The world-renowned Ulysses Club will focus on keeping a lid on costs as they attempt to retain members, says new president Jen Woods.
The second female president was elected at the AGM in Wauchope last month and has set out her agenda for her presidency.
“With decreased membership comes the need to review and reduce costs and this new committee is focussed on that,” she says.
“We also need to adapt to the needs of younger members of 40, who may have young families but are also active riders.
“Keeping our current members is also key, along with attracting new members.
“We also recognise that many riders have the perception that we are a club for old people. We aren’t.”
Ulysses membership numbers peaked in 2010 at around 28,000 just prior to the global financial crisis and the subsequent financial restrictions for many people.
Membership declined but has been stable at around 16000.
“There is no ‘race’ to have as many members as possible,” says Jen.
“We recognise that there are now more clubs offering a variety of different experiences for riders to choose from.”
The Ulysses Club has around 130 branches, as well as a few riding groups and Special Interest Groups such as the Adventure Riders and the Victorian Breakfast Club.
Jen points out that any member can attend any branch, as membership is of the club rather than a branch.
There are also Ulysses Club internationally, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, New Zealand, South Africa and several in Europe.
Jen says the Australian club recognises the need to keep a close link to the clubs overseas and has a National Committee member who is in close contact with them.
“Many of our members choose to time their holidays to capitalise on the best riding weather to meet and ride with members overseas,” she says.
“Truly, this club has so much to offer and I am both proud and humbled to have been elected President.”
Jen classes herself as a relatively “new” rider.
“It’s a bit like needing to be 4th generation before you can be called local,” she says.
Jen learnt to ride in 1998 and joined the Ulysses Club in 2000.
“My actual first experience of being on a motorbike was as a pillion on a friend’s Norton Commando back in the ‘70s – heady days,” she says.
“So I learnt to ride, got my licence and have had a great time ever since.”
He first bike was a Suzuki TU 250 followed by a Yamaha V-Star 650 and she currently owns a V-Star 1100.
“I joined the Ulysses Club because I saw a rider with a back patch that said Grow Old Disgracefully and I knew I wanted to belong,” she says.
“The Ulysses Club has provided me with a truly fantastic social network and many new friends, an experience similar to so many other members.
“In an increasingly disenfranchised world, the Ulysses Club provides a way for new friendships to form with others who have a shared love of motorcycles, even when they no longer ride.
“So I had arrived and then looked around me and realised that I could become more involved.
“Motorcycle advocacy was an obvious concern and so I joined the Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT, and also became involved in the local Ulysses Club Branch.”
She became the president of that branch after some years in various roles on the committee and also became involved with the Ulysses Club Road Safety Committee.
She was first elected to the National Committee at the AGM in Penrith in 2009.