The UK’s national cyclists’ organisation has had an amazing 12 months, with membership reaching record levels. Nick Fish documents the growth, the campaigns and the benefits to retail...

The CTC reflects on a wheelie good year

In the spring, CTC’s New Vision for Cycling was published. It calls for a doubling of cycle use in ten years and explains how and why this can be achieved. Then the Government’s draft ‘Road Safety Strategy’ backed CTC’s call for a target to halve the risks of cycling within ten years.

In the summer, CTC president Jon Snow launched the ‘Safety in Numbers’ campaign in Parliament, which proves the more people who cycle, the safer it becomes.

One of our major campaigns this year was the launch of ‘Stop SMIDSY’ at the Cycle Show, where you may have seen SMIDSY the lion wandering around. It is a campaign to address the far too common attitude that simply saying: “sorry mate, I didn’t see you” to a cyclist somehow erases an act of bad driving. CTC’s campaign team is calling on all cyclists to log their experiences of bad driving at the Stop SMIDSY website Its overall aim is to encourage more people to cycle, by making it safer.

A major part of CTC’s work is charitable. Our main aim is to get more people to experience the joys and benefits of cycling first-hand. In 2009, we secured around £10 million of funding for a range of new charitable bike projects and we are also working with organisations like the Forestry Commission and Age Concern.

The latest project is Bike Club, which CTC set up, in partnership with charity UK Youth and informal learning experts ContinYou. Using funding from Cycling England, we’ll be helping groups of young people to set up cycling projects. Each Bike Club will be different, ranging from BMXing and off-road riding, to maintenance courses and bike-inspired creative projects. The goal is always for children to not just ride, but to make the most of all the learning opportunities cycling offers. We want to ensure that all young people, including those with disabilities, those from poorer backgrounds and those from all ethnic groups, have the chance to learn from cycling.

Bike Club attracted the attention of supermarket chain Asda, which is donating nearly £1.5 million that has been generated through its Pedal Power fundraising campaign. This funding will enable Bike Club to expand to other UK locations, including projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

CTC is expanding, and has doubled its number of staff in the last two years. It now has 32 cycling development officers in various locations around the UK, who help and support thousands of cyclists. This year’s CTC Cycle Champions programme reached 13,000 new cyclists at 13 different locations, and will help even more next year.

We’re also involved in getting more people to ride to work. Following the success of the CTC Workplace Cycle Challenges in Swindon, Colchester, Darlington, Somerset, Woking and Wolverhampton, we’re expanding our highly effective behavioural change programme to even more areas. The Workplace Challenge results show it is the best way to get non-cyclists to ride to work. Eighty-four per cent of non-cyclists intend to ride more, after taking part in the challenge. Half of the participants cycled to work, with many opting for the first time to take a short cycle ride instead of driving.

Since acquiring mountain bike training company OTC, just over a year ago, CTC MTB sales are up 30 per cent and there is now a range of new courses, including maintenance workshops and skill training lessons.

Since it began over 130 years ago, our organisation has always been a cycling club and in the last year we’ve changed the way we structure our groups. They used to be known as District Associations and were organised by geographical area. Now, if you want to form a new CTC group, all you have to do is find other like-minded cyclists and you can create a cycling club that does what you like.

Over 200 dealers in the UK offer a ten per cent equipment discount to our 63,000 members. If you would like to add your shop to our retailer listing please email Mark Waters:

CTC is getting more and more people on bikes, because it is good for health, the environment and, of course, it is good for the bike trade. So please support CTC and make the UK a better place to cycle.

To get involved please email Nick Fish:

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