2013 President's Report 02 February

 President’s Report to 2013 Branch AGM

It is with pleasure that I present my report for 2012 which has been a successful and eventful year.   Thanks for this go to the committee and all the members who have participated in and assisted with the many events and rides which the branch hosted. 

Our job has also been made easier by the great initiative and foresight of the late Stephen Dearnley, who unfortunately passed away last year and the group with which he set up this wonderful club and wrote its simple constitution with its concise yet clear objectives and which has stood the test of time.  I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Henry Zlabek (the first Melbourne Branch president and who still attended a ride in December 2012 despite now living near the Murray River) and his companions who set up the Melbourne Branch in 1984 (now almost 30 years ago) and the subsequent committees and supporters who have kept things simple and provided for the wants of Ulysses Club members.      

The ride calendar was again kept very full throughout the year with a great variety of rides thanks to the participation of the many members who took on the role of leading rides.    The Swanpool Weekend is proving to be very popular and is on again next weekend 23 - 24 February 2013.             

The Melbourne Branch Odyssey was successfully run at Nagambie in October.   The venue has been booked again for this coming October and the only significant change will be simplification of the entertainment on the Saturday night with a view to having pre recorded “easy listening” music until dinner is finished followed by some livelier music to promote dancing.   We are also looking at the possibility of having the Moto GP on the big screen in the function centre on the Sunday afternoon as the dates will coincide.    I would like to acknowledge and thank the good work of the people who were instrumental in making of the Odyssey work last year after the significant change from Mansfield.  

The VSK Day at Cardinia Reservoir was again well received by the Very Special Kids for whom it was put on and their families.  Many thanks to Holly for organising this event and all those members who hopped in and made it all run so smoothly.       

On the social front, the monthly pub nights at the Tower continue to be well attended.   Attendance has also been good on Saturday mornings at the Melbourne Bakehouse in Port Melbourne.    The Christmas function was again a great end to the social calendar for the branch.  I believe the venue here was good and the food and service were of excellent standard and value but that it is probably time to consider alternative entertainment to freshen things up a bit.     

Kate Clarke, the website administrator has continued to do a great job enhancing the site which she designed and launched in July 2010.  The site now has about 200 registered users and I encourage all members who have not yet registered to do so.   It is a great communication avenue for members.    Many of you may be aware that a new Ulysses national website was launched in August 2012 and this was accompanied by a certain amount of disgruntlement.   Whilst I do not wish to be critical of that launch in any way, I would say that the accompanying angst in many ways highlights the excellent job Kate has done with the Melbourne Branch website.

All branches were invited to close their independent sites and “piggyback” off the national site and I declined that offer.   That decision may well have to be reviewed by a future committee in due course as costs change and time passes.         

Alf Dennemoser has also done a great job in preparing the Spare Tyre which is available to all members via the website.  Those members who would like a hard copy posted to them are reminded that today would be the perfect time to pay their subscription. 

As the branch cannot charge fees or similar, our sources of funding are very limited and the continuing health of our finances is largely thanks to our sponsors namely;

Bike Mart in Ringwood

Jeffrey Motorcycles in Ferntree Gully,

Metro Motorcycles and Treads and Things in Ringwood and our new sponsors

Andy Strapz in Frankston and finally

Two Wheel Touring NZ

I encourage all members to support these businesses as they enable the branch’s finances to remain healthy and provide the things you want from the club.

I wish to thank Martyn “Skutr” Goodwin for his efforts in obtaining a new sponsor and following up other sources of funding.   Our attempts to have a fund raising day at Bunnings were finally rejected only recently and as the branch finances remain healthy, I see little point in pursuing such a course.   

I wish to remind members that safety is paramount at all times and particularly on branch rides.  Courtesy to fellow members (whose experience and skills vary), safe and legal overtaking practices, roadcraft and patience are essential to ensure safe and enjoyable ride days.  Each and every member is responsible for her or his own safety and compliance with road laws.    The Ulysses Club offers rebates of up to $80 per 3 year membership for additional rider training or first aid qualifications, which can be a great investment in your enjoyment of riding and the safety of your family members and fellow riders.   Quite a few of us availed ourselves of the rebate last year. 

Finally I would like to thank all the members of the committee whose involvement has ensured the smooth running of the branch over the past year.   I would particularly like to thank retiring treasurer Peter for his contributions over the years. 

This will be my 4th year as president and I will not continue in that role beyond this year.   I therefore encourage members to get involved with running events this year with a view to taking on senior committee positions next year.

Thank You.

John Cook 

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