A New Offer for Club Members

Written by Patrick Stelte - November 2018

el presidente

This past Labor Day, after a conversation with a volunteer, I started to think about the meaning of spirit. A dry definition states: an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action. The volunteer in question wanted to, in some way, feel the spirit of the club even though she does not participate in any of the rides. For decades, the club has offered cycling apparel for riders to show the colors and feel akin to a community of like-minded people. That camaraderie or spirit dapples our Facebook page with parking lot pictures and on-road action photos of broad-smiling members joined in non-verbal transmission of a feeling. I recall a post earlier this summer by club member Krista Stockman, proudly showing her 50th Anniversary kit in a distant state. She encouraged other club members to post where they wore their kits on vacation. An informal goal was set to see how close the club “colors” could get to all fifty states. As of last week, club members were still posting on that thread.

I am always amazed at how a basic piece of clothing can carry the spirit of togetherness from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Last year, I participated in a Gran Fondo in California and planned an optimal photo of me in my club kit standing in front of a beautiful, sunny and blue Pacific Ocean. After the ride, I think I uploaded the photo to our Facebook page before I posted the ride on Strava. When I travel to ride, I always pack my club wear to “bring along” my club mates on new roads and adventures, an internal narrative that magnifies time and place. That feeling intensifies when another rider asks about my club jersey. I proudly state my affiliation and talk up the history of the club. The jersey indicates to others that I have a community back home that has nourished and taught me the better ways of cycling.

Volunteers see this fellowship and feel that connection. That is a substantial part of volunteerism with the club. However, a piece of clothing or shown relic is lacking for a two-way nod connecting the spirit that the club represents to its members. In this reflection, an idea was hatched to create a shirt that was unique or transcends the basic novelty t-shirt. I formed a committee to create a “tech shirt” that can be worn in a casual setting, but also worn on an adventure ride; wicking sweat like a cycling jersey. The 3RVS tech shirt will have highlights of club colors, our name and a design of fellowship that represents our inspiration. It can be worn by volunteers during any event to transmit that kindred spirit, as well as worn about town to show pride of community.

At this time, the committee is finalizing the design and vendor dynamics to offer this tech shirt to club members, hopefully in time for our annual party in mid-January. The cost will be much less than a club jersey. The shirt will debut on our Facebook page and website with details to follow.

November is a time for winding down the active life. Most will survive on remembrance to effuse the spirit of our beliefs and carry us through the slumber of hibernation. Others will continue to push the elements and grasp at the ghosts floating over the pavement – memories etched in the subconscious that can only be felt under duress, a scared mantra of meditation practiced on two-wheels.