how CyclingBC is expecting a vote from members with providing virtually no information, and were unprepared for the meeting. I was pretty flustered at that point, and already a number of questions were answered with ‘we’ll have to get back to you on that’.
Overall I don’t think the meeting was very productive other than confirming many of the suspicions I’ve outlined. A few questions were answered, plenty more mysteries revealed, and a rather uncomfortable moment when Erin was asked about the insurance, and had to pause for at least a minute to collect herself and try and explain what to me sounded extremely convoluted and complex and forced rational.
While I understand what I’m asking, and presenting isn’t helpful to the narrative CyclingBC is trying to project, I think they could have treated me more respectfully and with much less hostility. All this says to me is that they’re set on an agenda, and have little interest in anything that conflicts with, or diverges from that. And that should worry members. To quote Jon Stewart: “scrutiny is not an attack.”
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