Sunday, 21 May 2017
Today I attended the Meriden Cycling Memorial service. It was a beautiful day and a most beautiful and poignant service. I felt honoured to be there and cherishing the memories of cyclists involvement in conflict. It was also a time to remember a personal loss last year with the passing of my father. This year we had a heartrending reading from a survivor of the Falklands War. He shared his tragic story and his story of bravery and how since his return cycling has been core to his mental health and wellbeing.
There was however a notable absence of a wreath from Cycling UK and I wanted to set out my disappointment that this was the case. In the end it turned out to be a very genuine mix up but I was hugely disappointed so wanted to explain. In previous years the wreath was ordered locally and national office invoiced.You will be aware that Dave Hearn has very graciously picked up the organisation role - last year at short notice and hereon after the death of the long standing organiser. It is a very significant role organising this event and it didn't transpire until late yesterday that this had been the arrangement and that therefore we would be without a wreath.
This is not to pass blame because actually I feel strongly that there is a really important role for national office in supporting this event. I will be putting discussing the options for support at the next board so please feel free to contact me if you have ideas of your own.
Next years event is in my diary already and I assure you there will be a wreath at this event as I will make sure of it. Indeed I have decided I will stay for the weekend and pick up some cycle routes I travelled many years ago.
It looks like the weather is turning for the better which is good news for Beaumanor so have a great time there or wherever you are cycling next weekend.
Vice-Chair Cycling UK
Sunday, 7 May 2017
Life continues to be very busy in my role as a Trustee, by now you will be aware that in January I was elected as Vice Chair supporting our new Chair, Dan Howard. For those of you who don't know Dan, he is a life long cyclist with a young family and rides one of the longest adapted bikes I am sure to transit all 4! We have very much enjoyed our partnership so far, we have great respect and pride for our organisation, members and groups and we also have a good combination of skills serving us well.
I have not been on my bike much over the winter but have quite a few rides planned again now, including rides with the Lincoln Women’s Group, led by the fabulous Melanie Carroll. I also rode with and supported a community womens group in Bradford last weekend following directly the wheels of the Tour De Yorkshire for just a few miles to Saltaire. It was really inspirational to join this diverse group, some of whom have been riding together regularly under the guidance of ride leader Mumtaz Khan and others who rode a bike for the first time in years.
I will be at the Meriden Service on the 21st May and hope to see some of you there. We also have the AGM in London on Saturday.
The last few weeks has been exceptional as Cycling UK increases its impact in line with our objectives. Spring really has sprung and we are gearing up for a busy summer of cycling.
Policy, campaigning, marketing and cycling delivery have all been increasing apace across the whole organisation. To cope with the growth in funding to deliver our plans, Operations has been at full stretch, running a large recruitment drive with 14 new staff joined or joining us over the quarter.
Big Bike Revivial
We have received £1m from DfT for Big Bike Revival and our work with them continues to be impressive.
We have been working in partnership with Living Streets and Sustrans and we are being viewed increasingly as an active travel consortium and are making DfT and other potential stakeholders aware of how we can work with them. We are currently involved in helping co-ordinate the LCWIP process following several meetings with DfT.
You may have seen that we supported West Midlands Police’s highly successful close passing education initiative for drivers. Our objective was to fundraise to give a close pass mat to every force in the country. Thanks to Sam Jones and colleagues, we made a Kickstarter video appealing for the £12,000 we needed. The sum was raised in less than two days with wide media coverage.
Our Community Clubs programme continues to develop across England and Scotland. Despite increasing our targets for 2016-17 the team is delivering some amazing results; supporting 42 existing clubs while developing 47 new ones. Across Scotland 81 groups were identified and supported as part of BBR, of which over 40 community groups have been developed and affiliated to Cycling UK over the winter months.
Highlighting one of the new regions for the Community Clubs programme in 2016; BBR funding was matched with health funding in Birmingham.
Our preschool partnership project that exceeded its target to reach 7000 children across Glasgow aims to continue working with families across the city with funding from Glasgow City Council. We are awaiting feedback on our ambitious proposal to roll out Play on Pedals across Scotland; the People’s Post Code Lottery have recently completed an audit of the Glasgow project. An article, co-authored by Professor Chris Oliver, about the programme will be published on the British Journal of Sports Medicine blog shortly.
We have had some in-depth and challenging discussions about how we achieve our ambitions on membership at the board which is crucial as this is the core of our legacy organisation but also means we are sustainable in the longer term. Matt Malinder has developed detailed plans and we are keeping a very close eye on how these develops as well as putting our support to him and the team.
Dan Howard our new chair and I have discussed the need to improve our own communications with the membership and we will be using every opportunity to do this. If you have any suggestions please let me know.
Our Challenge Rides Series 2017 has 16 rides confirmed, webpage created. Logo designed and medals, certificates and event kits are available to support events. The Series has now been officially launched and we have some great events in there from our East Midlands Groups.
The Women’s Festival of Cycling launched on 8 March. It was publicised in BikeBiz and also had offer of support from Casquette magazine. We are encouraging groups and officers to add as many as possible on www.cyclinguk.org/womensfestivalofcycling .
Bike Week 2017 will take place 10-18th June (Parliamentary Bike Ride 7th June). The 2017 theme will be based around ‘fun, freedom and friends’ and will form part of the Big Bike Revival summer programme. Halfords are a corporate partner along with Immediate media.
Julie Rand has surveyed all group publicity content page (on the Cycling UK website) and contacted all groups regarding their publicity pages to ask if they can add photos and other information. Many have done so. If you have not already done so you may want to contact Julie to review. Informal groups will also be added to the listings so they can take charge of their own publicity pages too and also register events.
