Rafael Guerra and I have been having detailed off-forum conversations regarding starting a folder focused club. We are looking at forming a club that would have low dues to help support the club and related site. It is not free to setup a website, have a server to host it and buy the bulletin board software to run it but Rafael and I are willing to share the startup costs to help get it off the ground.
We would have club specific decals, pins, stickers, patches and/or other items developed to show your love of the sport. I have already contacted a shop who would be willing to give us "member discounts" on accessories and possibly even on new bikes they carry. That way there would be a tangible benefit for members that would more than offset any dues structure. I also discussed with them the option of very substantial discounts on "group buys" if we could get enough people interested in 1 particular item be it mirrors, tires, tubes, etc. The shop I spoke with is willing to ship internationally so don’t worry if you are not in North America.
We will be also looking at companies who might be willing to help sponsor the club and its site as well. Rafael and I are working on sort of a business plan to structure everything. You need a business plan even if you aren't running a business as any sponsor will want to know how you are structuring everything with respect to a professional manner.
The thought is to be a vendor neutral club/site that will encourage open discourse on all things related to folders. We would like to feature a unique bike each month and review folder specific products. I personally don't want to see it become just a Brompton or Dahon type club. Ideally we want all folders to be welcome and for all people to participate sort of like what we have here. At the same time we would like to have FAQ's for people just getting into folders to help attract the cross-over riders. It would be cool to have a “Rides” section where you can showcase all the mods you have made to your tricked out ride.
We want it to be more than just a forum but a valuable resource to all things related to folders. In addition who wouldn't mind saving money on accessories or a new bike? I think it would be great to have a direct relationship with many companies to get quick answers to some burning questions and have folder specific news. I was really turned off by the UK's folder society as almost no bike but a Brompton need apply. I like my Bromptons but they are not "all that" for the US market. I also don't want it to be US centric either but to encourage riders of all locale and national origin to participate. I am multi-lingual and I am sure quite a few others on this board are as well so we can help others all over the world. I will copy a major part of this thread to start the new club related thread to gauge widespread interest.
The idea is not to compete with bikeforums.net but to augment it. We have need of talented people to help lend their expertise. We can’t compensate you but we can give you recognition. Rafael and I are doing this because we love the sport and want to see it grow. Any likeminded individuals are welcome to contribute their talents. We are still working on a name and other details. At this point nothing is concrete but we want to gauge interest before investing a lot of our time and money. We are also interested in trying to put together events or specific rides for people to meet up and share their love of the sport. A great way to get exposure is to do charity rides. Ride for the American Heart Association or Red Cross and get media attention that way AND at the same time benefit your fellow man. It make the news if people cycle for 200 miles for a charity weekend fundraiser but think how impressive that would appear to many people if we did it on little tiny wheels. If we have enough interest we are tentatively planning at going “live” sometime around mid-April. If you are interested please leave a post here or email me via the site. Maybe we are crazy but maybe there are enough of you interested in contributing and being a part of this to make it work. I personally wouldn’t mind saving some money on accessories or bikes not to mention maybe having something with a cool logo as well to show my devotion to the sport. Of course anyone and everyone is welcome even if they don’t have a folder. Give them time and the will come around.