Author Topic: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT  (Read 24181 times)

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #50 on: August 20, 2018, 01:40:06 pm »
If I understand correctly, if you are not an AUK member, and want to do an AUK ride, you can pay 2 quid to join for the duration of the ride. With 19 quid as the cost of membership, you need to do 10 rides a year before it's cost effective to join (assuming you are only interested in Calendar events).
Cycling UK members don't even have to pay the £2 as their insurance covers it.  Yet all the CUK members I know who do more than a couple of Audax a year are AUK members, I doubt a couple of quid a year is going to make any difference, though I'd rather see it go elsewhere than a flashy website.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #51 on: August 20, 2018, 01:43:04 pm »
IT project in massive cost overrun shocker.

As an outsider, I think effort should be spent on making audax more approachable and less opaque, and that starts with the atrocious website. It’s worse than Masonry and seriously off-putting.

I think most people agree that the site could do with a reskinning and that the outward facing part of it could be a lot prettier
Also there are probably things in the backend that are less than ideal (think GDPR)

Doing any work on IT systems is always expensive.  Everyone knows someone whose teenage nephew wrote a complex high volume website in a few days and they seem to base their expectations of cost on that.  However, in the real world, the situation is several times worse than this because 1) the industry is full of chancers and idiots 2) a lot of people don't have a coherent way of expressing their business needs

I'll make some more specific comments on the AUK Forum
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #52 on: August 20, 2018, 01:48:05 pm »
Disclaimers: I was, until recently, on the AUK Board as a non-exec. director. I was not on the group working to deliver the IT upgrade, so not intimately involved. I have had several disagreements with the Board over the years.

My understanding is that current system behind the visible website has been creaking for quite a while as AUK has grown and requires quite a bit of manual intervention just for AUK to operate, absorbing a lot of volunteer effort. That ongoing effort isn't visible to AUK members but the current arrangement is not sustainable ad infinitum, even if AUK never got any larger than it is today. AUK membership expands around 10% annually. An IT project costing the thick end of £400k is obviously out of line. I am interested in understanding what has happened over the past few months and how the problems (plural) can be resolved.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #53 on: August 20, 2018, 01:48:55 pm »
Agreed, and anecdotally when I've tried to get non AUK people to try an event the website can seem a bit underwhelming to them. Some organisers are better than others at including a useful description, route map, online entry etc.

However, if the website is improved and this leads to an uptake in people riding events, will it just mean that the existing events fill up quicker Bryan Chapman style which could be counterproductive if the new people can't get a ride?
But that's to do with what the ride organisers put in, not the system itself. And if a new system did force organisers to include route maps, online entry and so on, there are numerous other threads which indicate many organisers would resist this.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #54 on: August 20, 2018, 01:49:11 pm »
I disagree.

The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others. Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

BCM is extremely popular, despite its archaic entry method and I can't help thinking that's part of the charm... you actually have to put some effrot to enter, effort to plan your own route... it makes it a bit special in a world of corporate organised entertainment.

A slightly nicer website could a good thing, a 340 k website seems an extravagant thing for an organisation that is largely based on frugality.

Moreover, as I said here and elsewhere, it's pointless trying to increase the customer base, if you don't increase the offer and I can't see the latter going up to be honest

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #55 on: August 20, 2018, 02:13:17 pm »
I disagree.

The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others. Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.
I quite like the AUK interface but it is like an old shoe.  Horrible to look at, leaks slightly but is comfortable if you are used to it
Strikes me that the spankiness of the UI isn't the main objective, it's the back office stuff and making that work.  But the back office stuff drives the user facing bit so if one is changed, so will the other

Quote
BCM is extremely popular, despite its archaic entry method and I can't help thinking that's part of the charm... you actually have to put some effort to enter, effort to plan your own route... it makes it a bit special in a world of corporate organised entertainment.

A lot of people have complained about the 50 quid entry fee for BCM despite the fact that this is what it costs to put on an event like that
Personally, I don't think that the work of dealing with paper forms, cheques and SAEs is "charming".  If there is easy path that is with an online process that just gets it done then happy days.

Quote
A slightly nicer website could a good thing, a 340 k website seems an extravagant thing for an organisation that is largely based on frugality.
Must agree there but apparently this is not what the project is about
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #56 on: August 20, 2018, 02:19:56 pm »
Do prices of IT projects ever get influenced by sizes of unallocated reserves?
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #57 on: August 20, 2018, 02:22:43 pm »
The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others. Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

This is exactly the problem - the byzantine and old hat appearance is "just fine" for 50 year old white men, but the audiences who are disproportionately absent from the community (the young, ethnic minorities, women, new cyclists), are the people who the systems should be geared towards. Else AUK will wither out as the years pass by.
Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #58 on: August 20, 2018, 02:25:03 pm »
AUK would appear to have net assets of £58,548, according to the last set of accounts.

