Saturday, September 5, 2009

Try, Try Again...

This morning while out on a ride, I made the final decision to start starting my next new cycling group. No, that's not a typo. I meant to say "start starting". I suppose that semantically that's the same as "start", but it implies the beginning of a beginning.

Some weeks ago, I opened a new website for long-distance cycling. I called it Little Egypt Randonneurs. The web address is When I told my wife about the new idea and new group she groaned. "How much will this idea cost us?" she asked.

I was a little hurt that she was quantifying my ideas and even my happiness using dollars and cents. However, as the treasurer of our little family, I guess she does have that responsibility. "Nothing extra," I assured her.

You see, I had learned a lot from my last failed idea, a regional cycling club. The first thing I had learned was not to invest any money for the benefit of others. Only spend what is necessary to keep yourself happy. You earn it, spend it on your own happiness. Let others "buy in" as they want, but with their money not yours. People will be happy to have cool websites, and legal charters, and all kinds of things if you are paying for it. Lesson number one.

I also learned to be specific. If you try to be broad enough to please most people, you wind up pleasing no one, not even yourself. And all the money and time you invest is wasted. In fact, I learned to please myself - first. With the last club, I wanted a long distance cycling club from the start. I even had an idea about various levels of ridership through which each rider could pass, trying to gain the ultimate title "BIKE MONSTER" (or something like that). That idea was shouted down as soon as I raised it, (mostly by mediocre cyclists) and some even threatened not to join if I persisted. So I gave in to majority demand and started a mediocre club for those less interested in "monster-ship". At the end of the experiment, they weren't happy (or involved), and I wasn't happy. Lesson number two.

Finally I learned that the "full monty" of club-ship - club officers, constitutions, bylaws, not-for-profit charters, etc. were unnecessary. All the time and money I spent obtaining or creating those things was also a big waste. Loose organizations with only one guy at the helm work best. People will come and go (according to how they "feel" today), so it's best not to count on them. Keep the organization and dreams small enough that one person can accomplish them alone if necessary, and you keep the heartburn to a minimum. Lesson number three.

I have some really cool ideas about how the next group will operate and what we can achieve in long-distance cycling. At least they seem cool to me. And this group may only be a one-member organization. That's okay. I'm happiest when I'm dreaming and creating, and I don't necessarily have to be achieving anything to stay happy. I don't need to please anyone else or even have their approval or praise. For instance, when I read my posts, or my poems I think, "Wow! That's pretty good!" And I am pleased. (If that sounds too self-congratulatory for you, then I think you have a problem with self-esteem. I don't.)

As soon as the idea has fermented a little more, it will be ready for publication. In fact, I already have someone working on a logo for me, and I think I'll get it tattooed on my calf. Why not? It is my group.

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