...what the strategy is??

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
neilob
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...what the strategy is??

Postby neilob » 26 May 2009, 3:09pm

I'm curious what others think about CTC's strategy. I know I risk controversy and scorn by raising this but here goes......it seems to me that the overall strategy is at odds with what I see as the 'wants' of mainstream membership (at least of those I know!). Just two short examples of my concern....although CTC is moving in the direction of being a self-appointed cycling organisation representing all bike users, is it leaving behind traditional members that just want it to be the touring club we all know and love? And I haven't met many members seriously interested in mountain biking and off-roading, yet CTC now owns a training company offering these services. What statistics supported this move and how many CTC members have used it? The simple question (and I want to be convinced, not critical of genuine hard work by comitted people) is whether the big opportunity of being cycling's champion is diverting attention from the real needs of the bulk of the memebrship. I guess that reading the mag the last few issues prompted me to ask the question.....I just don't see widespread interest in load luggers, offroad trails, Pashley Princess bikes. What I do see is members interested in touring bikes, new routes, holidays, equipment, interviews. Please don't think of this thread as an attack on anyone, it's just a gauging of opinion at grass roots levels.
Using a car to take an adult on a three mile journey is the same as using an atomic bomb to kill a canary.

Romeo Whisky
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby Romeo Whisky » 26 May 2009, 4:25pm

The fact that CTC is trying to promote a voice for utility cyclists is an important reason for my membership. Campaign groups have started up in smaller geographic areas but, whether we want the mantle or not, people will always want to meet national representative bodies. I don't see any other national representative body for non-competetive cycling, so it is right that CTC steps up to the mark.

Most members will not fall into one "class" alone. eg, I would say that I engage in utility riding on my daily commute (taking my bike on the train too), occassional tours, leisure rides with the family and doing the odd triathlon. I don't want to be a member of four diferent organisation. I don't do much off raoding, but one day I will. Cyclists have far more in common than they have differences. I think CTC should try to embrace all non competetive aspects of cycling activity.

glueman
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby glueman » 26 May 2009, 4:27pm

Agreed Neilob. Cyclists need a national lobbying, pressure group and legal body which I'd pay money to join. I wouldn't mind being a member of a cycletouring organisation either, which is my main interest. The CTC does the first very well indeed but muddles through with the second IMO.

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Si
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby Si » 26 May 2009, 4:30pm

is it leaving behind traditional members that just want it to be the touring club we all know and love?


In what way do you think that this is manifesting itself - what would you have the club do differently for the 'traditional' members? I asked a similar question a while back: "what should the club be doing differently to support the DAs?" and didn't really get many answers back.

And I haven't met many members seriously interested in mountain biking and off-roading,

I have. Our Section/Member Group has just started up an MTB section and we are getting riders to it that haven't ridden with us before as well as some very traditional riders who I'd always assumed were dyed in the wool roadie/tourists.

I think that we are also getting a good number of new members who started of MTBing but now have taken up road biking, although they still think of themselves as MTBers - I've a number of friends like this. the fact that the CTC is moving and shaking in MTB circles makes it more accessible to them and removes the unwanted and incorrect, but not uncommon, image of crusty old roadies that aren't interested in sharing with the next generation.

As or strategy, I'm thinking that the recent blurb that I got through, the safety in numbers campaign, will benefit all road going cyclists.

Of course the CTC is never going to please everyone as cycling is a broad church, but getting constructive feedback ought to help in shaping future policy (I'd hope).

workhard

Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby workhard » 26 May 2009, 5:21pm

I'm a utility cyclist who commutes, I'm an occassional DA rider, I'm a fledgling randonneur who enjoys long rides for fun, I'm a tourist who does a spot for cc touring of a w/e but who doesn't like camping, I'm an off-roader and get my kicks from XC MTB'ing, etc., etc.. People, including many cyclists, are generally multi facetted and so is the CTC.

I'm happy with the CTC's attempt to become the de facto umbrella organisation for all non-competitive cycling in the UK. To me 'touring' is a state of mind not a specific activity

glueman
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby glueman » 26 May 2009, 6:10pm

I differ in believing cycle touring is a separate activity from commuting or racing. It can be long or short, loaded or light, round the world or to the outskirts of town but is an activity purely for pleasure. It might embrace photography, natural history, folklore or collecting mileposts but is defined by sheer indulgence, not practicality.
The fear is that exquisite pointlessness is being swamped by lobbying, statistics, reach out and noble goals that overlook the delight of riding a bike for no reason but pleasure.

rogerzilla
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby rogerzilla » 26 May 2009, 6:43pm

Didn;t the CTC absorb what was left of British Mountain Biking (or whatever it was called) after the 1990s boom?

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gaz
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby gaz » 26 May 2009, 8:33pm

neilob wrote:...mainstream membership ...traditional members...


Who would they be?

My own CTC membership dates back about 22 years and for much of it I've played an active part in my local DA. My recollection is that only about 10% of the DA's membership played any regular part in the DA's activities. I suspect that figure is falling.

