As a relative newb here, here is my take.
I have been on a few rides with the retrobike crowd and they are good people. They enjoy biking and surely thats the point of it all.
Facts are though that people get busy and there is sometimes not a lot of uptake on rides. People will get on a bike when it suits them, this is the nature of it. Unless there is a concenus of people that want to go and do x,y,z on a certain date you are not going to get good numbers.
If someone posts a 'we are doing this in 3 months' type event, everyone takes interest but then the numbers drop towards the event. Conversely, if someone wants to do a 'fancy a cycle at the weekend' then its similar.
Perhaps its worth doing a few things that are 'third sunday, every third month' where the dates are something that everyone can anticipate.
So heres perhaps a few suggestions that people could discuss:
FOFSE events: namely f*** off from South East for a few days once a year, we go do a weekend somewhere else. Wales, Scotland, France, Belgium, a nice trip that is worth the effort.
Trail days: I do like Bedgebury and can acommodate 4 bikes / people in the car - it would be a pleasure to organise runs there if people wanted to. I don't want fuel money as I would be doing this anyway. I am sure others feel the same.
Improved sharing of routes: We did the Ride with GPS section, there are only a few people able to do this via GPS but people could post there written routes in that thread so that others can benefit. We asked about this in other regional areas and perhaps the response wasn't so positive. I think this could improve site-wide as, for example, the Benelux section has a great resource on there that is more open to share. Sharing is a good thing, no point hiding all your routes to yourself - not worth bothering with a forum if that is your take, in my opinion.
Road or offroad: We seem to do less on the road, perhaps we could improve this. Or, perhaps we combine the two and just meet up for lunch when two routes co-incide. my local CTC group does this regularly, even though there are only a few active members to that.
Its a big area: South East covers a lot of ground and people aren't always wanting to go Hampshire, Kent, Reading, London - perhaps a few more reps would be an idea. Mostly the problem is transport being crap so a little more autonomy would be a good idea.
More Chat: People talk a lot on the wider forum, perhaps a dedicated chat forum for SE would be easier to get people to engage more.
Everyone has their limits: Whether biking a long way or time commitments - its going to be a lot easier if people take interest in what others are doing and if it meets their abilities - Seafront ride is a good example, not long, plenty of stops, good cameraderie, however, perhaps if someone was going to plan a bit of a ball breaker, then it would suit others.
Comms: Anthony raised a good point, we could use FB or twitter to get the word out, but if no-one is communicating on the forum, which already does these things, we are just moving the problem around. The @retrobikese twitter feed is now following more people, at one point it was following no-one. Give a few trusted people access to that account and it could convey a lot more info. Same with the forum.
Efforts of TGR and others: Much appreciated and its done for nothing so don't expect too much - but, we all use the forum so lets make an effort to help. I was not aware that TGR wasn't much avaialble at certain times, and perhaps it would be easier to help if everyone knew that, as there is a certain respect for the Area Co-ord in sorting these things out.
Retro v New: Lets just get on with biking, we know the name of the forum but I only have one 'new' MTB and 19 old road bikes. our interests are the same regardless, overall.
Forum: I would finally ask if people perceive this as an Internet Forum or a bonafide bike club. I believe it is the latter, posting on the forum is part of a bigger picture and we should understand this. Most other forums are just a place to type crap into - I thing RB is more than this, hope you all do too.
Very well said! Some excellent points and ideas raised there, which is exactly what was asked for