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Offline Jim DeLuca

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Swamp?
« on: May 24, 2008, 06:58:00 PM »
Has SWAMP gotten to big?  I remember the old days when we use to have pizza night every week, and ride every weekend!  It seems it has gotten so big that  it just doesn't seem like a club anymore.  I know that the infrastructure is still in place, but it just seems like our government.  Maybe after several years is it time for a split? 

Offline Jim DeLuca

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2008, 07:44:09 PM »
LOl....possibly!  Back in the day all club decisions were made over pizza and beer.  Anybody remember when we discussed establishing trails at Boyette?  How about the opening day we had at Boyette?

Offline Garry

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2008, 07:50:30 PM »
Has SWAMP gotten to big?  I remember the old days when we use to have pizza night every week, and ride every weekend!  It seems it has gotten so big that  it just doesn't seem like a club anymore.  I know that the infrastructure is still in place, but it just seems like our government.  Maybe after several years is it time for a split? 

Good topic.  I'm sure that it may seem that SWAMP has gotten too big.  Well, it certainly has grown.  This time a year/year and a half ago we were 400 some strong.  We now have over 600 members!  That's huge.  The thing is, the same amount of people are running it(?) or putting on the weekly operations - which in all actuality is daily.  Some of that "old day" feel is still there.  There are socials, pizza night, etc.  Problem is life gets in the way.  The folks organizing those things get busy, or emergency and crisis hits and there is no one else to step up and take their place when they're down. 

Ken Orlando is the Social Director, and we have discussed this at the last board meeting about having more socials in a variety of areas.  With all of the new members we could certainly have "Pizza Night and Ride" in Clearwater, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, Lakeland just to name a few places because it's not always convenient for people to drive to Temple Terrace.  Ken lives in Zephyrhills, so putting together a social in Bradenton or Clearwater doesn't work well for him.  With that said - anyone can put on a social and ride that wants to.  We could certainly use some new blood so to speak, or more aptly additional blood to put these things off.  It is your club folks, don't be afraid to step up to the plate and help out.

I don't know what the split is that you speak of.  The SWAMP Mountain Bike Club is, and always will be, a group of mountain biking enthusiasts who build and maintain trails, and advocate mountain biking as a sport.  We offer a variety of training classes, and guided group rides every week, sometimes two and three times a week.  We organize multiple trips out of state.  We organize socials for club members to get together and just hang out and share bike stories and such with.  Where would you (everyone chime in) like to see the next social at?  Would you be willing to put it together or help?  What's a good time for folks to get out of work and join in?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 08:15:39 PM by Garry »

Offline Garry

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2008, 07:54:57 PM »
LOl....possibly!  Back in the day all club decisions were made over pizza and beer.  Anybody remember when we discussed establishing trails at Boyette?  How about the opening day we had at Boyette?

That stuffs fun!  Actually, we are planning a grand re-opening of Boyette.  Back To Boyette Deuce.  Once we finally finish the new trails and revamping of Boyette - hopefully this year(!) it will be party time folks.  Meanwhile it's kind of slow going getting it finished, but one day a month 4 hours at a time we are getting there.  Man, where's the pizza and beer??

Offline Jim DeLuca

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2008, 08:43:19 PM »
Gary...We have put together several club rides with other members and other social functions and we have a great time.  What concerns me is to many people have been carrying the torch for swamp for many years, and it seems like at this point they are forced in their roles.  I haven't seen or rode with Wes in a long time, and would feel uncomfortable calling him on the phone to discuss new events.  For instance, how about a bike parts swap meet.   Alot of our members could use an upgrade whether its a bike or parts.  I have a shed full of parts that members could use, and I try to share them.  There are so many things this club could do, and now it just seems like its a status symbol.  Why are there only handful of members at work days if there are 600 members? 

Offline Garry

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2008, 10:39:43 PM »
For instance, how about a bike parts swap meet.   Alot of our members could use an upgrade whether its a bike or parts.  I have a shed full of parts that members could use, and I try to share them.