The aim of reducing the surplus would seem to have been achieved.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #59 on: August 20, 2018, 02:30:31 pm »
The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others.

This is exactly the problem - the byzantine and old hat appearance is "just fine" for 50 year old white men, but the audiences who are disproportionately absent from the community (the young, ethnic minorities, women, new cyclists), are the people who the systems should be geared towards. Else AUK will wither out as the years pass by.

Yes.  It's fine for those who are used to it (I actually quite like it as it is), but then those people will continue to take part regardless.

For newcomers, particularly those who don't already know someone in the fold, it's another barrier to entry.  When I see an arcane and confusing website, my immediate reaction is to move on.

Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

I don't really understand this.  Do you mean that it's better to avoid attracting new members, and instead cater to an established but aging membership, in case... something?

Phil W

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #60 on: August 20, 2018, 02:40:33 pm »
The pre production website address is in the report documents on aukweb.  A sneak of some of what they have build so far.  Looks nice and clean as you would expect from any CMS out there today. But costs need to be controlled.





quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #61 on: August 20, 2018, 02:41:28 pm »
A lot of people have complained about the 50 quid entry fee for BCM despite the fact that this is what it costs to put on an event like that
Personally, I don't think that the work of dealing with paper forms, cheques and SAEs is "charming".  If there is easy path that is with an online process that just gets it done then happy days.

The cheques, paper forms and SAE's thing makes it hard for non UK based riders to take part, even tho AUK allows for non UK residents to be members. I know the organiser of the BCM does take some measures to help non UKians to ride, but even so, I think it can be off putting. I've yet to do an AUK calendar event so I can't fully judge these things, but based on Dutch, Belgian, and Danish experience I have so far, what I've seen of the AUK entry process is... quirky...

Should we ping out a separate thread on how we may increase the numbers of people taking part in Audax/Randonneur rides?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #62 on: August 20, 2018, 02:51:22 pm »
Do prices of IT projects ever get influenced by sizes of unallocated reserves?

hell yeah  :)
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #63 on: August 20, 2018, 02:53:06 pm »
Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

I don't really understand this.  Do you mean that it's better to avoid attracting new members, and instead cater to an established but aging membership, in case... something?
I think it means that it could end up alienating current members, who are comfortable with the "old shoe," while not attracting new ones, who are put off by the fact of a group of slightly quirky old white men. Maybe that's not what whoastthewheel meant by it, but it's what it seems to mean to me.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Phil W

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #64 on: August 20, 2018, 03:11:18 pm »
Do prices of IT projects ever get influenced by sizes of unallocated reserves?

hell yeah  :)

Not only that but you get the "If we don't spend our allocated  budget this year,  then we may get allocated less budget next year.". That is not just specific to IT though.

j_a_m_e_s_

  • Prisoner 17091
    • AUK results
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #65 on: August 20, 2018, 03:52:47 pm »
The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others. Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

This is exactly the problem - the byzantine and old hat appearance is "just fine" for 50 year old white men, but the audiences who are disproportionately absent from the community (the young, ethnic minorities, women, new cyclists), are the people who the systems should be geared towards. Else AUK will wither out as the years pass by.

I fit 2/4 of those criteria.

Its not just the 50year old white man that sees the current system as just fine.
Rule 77

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #66 on: August 20, 2018, 04:00:02 pm »
What I mean is that this organisation has always attracted a slightly older crowd. As a matter of fact, younger trendier riders are already joining in, mainly due to the "Rapha Brevet" range of clothes, film and so on and they are attracted specifically by the slightly quirky nature of the sport.... the beans of toast, the sweaty card AND the crappy website.

If you think that the sleek, tanned looking folks who follow the antics of the Tour de France superstars will flock in once the website looks 21st century, you might be in for a surprise.
Besides, I have said it and I repeat it...there is no capacity for new members... popular events are already running at capacity and the non popular ones will not gain popularity.... in other words if not even the current slightly mad members want to ride "the late season Border raid" (to name one) I don't think the trendy tanned, carbon faired lot will...

understood my point? IF you want more members, you need bigger events... and with no money around (all being spent on the interweb) who is going to support an organiser to step up from a 100 riders event all the way to 400-500?

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #67 on: August 20, 2018, 04:06:15 pm »
I am one of the "younger" (26) riders - there were probably 2/3 others my age on Sunday at the grimpeurs ride - I only found out about Audax from my dad and was very lucky to have done so. I certainly wasn't attracted by a crap website. If anything it was off putting. The only reason I stuck it out was video and social media from actual randonneurs off youtube and instagram (and I'm glad I did). Many riders who there were seem to have been pulled in by other media e.g. https://www.cyclinguk.org/event/tour-hills-challenge-ride-series-2018

Quote
there is no capacity for new members...

