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Business Plan-Input needed

Originally written by Joyce on 8/5/2007 8:37 PM

Wow Linda, your reply was hard to read but it seems you are very unhappy with things the way they are. You are right that getting people to participate is difficult. We are approaching 1000 members but our ballots and questions only netted 50 responses. I think when I got involved with the BOD in 2002 there were less than 600 members, no web site and little news in the magazine.

Let's see Richard in FL, Tom Hansen in NM and even I couldn't find a sidecar rally nearby so we just started our own. It's fun and you get to meet a bunch of great people too. It can be very rewarding.

OK back to business planning folks!

First off. Tom Hansen is an amazing stand up guy who has my total respect. He put on one hell of a fantastic rolling rally (Butterfly Rally III) my first of many in the future in years to come if he'll have me back. Best folks, great times. It was not a sanctioned Rally if I'm not mistaken. A Fabulous Time had by all.

Joyce, I posted originally to Richard just to try to get information for when a member does come across other sidecarist's and suggest they join USCA and they ask WHY, what should be the response (I haven't figured it out yet myself and I am a member)? Poor Richard never got a word in yet, my apologies to Richard for the down hill slide). Joyce, I also asked you the same thing one nite on Chat nite and did not get a response other than (QUOTE: you get a magazine END QUOTE). I'm looking for some detail as to truly what is the value to a member for joining this organization. It is a totally valid question and should not be a shock that someone is asking it. Having an individual write a book with the majority of it with negative overtones it was required to be put back in so I could respond by paragraph, I don't' get talked down to and slither away quietly. You know Joyce, I speak my mind.

Regarding your comment about having that many members (1000) and you only have a handful that participate in any discussion and only 50 responses back on your ballots out of 1000 tells you something. Me personally, I completely overlooked the ballot in the magazine (someone had to point it out to me just the other day) or I would have sent it in, trust me...... Why such a pitiful response? Well, that is for the BOD to figure out regarding non participation, but first the BOD need to listen to what people are saying.
Yes, he got my back up. I'm not shy when somebody decides that standing up to his pulpit talking down to me is okay. When an individual asks questions, (which everyone should) and gets that kind of a response, it doesn't make you want to participate, now does it. It's too bad, my questions were to help understand what this organization is all about and be able to in turn explain to others. So much for that. It started positive, went down hill quick. It's not my thing to be talked down too, twice won't happen. AND more importantly, your organization certainly doesn't need it. Their is such potential in a group like this, participation is critical. No handful of folks makes for a strong organization. My babbling is done for now.



Originally written by RichardMc4 on 8/5/2007 7:18 PM<BR><BR>Linda,

I am sorry to hear you are through with this thread because I for one would like to hear why you did join.

To your question I do not recruit everyone the same and the truth is I spend more time talking about sidecars than USCA. But I do ask if they are member. If they ask for more info that is when I tell them about “The Sidecarest”, the Rallies, and the website. When talking about the website I tell them up front that it is open to anyone but is paid for in part from the dues of USCA members. I am not into hard sales and have walk around the hot shot salesperson and have bought from the nice person.

Now on a personal note the main reason I joined USCA was when I first started think about a sidecar the people on sidecar dot com gave me the help and support that I could not find on my own. I did not want someone coming behind me to feel as alone as I did before I found the site and the people of USCA. And you know as I typed that two things just came to me that is also the reason I became Fla’s state rep and the other is I don’t tell a lot of people this. Hmm I just did tell a bunch. Lol.

I owe you a response Richard. I'm sorry your thread went down hill, it was for positive reasons I asked the questions of you.

Why I joined? That is a good question I have asked myself a lot lately. I couldn't come up with a reason why I joined. I felt some sense of obligation for using this website possibly. I even now can't give you a reason why I should stay personally. In Southern California it does not benefit me from the answers I've gotten. Riding 2000 miles for a rally isn't reasonable, the magazine is of no real benefit, although I enjoy it, don't get me wrong, but does it get my rig down the road safer, no, does this organization help support legislation through ABATE to support our sport, no. I'm still pondering it all. But even with that, I make sure to suggest and direct folks interested to the website. Very informative I must say.

