Student leadership keeps all of the ECCC's clubs going. This page collects resources to help club officers successfully develop and grow their teams.
The Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) includes all degree granting schools in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine. Schools in other states are more than welcome to participate in ECCC races and events, but will be officially part of another conference. To figure out which one, use the map on the USAC Collegiate website.
If there isn't a cycling club at your school already, you'll just have to start one! The hardest part is simply getting recognized by your school, but even that's usually not hard. Typically it involves finding some number of people (often 10) to express interest in the club and filling out some short forms. Sometimes you may have to develop a simple club constitution outlining officer roles and the basic rules and conduct of the club, usually based on a template provided by the school. For details, look around your school's main and/or athletic websites for information on general and/or sports clubs. USAC Collegiate also has an excellent starter guide for clubs that outlines some common club officer roles, constitution elements, and typical aspects of getting a club going on your campus.
Once recognized by your school, your team must get a club license from USA Cycling, which must also be renewed every calendar year. Fortunately, this is a very easy and cheap process involving a 2 page form and $100 fee, which is even waived the first year.
If you get stuck at any point in either getting recognized or licensed, feel free to contact the Conference Director or National Manager.
After that, your team is all set. As long as it is a recognized club on campus and your school submits the USAC Collegiate club license paperwork, you're ready to race regardless of whether you have one member or one hundred. Use the resources below and throughout this website to get your team racing and growing. You should have a few people monitoring the main eccc-announce mailing list so they get timely conference updates, as well as attending the annual ECCC meetings. All officers, old and new, are also strongly encouraged to read through the phenomenal USAC Collegiate Team Leader's Guide.
From there, clubs vary enormously and the real hard work begins of recruiting members, getting to races, and building your team. Most clubs receive some financial support from their school, though the range is very wide and many schools do not provide funding in the first year. Some clubs remain just a handful of riders doing a few races. Others have grown into varsity programs with full time coaches and sophisticated, extensive racing and developmental programs. Where your club goes is up to you, so make it happen!
The following are some good resources for team leaders to use throughout the year.
If you have any questions or need some guidance on running your club, don't hesitate to contact conference leadership or put it out there on the mailing list. We're all in this together and there are a lot of experienced team leaders and coaches on the listserv that would be happy to help.
The following is a rough outline of the basic tasks that must get done by most clubs throughout the academic year. A more detailed guide is available in the USAC Collegiate Team Leader's Guide.
Note that if you're starting a new club and going to race any of the fall seasons, you must get a USA Cycling club license once your club is recognized, before you start racing. Existing teams generally renew their licenses over the winter, as listed below.
After all that, take a (short) break and celebrate, you just lead your team through a full year of racing!
Putting on a race is simultaneously one of the most challenging and most rewarding activities in the Eastern Conference. It takes an intense amount of personal effort, teamwork, patience, and luck, but having the entire conference come race on your home ground in an event you created is an incomparable feeling.
Hosting an ECCC race is serious, hard business. Hundreds of people are counting on you to do a good job, and failure is not an option. It is not something just any person or team should attempt. That said, neither is it an impossible task, and many teams and club officers could successfully put on a race. These are some of the basic requirements.
Fortunately, there are also many things you do not need to have or do in order to put on a race:
In sum, hosting an ECCC race is an enormous challenge not to be underestimated, but it is also one that almost every team can meet given care and effort. If you are interested in putting on a race but unsure of what's required and your ability to meet it, you should read through the resources linked below and talk with the Season Coordinator and Conference Director as early as possible.
Particularly for the road season, the ECCC puts significant effort into coordinating host housing at most events. Over the years this has greatly reduced travel costs for many teams, and brought many people together across the extended ECCC community.
Every race is asked to get some kind of host housing, whether it's local racers or alumni for the road race season, or setting up a camping ground during MTB season. The conference has a Host Housing Coordinator that works will all Race Directors, tabulates the available space, and distributes it to those that request it on a first come, first serve basis.
The 2nd most important part of Host Housing, besides fulfilling a need for racers, is during the road season all host housing recipients must volunteer for the races; so the more host housing you have, the more helpers you have for putting on the race.
The following are very rough outlines of major promotion deadlines. Many more details are in the resources linked below.
The following are resources that may be of use to school administrators, either directly or as pointers for the students you oversee:
Having custom team kits is one of the key ways to establish a club identity to build a community around. Plus, you'll look awesome.
Essentially all custom clothing companies will help you design a team kit, usually for a fee but increasingly as a free service to get you to contract with them. Either way, they'll generally work with anything from a napkin sketch to a complete and finalized design. If no one on your team is comfortable with graphic design, talk to your sales representative about having the manufacturer do it. Usually they can whip up something pretty good based around logos and rough ideas you send them.
To get a truly custom design, however, usually takes a little bit of graphic design skills. All companies provide templates of their fabric patterns which you can edit and draw on to develop a genuinely unique style---for better or worse. Typical vector art software packages used, such as Adobe Illustrator, are generally fairly expensive but often available on campus computers. Another possible option is Inkscape, a free, open source graphics design tool. Note that all these tools have fairly substantial learning curves, so don't expect to just dive in and produce masterpieces on a time crunch.
Regardless, three primary points to keep in mind are:
Technically the conference director has to approve your design. In practice they almost invariably don't want to hear about it unless you have many or prominent sponsor logos, or are hoping to significantly change the design but keep it compatible with previous outfits. Look around the photos on this site and other online photo albums for examples of what's generally accepted and a good idea. If you have doubts, don't hesitate to get in touch.
In general it's probably best for teams to try and maintain the same basic outfit for a few years running. Otherwise current racers won't be able to use their stockpile of previous clothes, and alumni will be slightly more alienated from the team.
Also note that some institutions require that clubs get approval before printing clothing, so check with your club sports administration's requirements before beginning the process.
The three most critical parts of the ordering process are:
Finally, if the team budget and school rules permit, it's a very good idea to have the team purchase a small stock of extra kits. This way new club members can buy one from the team right away rather than waiting for the next order.