2015 was a busy year. Our 4 aims set down when the club formed in 2009 have remained constant: a) provide opportunities for MTB enthusiasts to ride together & share route information b) campaign/negotiate for new and/or improved routes and facilities c) physically help repair or build routes for mountain biking and d) create a means to apply for and receive funding to help achieve aims b) & c)
This includes having the necessary organisational structure, bank account[s], a constitution, website, presence on social media, a club newsletter, all year round programme.
We have formed a core group or management committee comprising Graham Patton (treasurer), James Swabey (vice treasurer), Rob Aubrook and Michael Smith and Ted Liddle (Club chairman) – further members welcome.
We have set up an independent audit means and are about to adopt Gift Aid.
The core group have agreed to shape up a 5 year plan to assist with the implementation of 8 new long distance Cycle Routes which in normal circumstances involve at least one night’s accommodation.
The club chairman is working with various initiatives to bring the 8 new long distance Cycle Routes into fruition.
We have organically added road cycling to our interest.
Membership: 30 to 35 members are necessary to give the club credibility. Last year we reached 40 members for the first time but numbers fluctuate. Members are quite widely spread; most prefer to ride locally due to family commitments. Members who don’t ride with the club but belong because they support our ethos are important to us. Q: Do we need to recruit more.
We will soon have 3 bank accounts i.e. Current, Trips & Tours and Projects. Our financial position is strong but could always be stronger.
Our website is currently under reconstruction and should be live in about 3 weeks. Our Facebook page looks well and is viewed quite often. We need to open a Twitter very soon. We have narrowed down new logo options.
Rides: Wed evening rides continued to be well supported usually led by Ted, Graham and Dave but other ride leaders are welcome.
When conditions allow, dark night rides have their own loyal followers.
There are regular day / part day rides but these seem to be less popular.
We enjoyed 3 x 2 day tours a) Sandstone Way (Easter); MTB Tour of Cheviots (SBH w/e) and Dozen Dales by MTB (22/23 June) – the first route now open and the other two routes are planned for opening at least in part ideally in 2016.
Graham Patton looks after the club Satnav and it is available for members to borrow
We ran 2 memorable Alps tours in 2015 which thrilled a total of 17 members – July: Alta Rezia region / August: Inn Valley to Salzburg via the Dolomites to provide the northern finish to our Great Alps Chain by MTB Tour.
March 17th: We booked and nearly filled the Queens Hall theatre in Hexham to listen to a Vyv Wood-Gee presentation about an independent packhorse expedition on the drove road between Skye and Smithfield. This raised £1,000 to be spent on improving a local Bridleway as yet TBA and £300 was raised for cancer research.
March 23rd: The Sandstone Way was launched which TVMTB has supported from the outset securing £5,000 for the map, providing a Paypal Payback option for route management and funding a cattle grid to remove the need to open a full size gate at a location where stock mustn’t be allowed to cross if the gate was left open.
Advocacy: TVMTB …..
- …has been instrumental in forming / shaping OpenMTB the new national voice for MTB-ing and acts on its behalf in the North East region
- ….took an active role in the National MTB conference at Kielder in October
- …. works closely with Northumberland National Park, Northumberland Coastal AONB, North Pennines AONB, the North East Local Nature Partnership and where necessary with both Northumberland and Durham Wildlife Trusts
- ….regularly attends the Northumberland Joint Local Access Forum, The Northumberland Rights of Way Liaison Group, The North Pennines AONB Access and Recreation Working Group, The Pennine Way Trails Management North Group, Northumberland Cycle Tourism Advisory Group and the Prudhoe Green Infrastructure Working Group when it meets
- ….has regular meetings with the Forestry Commission and feeds into Natural England and the National Trust
- ….keeps in contact with Rights of Way officers in Northumberland, North Tyneside, County Durham and Cumbria and has recently renewed a link with the Yorkshire Dales National Park
- ….has contact with Highways departments in Northumberland and County Durham
- ….regularly liaises with the British Horse Society and Ramblers (regional)
- ….has a strong link with CTC (soon to be Cycling UK) regionally and nationally and good contact with British Cycling (regionally and nationally)
- ….works closely with other cycling clubs especially Muddybums, Hamsterley Trail Blazers, Kielder Trail Reavers and the Lake District Mountain Biking Association and keeps in contact with Thrunton Trail Builders and Hamsterley Riders; we also monitor popular Facebook threads on a number of MTB and cycling pages and are looking to creating a directory of regional clubs
- ….has established links with MTB clubs and MTB shapers across the UK
- ….has apolitical access and cycling-related link-ups with three local MPs i.e. Guy Opperman, Anne Marie Trevelyan and Rory Stewart as well as a number of County and Parish Councillors irrespective of their party
- ….has developed a working relationship with two quarries and a major mining company
- ….maintains contact with a number of local, regional and national journalists
- ….has been pro-active in a variety of new access opportunities and threats
- ….engages with cycling interventions at every opportunity some of which we do behind the scenes and ‘below the radar’
- …The club makes every effort to develop a positive relationship with strategically placed personnel, key agencies and actual and potential sponsors
Initiatives for 2016+
A number of funding applications are in train
A major crowd funding bid is planned for March to create a clean source of match-funding for our 5 year route development plan – approximately 1 million known cyclists will be contacted
We propose to install 2 more cattle grids on the Sandstone Way in 2016
We have been informed Countryfile is seriously considering filming an article about the Sandstone Way in late March for airing in April which we will be involved with.
We have invited Mark Beaumont to present his Africa Solo presentation in a 300+ seat Newcastle venue in late 2016 to raise funds for one of our cycling projects – date TBC
25th / 26th June 2016: MTB Sportive - Ride the Sandstone Way in one or two days
Late July 2016: North Pennines Marathon organised by High Fell Events
August 2016: Club Alps Tour – 8 members will ride from Brenner Pass through the Dolomites to north of Venice for the southern finish of our Great Alps Chain by MTB Tour.
A programme of test and research rides is proposed for 2016 which members are encouraged to sign up for.
We propose to offer a few more ‘away day’ rides to enjoy routes a little further distant.
In conclusion, we look forward to a successful year of activity in 2016 and welcome new members to join us.