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Chairman’s report 2017

Chairman’s report 2017

INTRODUCTION

If you’re reading or hearing this, then I assume you love to ride your bike. I hope so. Because that’s the only reason I stand here. The Pedal Power Association exists for people like you and me.

For 40 years, the PPA has been looking after the interests of cyclists across the broad recreational spectrum. As cyclists, we are truly lucky to have such a well-administered organisation looking after our interests. Of course, it has also been our experience that if PPA doesn’t meet your exact agenda, then it’s an organisation “with too many investments that does nothing for {insert your personal agenda point here}”. Fortunately, that kind of negativity is a fast-diminishing minority.

THE PPA ENVIRONMENT

Our CEO has given his report on the operational activities of the PPA. This is one such change that we have recently seen successfully implemented at PPA – the appointment of a CEO. In the past, the 12-person Executive Committee would comprise of volunteers who had the time to delve into micro-management matters of the PPA. A swarm of sub-committees would guide the daily operations of the organisation. It was a cumbersome process and decisions were often too long in the making.

The CEO position has meant that internal projects can be managed transversally and the benefits of linkages between projects exploited. It has allowed the Office to get on with operational and logistical matters, while permitting the Exco to focus on strategic PPA matters, as well as constructively oversee the work efforts of the CEO and his team. I can say with confidence that the relationship between the Exco and the PPA Office is robust, engaging, and healthy.

THE PPA MANDATE AND THE CYCLING ENVIRONMENT

The South African cycling landscape is ever-changing. The PPA has a clear mandate as defined by its constitution and that needs to be interpreted against a dynamic environment. At the end of the day we aim to get people cycling in a safe environment. This can be done through the hosting of events – and you have seen an increase in those as highlighted by the CEO.

Unfortunately, some events have had to be canned because the environment was unsafe, for example the various South Peninsula rides that used to clog the racing calendar. Also, a healthy increase in the obtaining of various municipal permits and permissions drive costs upwards. So too are proper medical amenities; timing services; motorbike  marshals; and other facilities. But we will always strive to host good recreational events, managed in a professional way.

The Safe Cycling campaign continues to keep the office busy. PPA cannot by itself stop the dangers of cycling on the roads – but we can drive a few tactical angles, namely;

  • Drivers AND cyclists behaviours need to change;
  • Becoming a recognised stakeholder in all matters pertaining to cycling environmental planning; and
  • Exerting pressure onto the judicial system to DO SOMETHING about the poor conviction rate of negligent drivers who kill cyclists.

CYCLING AND CYCLISTS

We need to accept that not all initiatives have worked at PPA – but we take in pride in trying new things. This year we took the strategic decision to reduce the PPA presence in the Free State. The cycling community in that region was simply too small to sustain a permanent full-time office there. We are still partnered with the local cycling community and event organisers but have scaled back our resources to being a half-day position.

In saying that, the Maluti Double90 event that PPA designed and managed is gaining momentum after 2 highly successful events. A solid sponsor in Token Wheels has signed on the line for 2018 to make the event more sustainable. There is nothing more rewarding than watching teams of cyclists enter and enjoy a good days cycling at a well-organised event.

We are also investigating more of a presence in the Gauteng cycling community through Safe Cycling initiatives. There is a definite appetite for PPA to drive these kinds of initiatives in dense urban areas.

We continue to focus on development of the youth, previously disadvantaged areas  and in women’s  cycling. But in truth we also need you, the parents, to get your kids on bikes. This year we decided to reduce membership fees for kids u/18 to only R100 for the year to show our support in this regard.

Social media continues to give platforms to the ignorant. I urge anyone who is not sure about any initiative that the PPA promotes to contact us directly via email or telephone. We really do like to engage with mature cyclists – and we normally respond quite quickly. But we don’t respond to utterances; half-truths; lies; or rumours on social media.

CSA?

It’s no secret that the PPA and CSA have had their differences over the years. But in truth we do get on with the team there, as Robert has also mentioned. And we also provide financial support to CSA – but certainly not enough to turn them around from their current financial woes. I mention this fact because PPA is concerned about the well-being and governance of the CSA. Cycling as a sport needs a strong national body to continually recognise and promote cycling. A strong CSA means that South Africans can get into the sport and realise their hopes and dreams. We have seen South African cyclists, team managers, and mechanics do our country proud on the world stage. We clearly have the potential to produce more world-class cyclists. Names like Louis Meintjies; Greg Minnaar; Gary Blem; Daryl Impey; Doug Ryder; the Janse Van Rensburg brothers are but a few who are up there rubbing shoulders with the likes of Froome and Sagan. If we want more of them, we need a strong CSA. I do hope they get back on a sustainable path soon.

CONCLUSION

I’d like to congratulate Robert, Karin and the team for their efforts this past year. They have put on top-class events and represented your interests with professionalism. They have also had to bear the brunt of unnecessarily disgruntled cyclists and have done so with calm. The PPA continues to grow and learn and adapt to the changing needs of the cycling community.

Finally, thank you the members of PPA for keeping the PPA alive and looking after the interests of cyclists. May we look forward to another successful 40 years.

 Rens Rezelman

Chairman: 2016-2017