Monday, 27 January 2014

Update from National Council January 2014

This is my regular update and follows an Away Day In November and the first Council of the year a couple of weekends ago.
Council matters remained busy through to the end of the year. Our policy work has been very successful and our staff have built good links with the new Minister for Transport Robert Goodwill and his team. All political parties seem to support increased cycling, better infrastructure and safer roads. CTC will want to see these promises delivered and good consultation and quality implementation where new schemes are agreed. The Road Justice campaign has highlighted the way courts fail to take injuries and deaths of cyclists sufficiently seriously in sentencing and banning drivers who cause collisions. Next year both prosecution and sentencing guidelines are up for review and we will be lobbying hard on this.
Council has had to take a very close look at our 2013-4 budget because of increased insurance costs and the decline in external income as some major funded projects come to an end. Although we have recruited many new members and the new “in- house” membership team is working well we also lose members each year. We need to grow if we want to achieve more for cycling and have a sustainable organisation.
A constant theme at Council was how do we attract new generations of cyclists from diverse backgrounds to join us at CTC – to ride, tour, campaign and develop new traditions that will sustain cycling into the future. A working group was established to oversee the work of Forster Communications who have been carrying out systematic research on the CTC brand. This work has included desk based research, interviews, a brand workshop, focus groups, used qualitative research through an online survey completed by over 7000 members and further detailed research from a further 63 members/potential members. Forster have successfully engaged with as wide an audience as possible of cyclists and potential cyclists. The working group has used Skype to meet regularly and carefully monitor progress and the results of the research were discussed at Council meeting on 18th January. There is currently a period of reflection.
Team CTC was very successful in 2013 but we have not been able as yet to secure ongoing sponsors for the team in 2014.
A highlight of the Council Awayday in November was a talk by Isabelle Clement of Wheels for Well Being. This is a small London charity concerned with inclusive cycling and using adapted bikes and hand cycles to enable people who cannot (or who can no longer) ride conventional two wheelers to enjoy cycling. Council wants to see CTC attracting a wider range of cyclists including younger people, urban commuters and campaigners, members of minority communities and those who would like to ride more often or explore further but are put off by the speed and volume of traffic and safety concerns.
CTC Member Group AGMs
I managed to attend three of the AGMs, one being the East Midlands CTC AGM last Saturday. It was good to see John Allen looking and feeling so well and back in his seat as Chair. I was joined by Paul, my partner, and there was some reminiscing with John and Keith on the Leicestershire patch.
My Own Rides
Well it was a good year. In September I joined an event jointly organized by Sustrans and Skedaddle to do the Coast and Castles Challenge from Newcastle to Edinburgh. A stunning ride indeed with a great group including some CTC members. In November I went to Lanzarote to Club La Santa – this time for a very indulgent 3 weeks. I rode most days –and occasionally had to walk the bike up the tough bits.
I haven’t managed to keep on my wheels in December and January. I was tempted to join Terry’s ride in Nottinghamshire last weekend but worried it may be a little fast. . . although I was heartened when another member mentioned on Saturday, with some humour, that it might not be good to drop your national councilor on a ride. . . .

and finally...
Don’t forget you can join almost 21,500 others and follow all CTC developments immediately as they happen by following our twitter feed @CTC_Cyclists. You can also follow me on @lowe1_jaki to see my views and exploits on cycling but you will also see what I say about my day job in human resources!

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Jaki Lowe
East Midlands Regional Councillor