FatTracks AGM 2023, Chairman’s Report

Chairman’s message: Baakens Bash & Trail upkeep
Social rides

Dear fellow FatTracks (FT) Club members and Club supporters,

Another year has come and gone! It’s great to be able to share this report with you at the end of 2023. This was a year that brought us lots of water, soaking our trails but also filling our dams. As a result, mountain biking came to a halt for quite some time, but we were all so happy about the rain that nothing else mattered.

It felt like a short year with all the rain, but we all made the best of it by riding as and when we could, and luckily, we still have some year left! I am having fun, and I hope you are too. The trails have dried off well, so we are well under way with the repairs, including some river and stream crossings.

Memberships for 2023

Membership over the past year hit 633 members – a slight drop from 2022. We appeal to all members to encourage friends and family to sign up as FT membehttps://www.richardpearce.co.za/Events/Baakens-Bash-2023/rs. The Baakens Valley FatTracks trails give much joy to the people of Nelson Mandela Bay (with thanks to NMBM), and our very affordable membership fees help us a great deal in keeping our trails in good condition.

Every FatTracks club member is important to us. Your ongoing participation is highly appreciated, and your contributions are received with gratitude. Thank you for your membership, your support, and most importantly for riding your mountain bikes!

Support and sponsorships

Many thanks once again to our incredible, supportive sponsors, we could not do what we do without you!

To Continental SA for their continued, generous financial support of our club activities. Many thanks to you, too, Ryan Visagie, our Continental contact person!

To Waudcray for their generous donation to Fat Tracks towards trail upkeep and maintenance over the past year. It is much appreciated! Thanks, Mark, Catherine and kids for your support.

To Steel Pipes & Fittings for the steel plates at the Dodds Farm weir crossing, which are still going strong!

To Project Solutions for the metal bridge donated and installed at the corner of the Little Walmer golf course (on your way down to Dodds Farm) – a huge improvement!

To Andrew Rist of Loop Solutions who donated more of the black trail post pipes, as well as a membrane for sealing the roofs of the containers.

Rooftop Media Production House via their Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme (together with NMBM Tourism and Fat Tracks) for their help with mapping the Baakens Valley trails.

We are also happy to announce that Rooftop has confirmed that they will be doing a video to promote the Baakens Valley trails to the public, including mountain biking, trail running, hiking, bird watching et cetera. This initiative will go a long way to making the valley, including Settlers Park, a much safer space for all users. We will be posting the video on our website upon completion.

The Rubicon light poles and fittings are still to go up at the Fat Tracks containers – hopefully sooner rather than later. (We had to wait for the container roof to be sealed first.)  

View more pics of the Baakens Bash here: https://www.richardpearce.co.za/Events/Baakens-Bash-2023/

Heartfelt thanks to: Waudcray, Cyclo Pro, Coimbra Cycle Centre, Coastlands Sales, Rack & Tow, Relay EMS, The Skin Firm Lazer Clinic, MPS Recruitment, Leatt, 3 Rivers Trails, The Windfarm, PE Windscreens, S4 and CRC/Qbike, Schuinvilla Pharmacy and ATLAS for supporting the FatTracks Baakens Bash – we could not have done it without you!

Looking back. Looking at now. Looking forward.

Events and club/member interaction for 2023:

  • Newbie Ride on Tuesdays
  • Crank for Coffee gatherings on Sunday mornings
  • FatTracks Continental Baakens Bash, 19 November 2023
  • Fat Tracks AGM at Norm Hudlin, 24 November 2023
  • FatTracks Cyclo Pro Longmore Classic, 3 December 2023

A big thank you to our FT trail partner, Norm Hudlin Trails for hosting our AGMs free of charge every year. We encourage all members to support Norm Hudlin by spreading the word about the Norm Hudlin trails.

We aim to keep promoting mountain bike trails for the enjoyment of our club members:

all of which are great facilities to be enjoyed by FT club members.

The Fat Tracks committee is committed to honour our proud heritage as the oldest mountain biking club in South Africa – 35 years this year! We have a great club, with great trails.

Trail maintenance

We have had to work with an HR specialist to manage some employment legalities regarding the work permit status of our trail maintenance workers. While they are no longer permanent employees, we work with them on a needs-basis for specific assignments. We are happy that we can still make use of their years of experience and the training they received from our previous FatTracks Chairman, Andrew Rist.

The grass cutting and trimming of the trails is currently outsourced on a trial basis, which we believe will be the best option going forward.

Our trail map at the containers is also in the process of being updated.

Going forward into 2024

Our committee for 2024 remains pretty much the same, although sadly Sean Parker will be stepping down as a committee member – thank you, Sean for all your time, energy, and enthusiasm.

2024 Committee

  • Chairman – Pieter Labuschagne
  • Vice Chair – Scott Woods
  • Treasurer – Dee Hayter
  • Admin & Media – Claire Warneke
  • Trails – Scott Woods & Pieter Labuschagne
  • Merchandise – Colin Fibiger, Sam van Schoor, Dee Hayter
  • Events – Vicki Laing, Andrea von Holdt
  • Trail Forks – Stephen Craddock

FatTracks will continue to address the needs of all the different levels of mountain biking in Nelson Mandela Bay. We will also in the new year engage in talks aimed at serving the wider mountain biking community in NMB as well as provincial level.

Many thanks to my fellow committee members for your support.

The Committee and I wish you and your families all the best for the festive season and the year to come.

Here’s to mountain biking. See you on the trails!

Pieter Labuschagne – FatTracks Chairman

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