BACA, our local bike advocacy group, has been pretty stagnant for awhile. Membership's sort of gone flat (click here to sign up). Lots of clubs and groups don't feel represented. Lots of minor events are sponsored, without much effect. Meetings felt useless to most cyclists, and people stopped coming. The most recent board tended to get into shouting matches at their meetings.
Major local issues went unnoticed, or worse, BACA board members said the wrong thing in public and other cyclists and groups spoke up to disagree. The city and county government stopped listening because they didn't know who to listen to. BACA could have an enormous impact, but it doesn't.
Or it didn't. Some of us got together to talk about it. It turned out that a lot of cycling families and groups felt the same way we did. We extended some olive branches to teams that have been feeling like outsiders. The sort of vague, leaderless group ended up hatching a group volunteers excited about serving on the board to make it a wider, louder, more active advocacy organization.
I managed to get a spot on the nominating committee, and four days after that committee was established, we had a full slate of officers to nominate - mountain bikers, road racers, blog writers, trail builders. The April BACA meeting saw that group voted in, amid angry confusion and loudish cheering.
It makes me smile to watch people do what they care about, and I'm looking forward to this year. I'm looking forward to having an advocacy group here in LR. I think they'll accomplish great things, starting right about now.