Club AGM – Chairman’s Statement

Statement from the Chair of Kingston Wheelers Cycling Club from the recent AGM:

"Part of the Club’s mission statement which was developed at a time when the club was undergoing a period of enforced change following the death of then President John Bornhoft says;

“We pride ourselves on our friendly atmosphere and all-inclusive policy. We have an experienced membership who are on hand to offer advice on bike set-up and training to all.”

The current committee continue to support this ethos and believe in these statements. However, over the last year or so it has become increasingly the case that some members have failed to live up to these expectations. This has culminated in the committee recently receiving formal complaints which have been dealt with in accordance with the Club’s Rules.

It cannot be acceptable for any member to make public critical or negative comments about another club member or affiliated person or organisation. If there is advice to be offered, this should be done in a constructive manner and direct with the individual.

The Club’s website forum or Twitter (or other publicly-viewable media) are not suitable for such exchanges.  Even if the forum is restricted to the club membership, that still means a potential audience of in excess of 500 people who may not appreciate the manner in which comments are intended and may perceive them differently.

Whilst you may think you are expressing a personal view, if you are recognisable as a member of the club, then some people will perceive your views to be representative of the club.  As such, either on the road or on line, you should remember your role as an ambassador for the club.

Clearly, as a democratic organisation, the Club supports freedom of speech but that should not be confused with free speech, especially where free speech is liable to cause offense or harm to others. There have been high profile cases of libel relating to tweets and comments which involve children could give rise to criminal proceedings.

Everyone who joins this sport starts as a beginner, novice or newbie and hopefully benefits from the guidance of those more experienced as they develop their experience.  Rather than pass judgement, perhaps it would be more constructive to remember this and offer a more mentoring style approach.

Equally, the Club has always had a membership from diverse backgrounds (even when there were only 30 or so of us) and this should be a positive attribute.  Please respect people’s differences and their right to flourish in the Club environment."

Tim Lawn, Chairman