Richard, good luck with your Florida group I wish you the best I'm on your DL and enjoy hearing your positive news on your 07' rally, and plans for the 08' event.


I certainly didn't want to cut off discussion or "slam" anyone. It seems that the basic idea wasn't understood. I posted the thing about color in The Sidecarist to get input about what the members wanted. Flip responded to the Business Plan post and we started to get input. Then I saw the "What do I get for being a member?" post and tried to answer that question. It wasn't meant to be personally directed to anyone but rather to provide my outlook and explain why I joined. At my age sidecaring has given me a lot. It has me interested in something again and it's given me something to work for. The sport is very important to me and therefore the USCA is important to me. Six years ago we hadn't had elections in over ten years, we had no resources and the BOD met once a year for about an hour. Nothing got done and we had less than $3 in the bank. We've survived that and now we're trying to get better and deliver more value to the members. What form that value should take is what we are trying to figure out. You didn't think much of the new paper but the response of most of our members has been overwhelmingly positive. I'm personally not wild about the idea of color but the BOD voted to give it a try. I guess that's it, we're trying. The USCA needs folks who agree with what the BOD does and we need folks who DON'T agree. If it weren't for diferences in opinion, no progress would ever be made.

We've done a lot in the past six years and we want to do more. If you will stick in here and tell us what you want it will be a positive contribution to the effort. I'm truely sorry that you took this personally, it was not my intent.

Joyce wrote:
>>It's fun and you get to meet a bunch of great people too.<<

This is THE key to ongoing sucess. Have fun and meet likeminded people.
If the ones within the USCA who are on the BOD can recoginize this members will come and will renew yearly.
After a much needed rebirth or revival of the USCA a few years ago the potential of the organaization is very high compared an all time low near death experience. Growing pains are what this thread relates to. To grow food is required and from what I have read here the board is open to receive some seeds of thought. This should be encouraging.
Folks, sidecaring is a great pastime for many reasons. The main reason comes down to the people. This pastime is about people. It is people who have sidecars. It is people who have an interest in others who have sidecars. How simple is that?
What should be promoted then? Right.....People and sidecars!
Who are the people? They are present and future sidecarists. They are those who have been in the sport for years and those who potentially may be interested in coming into the sport. What are their wants and needs? Well, to me comeraderie and education are huge issues. has helped on both fronts and a good start has been developed here.
The USCA needs to focus on the continued support of sidecarists and the sport. They need to be the 'good guy' in the sport and promote that image and that image alone. Promotion of the USCA itself will be the fruits of these types of efforts along with the support of the organization. Word of mouth is and will be the best marketing approach.
The age old example of reaping what is sown holds true. Seeds sown of support will reap harvests of support.
We are all in this together. If the USCA BOD will make a comitment to support sidecaring in general and become the good guy that all look to for support throughout the sidecar world the aquisition and retention of members will be the result. No it is not what we can do for the USCA that counts but what the USCA can do to encourage and support sidecarsits all over that matters. If THAT image is obtained then the results will be a win win situation for all.
Be THE good guy!

OK here is my shot at trying to get this post back on track. Lol.

I know that I am one of those nuts that like to see my name in print maybe not all people are as ego driven as I am. Two of the things that will keep me hanging around is someone saying “Welcome” and “good job.” Yes I get a lot of that but I am talking about the new members and the people that got them here. Here in Fla I send out a letter to the new members, as do some other State reps. I am going to start a new section in our Fla news letter to say something about them. Maybe the Sidecarest can do the same?

Now here is the part I will need help with if the membership application form had a place for where/who the new person heard of USCA. I know this would help me as a State rep and would think it would help the Board to know what/who is bringing in new members.

I know a lot of my re-plies have been of getting the membership up and not about new benefits for members but it is my feelings that as the membership grows then the other will come.

