Thank you, RBC President Mike Hays!
Ride more, learn more, ride safely, and with others. Mike knew just what he wanted to get out of riding with a club and after two years, grateful for the experience, he was inspired to give back. As president he applied his own personal principles to help shape and strengthen the club, to provide other cyclists the same opportunities he had sought. Mike served as RBC's president for three years and it is because of his leadership and generosity of spirit that the club is thriving (despite a pandemic!) and on track for future success.
At the time Mike joined the board, membership had stalled. After serving one year, he agreed to take on the role of president to lead the charge to increase board participation, build the club's member base, and strengthen its programming. Mike believed strong member engagement made for a stronger club. But while he wanted to see the club grow, he knew it was important to maintain that growth at a pace that would keep existing members happy and allow for high quality offerings.
Mike's goal to keep members happy required posting an adequate number of rides to meet a variety of abilities. To achieve that goal, he created the position of ride captain and recruited Ed Molina to fill it. Ed improved the club rides through better organization, by designing new, interesting routes, and by offering more rides at more levels.
"Mike has been an excellent leader, consistently demonstrating an ability to harness different personalities and skill sets in a collaborative benefit to the club." – Ed Molina, Ride Captain
Mike also ensured regularly scheduled board meetings and general club meetings. He fulfilled his goal to improve programming (and keep members happy) by arranging presentations on topics such as how to care for your bike, change a flat, and become a ride leader.
Knowing most cyclists join a club to meet other cyclists, Mike gave equal attention to the social component of the club. To make new members feel welcome and more integrated, he started new member rides. Since his first RBC ride with the group of evening riders at Rockland Lake, Mike has always enjoyed the social aspect of cycling and is grateful for the many friendships.
"It has been my pleasure to first ride with Mike, then work with him on the board. His leadership skills and vision for the club were exactly what we needed." -Paul Langus, Ride Leader
Mike was instrumental in bringing Ride 'Round Rockland to fruition in 2019. With three routes - 40/65/100 miles – this annual event offers an option for most cyclists. Open to all and publicized widely, it attracts many new members. But COVID-19 made the chance of pulling off the 3rd annual Ride 'Round Rockland slim to none. Mike, however, did not let a pandemic get in the way of hope. Fueled by his enthusiasm, the board rallied and proceeded with the planning; and on October 3, 2020, 55 cyclists participated in a physically-distanced, COVID conscious Ride 'Round Rockland.
When joining a bike club (RBC and BTCNJ), Mike was clear about his personal goals; he practiced and paid attention. He took full advantage of club offerings, finding ways to benefit himself and the club. By volunteering to ride as sweep, for example, Mike not only helped fellow riders he also improved his own riding skills by observing other riders' individual paces and styles. Most importantly, Mike achieved what he set to do - ride more, ride safely, learn more, and ride with others.
As president, Mike realized his vision for RBC – inspired by his love for cycling and for the cycling community, he built a great team of board members, increased membership, and created a model for educational programming. Through his leadership, Mike fostered a fun, inclusive environment, where cyclists can learn to ride better, smarter, safer, and with friends.
Thank you, Mike!