Paul O’Looney is a keen cyclist yesterday and lives in Ilkley, West Yorkshire – a popular area for cyclists. Back in February 2011 he was contemplating why Ilkley did not have a cycling club and started a Facebook campaign, which soon gained momentum. He then booked a room at a local pub, invited all local cyclists and prepared a presentation on how he saw the club developing. On the night 85 people packed the room and Ilkley Cycling Club was launched.
The club has adopted a much more welcoming attitude which has been instrumental in the club approaching a membership of 500- in just a few months! Whether you just want to go a short ride or you want to do time trials – you are welcome. Paul regularly goes out cycling in jeans and T-shirt to demonstrate that you do not have to be dressed in Lycra to join the club. All communication is done online, with e-membership cards they can download to their mobiles and use to get discount at local shops.
The club is now planning a number of events including a major community cycling festivals.
At a time neighbouring cycling clubs with a more ‘puritan’ and competition-only culture are reporting a steady decline in membership numbers the more inclusive, welcoming and modern approach of Ilkley Cycling Club could be a lesson for us all.