This is a good place for me to say Thank you to Joyce for starting this post and to the other Board members that are reading it. It shows me that the board does care.

That is a good idea Richard. At one time Al Roach said that almost all of the new member applications were printed from the website. I haven't requested that info from him recently. I'm not sure we need to track this in our database but it could be easily included in your new member emails.

Thank you

Hmm that most of the applications were printed from the website does not surprises me. Even when I personally hand someone something printer (tri-fold, The Sidecarest, etc) that has an application I point out the web site as a place for more info. What I was looking for was a bit more. How did they find us (USCA or sidecar dot com) I found you with a web search.

Originally written by RichardMc4 on 8/7/2007 12:24 PM

Hmm that most of the applications were printed from the website does not surprises me. Even when I personally hand someone something printer (tri-fold, The Sidecarest, etc) that has an application I point out the web site as a place for more info. What I was looking for was a bit more. How did they find us (USCA or sidecar dot com) I found you with a web search.


That's probably the say most folks have found us in the past few years. There is some history here too. For a LONG time the USCA couldn't afford to have a website and Doug Bingham had the site hosted at his expense. That was good for the USCA and good for Doug because the domain "" is doubtless the best domain any sidecar related enterprize could have. Doug tied that to the Sidecar Industry Council [SIC] and on through to his own website at Sidestrider. Not every sidecar manufacturer is a member of the SIC and in fact some folks in the business didn't want anything to do with the club and cited our "close ties" to the SIC and Doug. Also, we were having a bit of a struggle getting things updated on our site because the SIC web admin had to do everything and they were charging Doug for every change.

All in all it was deemed better that we went on our own. After that time it took us a while to get up to speed again but now we are back stronger than ever. For the first couplle of years the web site was sponsored by a private donor but the club was able to take it over and it is supported now by dues and advertising.

I feel that one of our goals should be to find ways to leverage our greatest exposure, I believe that you mentioned a private members only space. That is doable but what would we put there that we didn't want to share with all sidecarists? I think it is a great idea; now we need a way to implement it and that includes content. Anybody got any ideas?

I was going to stay out of this being I'm not a member, but after Joyce's posting on the Wax thread (I thought upkeep was part of game) I will tell you why I'm not a member then sign off for good. About 18 months ago I was thinking of getting a sidecar for my bike, and came across this web site. A lot of good folks here and I received the info I needed to make the decision and help with the set up.Thanks to all. I've been riding since the late 50's. I never belonged to an organization, one of the few organization I've belong to was the U.S. Military. Only been to one rally and one poker run. My wife and I do most things alone, but thought this might be a fun group to get involved with. Started looking in 2 or 3 times a day. I had some concern about the number of links to X rated sites. Contacted Joyce about it in a personal message, and basicly got back that she had a blocker on her computer and I shoud do the same. We went to the 2006 rally and had a fun time, met some real nice people both members and non. The BOD was a whole different story! When either of us tried to get info. about the USCA thay were too busy, that included the TX. rep. but seemed to have more then enough time to socialize with each other. I will tell you up front my wife and I both drink. One of my concerns was about the USCA having a night run to a night club.Was told we didn't have to go. But if somthing bad had happened as a member would we have been as liable as every one else? The USCA lost two possible member that weakend.

Henry and June Michael, Paducah TX.

In the last 18 months you have posted 76 times, visited the website 2 to 3 times a day, got good information so you could make informed decisions and attended a national rally where you had a fun time and met some real nice folks, both members and non-members. Sounds like enough tire kicking to decide if a membership is worth $30 a year.

I was not present so I do not know the situation with your request for information, what information you needed or who you asked for it.

I do know that as this year's volunteer rally chair I worked 4 straight 16hr days so both members and non-members could enjoy themselves equally, and I suspect 2006 was no different for the rally staff then. I know several folks were discouraged I did not have the personal time to spend with them that they and I would have liked, but time simply did not exist to do so.

Some members of the board are close friends and only have the yearly national to socialize with each other and are not there in a working or volunteer capacity.