Our new Cycling UK clothing range will be available soon, which will be sold through the commerce function of our new website. The range will include:
Cycling UK Jersey
Cycling UK Shell Jacket
Cycling UK Cycling Cap
Cycling UK Casual T-shirts
Cyclists’ Touring Club Wool Jersey
Cycling UK Car Window Stickers
We had great success on our campaign fighting the Governments plans to raise the minimum value of a road crash injury before its victim can claim injury compensation, from £1,000 to £5,000. Cycling UK mobilised 6,000 responses to the consultation, arguing that this would disproportionately affect cyclists’ and pedestrians’ claims, even though whiplash claims by these groups are virtually unheard-of.3.2 Marketing materials.
That’s all for now, we are entering the best months to be on our bikes. Enjoy.
Saturday, 22 April 2017
Sunday, 30 October 2016
This year has been a key year in our history with the change of trading name to Cycling UK and at a time when cycling is getting more and more popular. The name change has been contentious with everyone holding strongly held opinions one way or another. The change has meant that we can hold onto our traditional logos and names where we prefer with the new name being used to help brand communications and reach out to government, to our partners and to the public. Some groups have held on to their names and some have changed and some have done a bit of both. Of course a new brand takes some time to bed in but we have had a very positive response in the main and I feel we are starting to see the effect in some great work for the groups, campaigners and projects.
Many groups continue to thrive and grow, whilst others remain strong and stable in the face of increasing competition from other cycling groups and we have seen more diverse member club activity and types of riding. Again this is our general experience and I know in particular one of my groups has seen a decline.
We’ve provided ride leader training to all to assist in bringing more resource to groups and we are looking changes to the Policy Handbook to make it easier for groups to join Cycling UK. We’re developing and revising all our other policies and guidance to make them simpler to understand and easier to access, alongside the groups’ promotional area of the website, which should include a listing of all informal groups in the future.
Here are some of our headlines:
- · Gift Aid now eligible on memberships
- · Monthly direct debit now live- join for just £3.59 pm
- · New membership marketing materials available for groups
- · We have seen a slight decline in our numbers this year however we have recently taken the decision to invest more money into Matt Malinder’s team and we will be hoping to see that bear its fruits over the next few months. We have just commissioned and had report a review of volunteering and I may be able to share more of that soon, however, it really was exciting to see the possibilities we have that we currently do not take advantage of.
- · Over groups 1,000 ride leaders trained in last 12 months
- · Review of the insurance guidance policy handbook to look to extend the number of rides a non-member can go on to encourage eventual sign up
- · Successful Tri-vets series on which we are looking to build other events series – Challenge rides, Belles on Bikes women’s initiatives in 2017 and 2018
- · Built a new highly enthused and active professional communications team, which has enabled us to raise the profile of our charity in the media and to the cycling public.
- · Significantly improved on our ability to measure, monitor and report on the impact of our charity’s work.
- · Gathered intelligence through Vote Bike helping us to identify candidates’ views on cycling as they stood for Welsh Assembly and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, with the help of over 5,000 emails.
- · Persuaded London Mayor Sadiq Khan to adopt our proposed policy to phase out unsafe lorries on London’s roads, and convinced HS2 Ltd to call on bidders for HS2 construction work to show their commitment to safe lorries.
- · Convinced the Ministry of Justice to review road traffic offences and sentences, and particularly the distinction between “careless” and “dangerous” driving.
- · Helped Eurostar to change its mind on cycle carriage, so that you don’t have to break down and box-up your bike for travel, through over 10,000 emails, and lots of national press coverage (including top trending story on BBC online).
- · Obtained 10,000 responses to our survey of off-road cyclists’ experiences, and mobilised clear public support (over 4,000 responses to the consultation) for the Welsh Government’s plans for increased countryside access.
- · Refreshed Our Space for Cycling campaign with new guides published, and campaigners roadshows organised.
- · Transport Scotland agreed to pilot Big Bike Revival in 2016. We had an amazing launch in Stirling attended by Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and our celebrity ambassador, Michelle McManus, who has been inspired by the campaign so much she has purchased and started to use a second hand bike around Glasgow
- · Our Cycling Development staff team reached a peak of 27 people in 2016 focused on delivering The Big Bike Revival and developing our network of Community Cycle Clubs across England and Scotland. Reaching 50,000+ beneficiaries and many of them from within deprived communities.
- · We have gained an additional 3 awards this year for The Big Bike Revival to add to the list:
o Chartered Institute of Marketing – Best Third Sector Campaign
o Northern Digital Marketing Award – Best Public Sector Campaign
o Smarter Travel Award – Best Marketing Campaign
o Guardian Sustainable Business Awards – Runner Up
o Cycle Planning Awards – Best Behaviour Change Campaign
- · We are investing in our IT team and associated infrastructure to improve our web presence so that members, prospective members and beneficiaries are informed and inspired by Cycling UK to enjoy cycling
- · We have explored how we support our volunteers and created a new strategy to improve the way we recruit, train, develop and encourage volunteering to increase the impact of our charity and make volunteering with us more convenient and fun
· We have reviewed the governance structure and processes and the changes are in the process of being implemented. We have made moves to strengthen the operation of the board and to create a greater focus on the role of the Trustee. These changes should mean the board is better equipped to lead the direction and good running of the organisation and for the Trustees to hold the executive to account. One of those changes is the move to elected Trustees on a skills and experience based approach. With the growing capability to support member groups from national office we no longer require a regional representation role. I will however continue to attend East Midlands meetings where I can, firstly because I value those of you I work closely with and I appreciate knowing about what is happening in my area, albeit that is sometimes a bit of a challenge.