2017 Dartmoor Away Day Feedback

Following on from low attendance at this year’s September away weekend, I created a feedback form to get some information from the club members, and the results are below. The survey was discussed at the latest committee meeting, notes of which are here

1. I’m interested in attending Away weekends

89% (32/36)

2. I’ve attended Away Weekends before (i.e. New Forest/IoW, Beer, Peak District)

61% (22/36)

3. Location

The choice of Dartmoor was made at the AGM in February. The terrain was similar to the Peak District, with all routes requiring some climbing. Dartmoor is also a slightly shorter drive than the Peak District. With hindsight, would a different location have made you more likely to attend? If so, where?

58% (21/36 ) were in favour of the Peak District, 9 clearly against. 6 didn’t give an obvious answer.

Comments included:

  • The away weekends have become solely focussed on incredibly ambitious climbing weekends. The vast majority of the club are not accomplished climbers or advanced riders. I think a return to more sensible choices of rides or terrains might help.
  • Yes, nearer to home. Being away for one group night is great fun and can be low cost with no time off work but you are picking locations where the driving time exceeds the riding time. Or eats too much into time off works. How about a weekend on the IOW. Two days riding, one night, no time off work. Come for one day or two, Saturday or Sunday or both. People can enjoy a social and Little or loads of riding.
  • I thought Dartmoor had more severe hills than the Peaks which worried me. Main reason I didn’t go was because my ‘cycling female friends’ couldn’t make it.
  • Within 80 miles.
  • I prefer a point-to-point ride rather than being based in one location and cycling circular routes from the base. It give more sense of achievement.

Suggestions include:

  • So many options in the UK, wales (south or north), Yorkshire etc
  • South Wales
  • A route taking in some of the big Surrey hills. Appreciate it is hardly “away” but many club members might not have had the chance to do these.
  • New forest could be a good location as local

4. Routes

The routes were published some weeks before the event; did these dissuade you from attending? Would you have liked them published earlier? Should they have been longer/shorter?

64% (23/36) gave said they were not dissuaded from the routes. 12 didn’t answer the first question, but many of these wanted the routes published earlier. 1 person disagreed with the route choices:

Yes. The routes were self indulgent for climbers. Needed to be a mixture of distance and terrain and not full out climbing session’s

Comments:

  • Longer!
  • The earlier the better with routes. I think it’s important that there are route options for everyone to ensure the event and indeed the club remains fully inclusive of all levels and abilities.
  • No. But too much climbing is off putting. 3 days and 150+ miles of riding is challenging even for accomplished riders.
  • Didn’t look at the routes. Once I decide to go, I trust the organisers to select good routes, as they have in the past.
  • Location more than routes dissuaded me.

5. Accommodation

This year, we booked to stay at the Youth Hostel in Bellever in the middle of Dartmoor, close to many good rides. Do you feel happy to stay in youth hostels? Would the option of a single night’s stay (i.e. Sat->Sun) be helpful? Any other thoughts on the accommodation?

61% (22/36) felt happy to stay in YHA, 1 said maybe. 8 said No, 5 abstained.

Comments:

  • Youth hostels are fine they accommodate all of us and our bikes
  • Youth hostel work well and keep the price low, which makes them suitable for all
  • I personally prefer to pay a little more and stay someone more comfortable than the YHA. When doing long days in the saddle back-to-back it’s important to retreat to somewhere thats comfortable and will afford a good nights sleep.
  • Youth hostels are fine. No problems at all. We stayed an extra night after the Peaks at a premier inn…which was our choice to make a longer away weekend.
  • On this occasion single night might haves swung it
  • I like creature comforts and would prefer a few ‘notches’ up from YH accomodation. Also prefer single night

6. Dates

The away weekend has been set at the end of September for the last few years, after school holidays, but before the weather turns too bad.
Is this date inconvenient? Would you prefer it to not coincide with Basingstoke 1/2 Marathon, or some other event?

27% 10/36 found it convenient. 9 had personal commitments. 33% (12/36) would prefer it earlier in the year. 3 want it to avoid the Basingstoke Half Marathon. 3 did not have an opinion.

7. Cost

We made a group booking for Bed & Breakfast at Bellever YHA at £25/night for 2 nights, plus the 3.4% plus 20p that Paypal charge. Do you feel that the cost dissuaded you from attending?

Nobody had an issue with the cost of accommodation at Youth Hostels.

8. Weather

Do you feel that the weather stopped you from coming; were you waiting to see the forecast before deciding?

50% (18/36) answered yes, or maybe to this question; many suggested going earlier in the year as part of their answer. However, we need to fully pay for the accommodation before the forecast is known, so this is a catch 22.

Comments:

  • Definitely waited to see what the weather was going to be like, Dartmoor in bad weather is terrible
  • Potentially yes. Refer to my earlier point about the time of year. Riding 3 days back to back in rain and colder climate is not my idea of pleasure/leisure cycling.
  • Weather on the moors can be bleak and damp
  • Usually not an issue but this year weather seemed more of an issue.

