As we approach the final few weeks of the year I have summarised some of the activity at National Office and more locally to help us reflect on progress and future work. I think it has been a successful year and we have started to see some important outcomes for cycling from the new management team.
Following the member group survey into how CTC could best support groups, groups are being offered the opportunity to attend a single day ride leader course. The course covers route planning, insurance, data protection, how to lead a ride, running events, safeguarding and incident management. All participants take away a professional 60-page course manual for future reference. The first pilot events were held in Guildford and Blackpool with ~ 50 participants on the 20th September. These went very well with great feedback from participants, and 30+ courses will follow across the UK. See: http://www.ctc.org.uk/news/20150901-free-1-day-ride-leader-course-ctc-members
The CTC media team has grown since last year. The team now comprises, David Murray, Head of Communications and Campaigns, Victoria Hazeal, Senior Communications Officer and Tony Upfold, Communications and Media Officer. The team are available to support local groups with advice on how to build effective media relations and write press releases and can be contacted on 01483 238 315 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of our campaigns successes with the ability to make a big impact this year has been that the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy which reached the statute book earlier this year, through the Infrastructure Act. This legislation creates an obligation on government and local authorities to make clear their cycling infrastructure spending plans in the same way that they do for roads investment.
The Trails for Wales campaign took up the opportunity in Wales to support the Welsh Assembly Government’s proposal to widen off-road cycling access across the public rights of way network. The campaign saw over 4,000 people send in letters of support to the formal government consultation, which is the highest volume of responses that the Welsh Assembly has ever received for any formal consultation.
Our Zero Stars for Eurostar campaign working alongside the ECF (European Cyclists Federation) started on 14 October. It is in response to Eurostar’s plans to force cyclists to breakdown and box-up their bikes to carry them on their train services, at a cost of £30. In the first 24 hours we received the support of 6,000 people, who wrote to Eurostar’s CEO asking that he rescind this decision before it was planned to come into force on 1 November 2015. I am delighted to say that this combined effort achieved its aims with news last Friday of the backdown of Eurostar, A huge well done to Roger, the media team and all involved.
Elections in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: ‘Vote Bike’ and ‘We Walk, We Cycle We Vote’
Following the success of Vote Bike in the run-up to the UK General election earlier this year, we are in discussions about how to mobilise the ‘cycling vote’ for the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish elections in May 2016. However we will need to develop different “policy calls” for each of the three devolved countries for voters to ask their candidates to support.
The policy-calls for Vote Bike in Wales are likely to be (a) the funding needed to implement the Active Travel (Wales) Act and (b) implementing the Trails for Wales proposals. Likewise in Northern Ireland, the call is likely to be for the funds needed to deliver the very promising Bicycle Strategy for Northern Ireland, launched in August by former Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy AM.
In Scotland, CTC’s New Cycling Development Officer in Scotland, Suzanne Forup is leading on a campaign for a jointly agreed walking and cycling manifesto, under the banner ‘We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote’, collaborating closely with Pedal on Parliament. This will greatly strengthen CTC’s campaigning visibility and credibility in Scotland.
During the Spring half term holidays, we launched our Big Bike Revival campaign, aimed at people who own bikes but have not ridden them for a year or more. By joining forces with 90 bike recycling centres across England, Halfords and Raleigh, we ran over 1,600 events in a two week period, encouraging over 30,000 people to take part and fixing over 24,000 bikes. The campaign also reached over 3 million people online with our message to fall back in love with cycling. We hope to repeat this campaign every year with Department for Transport funding.
CTC is working with branding agency, Campfire, to review our brand. Member groups, partners and a sample of CTC members have been surveyed as part of the research phase. The aim of the review is to develop a brand and associated materials in order to provide CTC with a strong proposition for existing and prospective members and supporters. We aim to have rolled out the refreshed brand ahead of the 2016 cycling season, with a view to launching in April/May 2016.
Based on feedback we received at our 2014 AGM, we saw the value of running various workshops that cover the breadth of our work, as an engagement tool with our members. On 10 October, we hosted our first annual Members’ conference at the University of Warwick. We were joined by Joe Saxton, a leading light in the voluntary sector, and Mark Colbourne, the London 2012 gold medal-winning Paralympic cyclist, to share ideas and best practice on effective campaigning, group and events promotion and cycling development. Feedback from the conference has been really positive and so we aim to run these events annually.
I am delighted that Jean Lakin from our Leicestershire and Rutland Member Group achieve 'highly commended' in the annual awards. Jean works relentlessly to support cycling in the group, across Leicestershire and the East Midlands. She steadfastly provides catering, often single handedly and volunteers to help with the many events that take place. Where would we be without Jean, a well deserved award.
In addition to this Andy Townsend from our Lincolnshire Member Group was nominated for and awarded a certificate of merit for his sustained and successful work on behalf of the county. Andy working with Rodney Jelfs has successfully made the council halt plans for a bypass in order to make better provision for cycle crossings as well as being a pivotal in getting new members and current members to cycle in the area. He launched a womens ride earlier this year, enticing a really great ambassador of cycling Melanie Carroll to take a lead role following her work with Breeze (BC). Finally I couldn’t miss the significant success when achieved when Andy managed to get the CTC exhibiting in the castle grounds at Lincoln for the National Championships which took part in the summer during a festival of cycling over the whole weekend. It was great to see the CTC in the centre of things and I was very proud to support Tim Newberry and Andy at the event. So for Andy a more than deserved this award.
My Election as Vice-President of ECF (European Cyclists Federation)
I was absolutely delighted at the beginning of the summer to be voted in against stiff competition from many other countries. I intend to link my work with CTC and ECF to maximize campaigning and supporting better, more and safer cycling for all.
Mince Pie Run
So my final words are to keep safe during these short days and long nights and decreasing temperatures and if you want to join hundreds of other cyclists - The annual Mince Pie Run is on the 20th December when cyclists from near and far assemble at Belton Village Hall 10.30-12.30am. Most will arrive by bike and be rewarded by a hot drink and mince pie.
East Midlands Regional Councillor and Trustee