 Why are there only handful of members at work days if there are 600 members? 

There was a swap meet or opportunity for folks to sell, trade, share what they had at the Christmas party.  No takers. 

I don't know why we only have a handful out of 600 members show up to the workdays.  People like to ride on their day off.  The same ones keep coming back to help ensure we have trails to ride though.  A few newbies get added to the list sometimes. 

My thing is I want us to get to the point where the trails are sustainable so those few who do show up only have to do minimal maintenance.  I would like to see no more major repair workdays fixing unsustainable trails.  That way the workday is easy, and the workers get to enjoy the trails too.

Offline Garry

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2008, 10:51:37 PM »
I haven't seen or rode with Wes in a long time, and would feel uncomfortable calling him on the phone to discuss new events.

I think Wes is a very approachable person.  If you stopped and talked with him about some of your ideas I'm sure he would lend an ear.  Sometimes it boils down to not enough hours in a day, or a lot of stuff on ones plate to take another project on.  Suggestions are always welcome.

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2008, 11:08:48 PM »
Actually the decision makers still have pizza every other month and SWAMP has at least 3 scheduled events per week.  Both days on the weekends usually.

Plus the pick-up rides folks setup on their own.

How can we adjust?

LOl....possibly!  Back in the day all club decisions were made over pizza and beer. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 11:16:18 PM by Forum Manager »
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Offline Jim DeLuca

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2008, 12:25:04 AM »
Gary...I know Wes is very approachable, but I would never call him at home like the old days, as I know he is as busy as the rest of us. I have the highest regard for Wes and what he has done for the sport in our area.  If I remember correctly we used to have a sand pit off Morris Bridge and some Enduro trails in Brooksville to ride prior to Wes getting involved.  In my opinion, there would not be the trails we have today without his leadership.
As far as how can we adjust?  Well, first if we had a club meeting once a month just to talk about whats going on.  For instance,  are we set as far as money goes?  I'm sure we are not and alot of our funding comes from the decision makers bank accounts.  I could go on forever...To me swamp is not about the 20.00 dollars a year or the nice orange jersey you can buy, its about volunteering for your community and for the sport you love.  We just need to do a better job of pulling our members together.  How?  Well thats for the powers that be to figure out.  I'll just keep doing my part. 

Offline Garry

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2008, 08:00:09 AM »
I can address a few of those things.
Yes, we all get busy, but still somehow make ourselves available for the sport and club we love.

Croom used to be the left overs of enduro races.  Now we have dedicated trails for mountain biking and a working relationship with the Forestery Service there.  Helmets off to Wes, but he did not do it alone.  There have been many heavy hitters who stood side by side with Wes.  One of the clubs past presidents, Jim Flemming was very instrumental in bringing together all of the user groups - Forestry, Moto Cross, Equestrian, Hikers, Mountain Bikers - to the table, literally, and discuss ways to make the area user friendly for everyone.

Morris Bridge was at once just that - Morris Bridge.  With the help of SWAMP and Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation WTA (Wilderness Trails Association) was born.  SWIFTMUD was certain it was too big of a job for SWAMP to maintain so wanted a seperate side group to maintain the trails.  WTA was headed up by members of SWAMP and almost alll WTA members were SWAMP members as well.  Soon progress was made to connect the three parks (Flatwoods, Trout Creek and Morris Bridge) together.  Remember not being able to ride your bikes across the river at Trout Creek?  New trails were developed to make the connection make sense, and reroutes were done on the over used Morris Bridge side.  Many a volunteer came out to make SWAMP shine.

