Ian, when and why did you join the BMW Club?
I joined the club in the mid 1980’s after buying a R80 RT and picking up an old Club Journal at a dealership in Oxford. It seemed to offer the sort of thing I was looking for and something that both my wife and I would enjoy. We both enjoy travelling and as our 2 sons had reached a degree of maturity and independence I felt it was time for us to explore something new.
What were you looking for then?
At the time, I was a serving Officer in the Royal Air Force and felt I needed an alternative outlet both socially and challenging away from on base military life. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy those aspects of my career, but motorcycle clubs and motorcycling didn’t figure in an Officer’s Career pattern then.
Did the club measure up to your expectations?
Very much so, as I enjoy meeting people, hearing of their solo and joint exploits and joining in whenever we could. In our travels to sections around the British Isles we quickly made good friends whose company we still enjoy today. Meeting past club Presidents Fred Secker and George Saunders enlightened me to the background and development of the club to the point that I wanted to contribute whatever I could.
Dafydd how about you?
I joined the BMW club on the 4th February 2013 (whilst away for my wedding anniversary). I wanted to join a club to ride with that had better organisation than my previous motorcycle club – and my step father was already a member!
What were you looking for?
I was looking for a bike club that was more mature in outlook and with riders more respectful to other road users. Previously I had been a member of a club that was mainly full of young riders on sports bikes. Their focus was the speed of the bikes and getting from A to B as quickly as possible.
Does the club measure up to your expectations?
Oh, yes and some! Everybody was welcoming from the moment I joined. The camaraderie of members is such that you can visit the pub social once a month and feel as though you were speaking only yesterday. Also despite being only 26 I was accepted into established riding groups and made to feel part of the club.
How long have you been riding?
I have been riding since I was 17 making it nearly 10 years, after I was given the choice by my parents to either learn to ride or learn to drive. My first bike at 17 was a Honda CBR125 which I had for four years before passing my restricted licence in 2011. My current bike is a 2012 double overhead cam R1200 GSA triple black nicknamed Thumper. This is a bike that I have always dreamt of owning.
So, Ian, you are currently a Vice President of the National Club as well as Oxford Section representative on the National Committee. How has your experience of the Club changed over the intervening years?
In Oct 1986 I was elected Oxford Section Secretary and NC rep, a post I held until Oct 90. That introduced me to the national side of the club under the Presidency of Geoff Wilson who was a very committed and competent leader of the club. From secretary to section chairman I enjoyed seeing the section and club grow. As a section we became confident enough to undertake the organisation of a National Event we called “The Dreaming Spires Rally” in 1993 which was a great success. So much so that we had to follow that up with Dreaming Spires B/H rally 1998. In 1994 I took the lead in making the case for changing the first Club badge to meet BMW’s request for conformation to their corporate guidelines. It took 3 yrs for members to agree the change, but they did eventually. I became a Club Vice President from 1996 until 2002 and again Apr 2015 to date. Nationally, I was the Instigator and one of the organisers of the 50th Anniversary Rally in 2001, a BMF rep for many years and currently the BMF Liaison Officer.
What are you looking for now?
That is a tough one. I still want much the same thing from the club, a good social aspect, friendship and the opportunity to meet other like minded souls, but the club has changed a lot. Change is inevitable, but it’s how you deal with the change that is crucial. From its peak membership of around 6,500 in 2000/2001 we have now reduced to around 3,800 last year which has had a dramatic financial impact on club administration. Our section is very strong so our social and events calendar is very busy, however, the downside might be the opportunity to partake of other sections events as much as we used to. I’m hoping to continue trying to improve the club and membership benefits, but that will mean some changes to current practice.
Apart from the active roles you have undertaken what else have you done in the club?
I have written articles for the Journal on matters that have been discussed, but not satisfactorily solved. For example, “the change of the club Logo”, “the turmoil in and role of the BMF”, the club’s future “2000 and beyond” as membership expanded, “time for change” dealing with diminishing revenue and membership and most recently “ACU/BMF National Road Rally”. Influencing member’s thoughts takes time and reasoned debate which will not happen unless someone at least starts the process.
Thanks to both Ian and Dafydd for their comments and for their enthusiastic commitment to the Club.