Rubbish. This is just a completely bizarre post.
Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #68 on: August 20, 2018, 04:16:23 pm »

Quote
there is no capacity for new members...

Rubbish. This is just a completely bizarre post.

It's not. There are two types of events... those that are undersubscribed and those that are oversubscribed... typically the former are X rated or in remote areas and the latter are TLC.

Last year LWL sold out in 2 days and looks like WCW is going to sell out by the end of August, 9 months ahead of the event.

If you think that the younger crowds will fill up the undersubscribed events... well you are wrong... they all will try to do the BCM, the LWL and LEL every 4 years...
The only way is to increase capacity... but, as you can see, even organising the National 400 has become problematic... I don't see potential for growth. The number of events has shrunk in the face of an increasing membership

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #69 on: August 20, 2018, 04:18:17 pm »
Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

It has been for over 10 years, so it can't just be the same people just getting older.

AUK needs a stream of younger members coming in. Many won't stick it out (which is expected) but enough seem to such that the average rider age is slowly decreasing and number of members riding is increasing.

AUK also needs a stream of members turning into organisers. Some of the organisers from 10 years ago are still going but many of the organisers now weren't organisers 10 years ago, they were "just" riders.

One question was whether the required stream of new younger members would continue without a flashier website (whether the backend needed a complete rewrite too is a separate question).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

j_a_m_e_s_

  • Prisoner 17091
    • AUK results
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #70 on: August 20, 2018, 04:21:29 pm »
I am one of the "younger" (26) riders - there were probably 2/3 others my age on Sunday at the grimpeurs ride - I only found out about Audax from my dad and was very lucky to have done so. I certainly wasn't attracted by a crap website. If anything it was off putting. The only reason I stuck it out was video and social media from actual randonneurs off youtube and instagram (and I'm glad I did). Many riders who there were seem to have been pulled in by other media e.g. https://www.cyclinguk.org/event/tour-hills-challenge-ride-series-2018

Quote
there is no capacity for new members...

Rubbish. This is just a completely bizarre post.

I was one of those maybe. (32).
I certainly wasn't unattracted by a crap website. And certainly wasn't put off by it. I am a massive luddite though I suppose, not using Facebook et al and thinking the YouTube was at the back of the toilet.

Really, am I that out of touch? 😳
Rule 77

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #71 on: August 20, 2018, 04:22:41 pm »
If your city is crowded, you build more houses. You don't put up a concrete barrier and tell everyone else to jog on because this one's full.

The priority of the steering leadership should be to make expanding the membership and organising brevets easier. Not try and keep out this menacing mass of TDF fans (???).

Most people I know in cycling have never heard of Audax - this includes seasoned cycle tourists, Warmshowers hosts, and road racers. People don't do the undersubscribed events because they don't know they exist.

As for organising I intend to be organising brevets in the near future, but I will require a "mentor" and some other peculiar sounding rules which will make things difficult. I'll figure it out because I'm committed and love randonneuring.

I was "put off" in the sense that the website gives a lot of information overload. For example when you click on "calendar events" it gives a drop down of 14 options. This is functionality geared towards people familiar with the system - but for the casual checker-inner, this is an overwhelming interface.

Compare with BC's sportives page https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/sportives which is very well laid out and easy to navigate.
Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #72 on: August 20, 2018, 04:24:34 pm »
I am one of the "younger" (26) riders - there were probably 2/3 others my age on Sunday at the grimpeurs ride - I only found out about Audax from my dad and was very lucky to have done so. I certainly wasn't attracted by a crap website. If anything it was off putting. The only reason I stuck it out was video and social media from actual randonneurs off youtube and instagram (and I'm glad I did). Many riders who there were seem to have been pulled in by other media e.g. https://www.cyclinguk.org/event/tour-hills-challenge-ride-series-2018

Quote
there is no capacity for new members...

Rubbish. This is just a completely bizarre post.

Another younger rider here. Ish.

In what way is the website crap? And how is it off putting? It could be improved upon yes, but it's perfectly functional*.

*front end anyway.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #73 on: August 20, 2018, 04:25:42 pm »


One question was whether the required stream of new younger members would continue without a flashier website (whether the backend needed a complete rewrite too is a separate question).

Role models, Strava.

Rapha helped a lot... characters like Teethgrinder who have a big following on Strava help a lot. Strava itself helps immensely... when you see the rides unfolding, it is quite inspiring, certainly more so than seeing a list of names with some brevet numbers.

But then again, it's pointless to have 20,000 members and no spaces in the rides.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #74 on: August 20, 2018, 04:27:25 pm »
In what way is the website crap?

Too many words, not enough pictures, innit. How the heck am I supposed to Instagram it?