In 1995 Hillsborough County approached SWAMP about building trails at Balm-Boyette.  Soon 16 miles of trails sprouted up and this was good.  It had always been a chore to get more than 7 people to volunteer on the trail days.  Management at the Bell Creek office has been traditionally hands off with help, so it ALL landed squarley on the shoulders and backs of the few who came out and showed an interest. Julianne North and Jim Flemming, for the longest time, ran things there with the very helpfull backing of Wes Eubank.  But this being the type of volunteer job that can burn a person out they soon passed the reins to another.  He was a stubborn sort when it came to the word NO.  And pushed, pulled, prodded and tugged to get volunteers involved and the land managers too.  Still working on the land managers to a lesser degree.  Red tape is debilitating.

So, yes, with Wes's leadership we have an awesome assortment of trails to choose from within an hours drive, but he did not and could not do it alone; and we collectively cannot hold it all together giving everyone what they want.  Ultimately it comes down to - if you want it, come out and help make it so.  That is pointed out in 600 directions in hopes of hitting it's mark somewhere.  With more volunteers the work seems like less of work and more of enjoying the fruits of our own labor.

It's mighty difficult to make a once a month meeting for the general membership to attend, but we can look at once a quarter having a meeting at say Trout Creek.  There is pavillion facilities there to be able accomodate this, and it is probably more convenient of a location than anywhere else.  More on this later.

I agree, SWAMP is about volunteering.  SWAMP is about having having great trails to ride.  SWAMP is about having these opportunities for all on a daily basis.  Huge thanks to all who have given of their time.

Offline Darrinw2001

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2008, 02:41:25 PM »
Great words Gary, I am a fairly new member and have done 2 work days so far. Since I am also dedicated to my Christian faith, my best time to get ride time in is on Saturdays. That being said, I can not make most work days since it cuts into my very limited riding time. I do however intend to help out with at least 1 work day every 4 to 6 weeks. I also will be bringing a small machete with me on most rides and trim what I see needs trimming. I think if everyone of us in the club did at least that much, we would have great turnouts at every work day and the trails will stay trimmed and cleared with very little effort. 

Offline CrazyWhiteGuy

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2008, 02:47:21 PM »
SWAMP will always be about those that are willing to do the majority of the work DOING the majority of the work. SWAMP is about having fun and good times, it was made by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. Most SWAMPers I assume do a fair bit of volunteer work. This club I think wouldn't be what it is without it's core members AND the other members.  I like the way it is now.
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Offline Garry

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2008, 07:34:23 PM »
Great words Gary, I am a fairly new member and have done 2 work days so far. Since I am also dedicated to my Christian faith, my best time to get ride time in is on Saturdays. That being said, I can not make most work days since it cuts into my very limited riding time. I do however intend to help out with at least 1 work day every 4 to 6 weeks. I also will be bringing a small machete with me on most rides and trim what I see needs trimming. I think if everyone of us in the club did at least that much, we would have great turnouts at every work day and the trails will stay trimmed and cleared with very little effort. 

Not everyone needs to volunteer.  I know for more than a few years when I joined the club my days off just could not match up.  I often did what you suggest - carried some hand trimmers and machette on some of my rides and helped out where I could.  It would be nice if a few dozen folks set aside just one ride a month, or part of one ride, to help trim back the over growth.  That would be huge in making the scheduled workdays a little less work.

Offline hairball

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2008, 02:51:33 PM »
That is a great idea about bringing some sort of trimming tool along on rides.

I have a business that requires me work Saturdays, I have not missed a working Saturday (except vacations) in 30 years.
I feel guilty not being able to contribute to a hobby I love so much, I do my part in picking up water bottles and GU wrappers whenever I am out on the trails... As the old saying goes about littering - If your not a part of the solution, You are a part of the problem.
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Offline Dave In Odessa

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Re: Swamp?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2008, 03:12:25 PM »
As someone fairly new to mountain biking (riding a little over a year) and not a member of SWAMP, I think having some sort of informal social gathering would really help your club out.  The reason I haven't joined the club yet is because I feel like an outsider, and I'm a slow rider.  This doesn't give me much opportunity to feel like part of the club since I can't really meet you guys just to hang out and talk bikes.

And FWIW, I think a bike flea market would be an awesome idea!
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