Thinking back about 15 years or so, outside of newcomers to my own section I rarely asked if other cyclists were already members or not. As section secretary I did scan through the membership lists and could possibly account for 20-30% of the names amongst those I knew as riding with other sections or clubs. It left a huge number of members whose riding habits were unaccounted for and, frankly, put CTC DA riding into perspective as a fringe activity of the membership as a whole.

glueman
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby glueman » 26 May 2009, 8:55pm

Gaz you may be conflating touring with DA riding, i.e. organised club rides. The fact people don't ride with the local CTC group doesn't mean they have no interest in pleasure riding, and so must be utility riders, just that some (the majority?) don't, or think they don't, want to be told where to go and when.
When I've toured in the UK or talked to Brits aroad, even to hard-core dedicated cycle campers few were CTC members and a substantial number had never heard of the CTC.

neilob
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby neilob » 27 May 2009, 9:43am

Interesting responses so far, thanks. Let me emphasise why I raised the issue - I can definetely see the need for a national umbrella organisation that represents the views of cycling and cyclists, and covers strategy, policy, safety, and also acts as the body that polices standards on our behalf. I can also see the need for a 'club' that is focused on cycle touring (and most of us know what that means....). I'm just not sure they should be the same body. I'm ready to be persauded otherwise, but I imagine that the majority of the active membership joins CTC because they want to ride socially - either in a group or solo. I'm curious about the demographics of membership, but I suspect the majority of us ride 'classic' touring bikes, wear cycling clothing, have many years pursuing the hobby, have some racing experience, and an average age north of 40. I'm not saying that's a healthy (forgive the pun) distribution, just that it MAY be fact. Yet when I read the magazine (assuming it reflects CTC policy and priority interests) I see pages devoted to campaigning, off-road trails, MTB champions and not a lot about real touring. Yes I want safer roads, and while I don't ride trails or own an MTB I have nothing against either. And I can't see myself wanting to ride a sit-up and beg bike dressed in a suit. So summarising the question from my perspective; was CTC sucked into a vacuum caused by a lack of cyclists body and pressure group, or was it deliberate policy to shift away from what many see as its traditional heartland? For the avoidance of doubt, just in case anyone is wondering, I love the CTC, I am proud to be a member and I'm just trying to provoke debate.
Using a car to take an adult on a three mile journey is the same as using an atomic bomb to kill a canary.

glueman
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby glueman » 27 May 2009, 10:24am

neilob wrote:I suspect the majority of us ride 'classic' touring bikes, wear cycling clothing, have many years pursuing the hobby, have some racing experience, and an average age north of 40. I'm not saying that's a healthy (forgive the pun) distribution, just that it MAY be fact.

Not sure you're correct any more. The CTC have obviously done their research and found the traditional picture you paint is very much a declining market and expansion is in the urban-utility sector. I've no problem with that, they are correct but I don't think touring in the way I've outlined above is getting much focus anymore.
They talk about cycletouring meaning different things these days all of which is true but leisure and pleasure cycling isn't getting a very imaginative treatment, or certainly the concentration a dedicated, modern, forward looking and dare one say sexy body might give it. There's a subtext that touring is a bit old-hat that I see none of in the approach of Rivendell and other US organisations who've managed to keep pace with people's aspirations while seeing the thing through new eyes.

I honestly believe cycletouring in all its manifestations is very much a thing of the future and deserves to be seen as such.

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Si
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby Si » 27 May 2009, 10:54am

Hmmmm, seems that although there are those that do agree that trad members are being sold short to some extent, no one has actually managed to answer my question in any detail:

what would you have the club do differently for the 'traditional' members?


Fair enough, people have pointed out things in Cycle mag that they feel do not have anything to do with what cycling is to them, but what would you replace them with? And how would you change CTC strategy?

glueman
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby glueman » 27 May 2009, 11:09am

Si wrote:Hmmmm, seems that although there are those that do agree that trad members are being sold short to some extent, no one has actually managed to answer my question in any detail:

what would you have the club do differently for the 'traditional' members?




Frankly I'd hire someone with nous who was familiar with both the wider european and US take on cycletouring and dedicate a section of the magazine to bringing the UK in line. As that's unlikley to happen in the present climate of campaigning and utility rider's needs I see a breakaway group being more likely, sadly.
I'm sure there are individuals within CTC who know what to do and how it should be done but they're restricted by the resources available to them.

workhard

Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby workhard » 27 May 2009, 12:08pm

I'm an adventure cyclist (member of that US organisation) too, though I've only ever MTB'ed in the States and never ridden any significant distances on the road! But their magazine is great.

I think there is a strong streak of individualistic conservatism, and a degree of snobbery that exists within the cycletouring "community" which is highly off putting to those outside the clique. It gives rise to a reactive inverted snobbery of which I have been guilty in the past. IME this just does not appear to exist amongst European or American touristas where you seem more likely to be judged on your personality than on the type of bike you ride and where what matters is that "you are on your bike" not "what sort of bike you are on" They seem to have a very different mindset to hardcore tourists from the UK.

Cycletouring, when looked at in the round, or from the standpoint of Joe and Jane Hatchback is a pretty eccentric and minority activity in these islands, as is non-urban commuting. But the growth of package cycle touring holidays suggests that Joe and Jane have an appetite to go touring provided the weather is warm, the food good, and sag wagon takes their bags. To purists this is branded cheating!

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NUKe
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Re: ...what the strategy is??

Postby NUKe » 27 May 2009, 12:24pm

As Simon has pointed out what do want to see in Cycling? Let the production team know. I actually think they do a real good job of covering different types of cycling. Some of my favourite articles recently have been the more off beat stuff. I found the article on the cargo bike quite refreshing. The articles on the British industry have been excellent. I would love to see an article on recumbents, probably been done in the past But not in the last 3 years, an idiots guide would be great.. The slow cycling movement is a curious one admittedly and its the sort of thing that won't interest a dyed in the wool tourist, but might just get a non cyclists into the idea of commuting, so perhaps the right article in the wrong magazine, however there are those amongst the CTC ranks who might use the argument I can't cycle commute as I have wear a suit. The membership is wide and varied and I think the magazine does a good job of covering wide bases.

CTC strategy is formed by its membership not its magazine. If your not happy take an active part to steer it in your direction. All member can vote, propose amendments to the strategy.
NUKe
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