9. Booking Commitment

For a potentially large group, we need to reserve accommodation by placing a deposit months ahead (this year, in early June). Any changes to numbers at this stage forfeits the £250 deposit. Changes after July lose 50% of the total cost, in September 100%.How would you feel about being asked to commit, by payment to the club, in or before June for a September trip?

78% 28/36 are in favour of payment in advance up front. 4 were not, 4 unclear/did not answer.

10. Any other feedback?

  •  This trip was just not pushed enough, nobody seemed to know what was happening with it so interest waned, the Peak weekend was advertised early and once people said they were going others committed
  • Logistics main concern for me. Usually go with hubby but he didn’t want to go this year & I don’t have bike carrier etc for my car. Not keen on driving long distances myself. Generally also felt many cyclists I usually ride with weren’t going so was rather reluctant to attend in the end.
  • Shame about this years away weekend was poorly attended. Maybe the comms was to late and people had already committed to other things. Has the weekend away run its course? With the links to Europe be coming very accessible should the committee organise something further afield? The early Majorca trip which is not a op trip has become very successful and has some of the emphasis been taken away from the op weekend trip?
  • Did not go this year because felt it would be very hilly weather on the moors can be horrible there was not as much information about the weekend like last year it was not clear there was going to be rides at foundation pace
  • I feel the club do a fantastic job in difficult circumstances. With so many people with differing financial and family situations people have to make choices on which events to support. Everything that the club do is appreciated.
  • Its great that these days are arranged by club members out of there own time. We do appreciate it.
  • The OP are an excellent cycling club bar none in the area. Thank you for your community grounding and sticking steadfast to your roots and ethos. This is the success of the club and what sets it apart. Sadly I think people are lazy. More members need to step up to the plate and volunteer their time and experience in helping keep the club running. If this does not happen the club will fade into the Ether with the demise of the incumbent committee. Perhaps the low take up of the annual away day event is a reflection of some members reluctance to see beyonder the end of their noses. One to discuss I suggest…
  • Tend to do the single day away days as it still gives time to relax before heading back to work, plus it means I don’t have to put the cat into a cattery.
  • One of my concerns was not sure whom was going and worried I would be too slow for those going.
  • I do not think that there should be vote at the age on the venue. The committee should decide once there has been a canvas of regular riders. There should be a window for members to book their place and a place will only be booked once payment is received.
  • This is difficult, as I like to see who else is going before deciding for myself. If I’d made a late decision to go this year, I wouldn’t have known anyone else on the trip.
  • I think that the routes may have put some people off. But I was unable to train at the start of the season and didn’t feel I would enjoy the cycling with my fitness below where I wanted it to be.
  • Avoid other key dates. Keep it outside school holidays. Keep it within a weekend. Keep it local. IOW, New Forest, Purbeck.
  • Last year there was a lot of hype and discussion about the away weekend which helped other conversations in Jolly Ollies about who was going. You hardly heard a thing this year as there didn’t seem the same level of advertising until much closer to the time. My circumstances were slightly different in as much as my cycling buddies couldn’t make it.
  • Main reason for my non attendance was I have enjoyed more away days than usual and already had an Elmore cycling weekend as well as 3 other away cycling activities this year (was a busy year) so needed to cut back due to family
  • I have never been on an away weekend, primarily as I try and do Majorca. Doing both would not be possible as I am a family man. If I don’t go to Majorca one year then I would try and do the away weekend. I appreciate the effort that goes into organising a away weekend and it’s great that there are members who are happy to do this, it’s a shame that this year the numbers were low. I think this year the location (no escaping hills) put people off, perhaps a location with different options on types of rides would encourage more people.
  • Committee need to promote, with dates and booking details much earlier. This is great to get members feedback, and hopefully members will respond 😊 Thank you 😉
  • Did I suggest plan and communicate to members at least 6 months in advance?
  • I think distance to destination could impact whether it’s one or two nights stay. I also prefer locations with some challenging hills and climbs (need the practice)
  • Since I wasn’t aware of the routes being published, I had no confidence that there would be routes at a pace that I could ride at. I’m relatively new to OP, only started in Jun this year, so maybe confidence will improve with time.
  • OK, so the only reason I have taken this survey is to consider you initial question as to why the numbers are decreasing. I personally think it is simple. Do members feel safe? OP have had an astonishingly large quantity amount of accidents in the last year or two and appear oblivious to even considering why. Are the rides controlled, are the members sufficiently well disciplined, are the roads suitable, are the members sufficiently skilled for the pace they are going or have some rides simply become a drag race with some just hanging on but out of their comfort zone hoping for Strava satisfaction? I wish I had the answers but in short do members feel safe? Ultimately, if these accidents were happening within a workplace we would seriously consider why and how to reduce them. Rant over
  • Don’t be dissuaded from the excellent work those involved put in. I suspect that other events in people’s lives conflicted with the date. I’m sure this is a one off.

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