With new contributors - Specialized, Kinetics, Mission, Silverfish, Promech and the Aylesbury Training Group - and a cross-factional steering group, the Bike Hub levy scheme is kicking into action. BA president Phillip Darnton has now compiled the first Bike Hub newsletter...

BA releases first Bike Hub info update

And here it is in its full, unedited glory…


Bike Hub is the scheme which is jointly funded by the Bicycle Association, the Association of Cycle Traders, as well as independent contributors. In all, some 30 cycle and parts/accessory companies, and hundreds of independent cycle dealers are generating funds to promote the future success of cycling in the UK. The aim is to raise £350,000 p.a.

‘Bike Hub’ has attracted several new contributors since its launch in October last year. These include: Specialized, Kinetics, Mission, Silverfish, Promech, and the Aylesbury Training Group.

The recent spate of statistics on the level of obesity in the UK – especially among young people, illustrates that the relevance of cycling has never been greater. To be healthy, children require at least 1 hour’s exercise a day. Without having to go to a sports centre or a gym – or even be very “sporty” – children can get the best of both worlds on their bikes. They can have fun and keep fit at the same time.

‘Bike Hub’ is funding a scheme – initially in 40 schools – to help provide everything necessary to make cycling to school safe and easy. The scheme starts in April 2004, and the preparations are well under way, as indicated below:

The Schools – 4 Local Authorities have been selected, where there is both enthusiasm and financial backing for the idea. These are:

Bristol/South Gloucestershire : Manchester : York/Darlington : East Midlands.

The 40 individual participating schools will be announced in the next two weeks. A small test is also being planned in Glasgow, with the support of the Scottish Executive and Cycling Scotland.

The Co-ordinators – ‘Bike Hub’ will fund 4 professional Co-ordinators, each to

manage activity in 10 schools. The teams will be organised and run by Paul Osborne, the Sustrans schools programme director. Over 300 responses to the advertising for these posts have been received, and selection interviews will take place early in March, prior to induction training.

Cycling Training Standards – there is no National Standard for the skills required for children to ride safely on the road. Many local authorities have their own version of the old “Cycling Proficiency”, but practices do vary.

Instrastructure – the first priority is to ensure that every participating school is equipped with secure cycle parking, and wherever possible, traffic calming schemes in the vicinity of the school. Safe routes to school and cycle routes will be part of the Co-ordinators’ job to resource, so that schools have both the “hardware” and the human support to make cycling to school a real option.

FACT – 48% of children (age 9-11) say that they would like to cycle to school, but only 2-3% do so.

FACT – Most primary schoolchildren live less than 2 miles from school.

FACT – 20% of all car journeys are of 2 miles or less.

The initial pilot scheme will be rolled out nationally from 2005, and within 3 years, there will be over 2,500 schools participating. ‘Bike Hub’ will not be able to fund the £2 million running costs for a national team; this will require a national commercial sponsor and substantial Government support.

The Department of Transport are backing ‘Bike Hub’ with over £500,000 to the end of 2004, as well as funding training initiatives, and a major marketing programme. This ranges from promotional support for Local Cycling Officers to materials for teachers, governors, parents and children. The London communications agency, Circus, has been retained to do this.

The ‘Bike Hub’ fund will be overseen by a small committee representing the various participating groups. They are:

* Mark Bickerton (Cyclemotion)

* John Kawecki (Giant)

* Gordon Fisher (Fishers)

* Dominic Langan (Madison)

* Carlton Reid (BikeBiz.com)

* Richard Hemington (Specialized)

* Mark Brown (ACT)

* Mark Walmsley (ACT)

* Dafferns (Auditor)

And chaired by Phillip Darnton on behalf of the NCSB.

Their role will be to ensure that the Fund is administered efficiently and properly, and in due course to consider new investment opportunities in support of the future of cycling.

The DfT is also funding the establishment of a Web Portal for Cycling, to provide rapid access to all the principal cycling websites. The proposed format will be reviewed at the end of February; the portal should be ‘live; early in April. Details of the site structure and name will be announced soon, and ‘Bike Hub’ will fund an ‘editor’ function, to ensure that the portal is updated very regularly.

Further updates on the progress of ‘Bike Hub’ will be given at:

MARCH 17 – Cycle Forum for England (in London)

APRIL 28 – Bicycle Association Meeting (Coventry). meeting is open to non-members

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