Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Ron
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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Ron » 29 Dec 2015, 12:29am

Philip Benstead wrote: what is the ctc doing you do not like
It is anglo centric and failing to acknowledge that powers have been devolved from Westminster whilst still claiming to be a UK wide organisation.

pwa
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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby pwa » 29 Dec 2015, 9:39am

Tangled Metal wrote:Psamathe posted about joining organizations for other disciplines and mentioned kayaking. I used to be a member of BCU the national body for all kayaking disciplines. Whether competing in slalom, whitewater, sprint, etc. Or sea kayaking, freestyle, canoe polo, touring open canoe, kayak, marathon, etc. They are all represented by one, all encompassing national body. Within that there are national bodies such as the Scottish canoe association, wca and IIRC an English body set up within the BCU.

IMHO I'd say cycling could benefit from something similar because I think it works for kayak and canoe disciplines (of which there's many).

What is it about cycling that means it isn't suitable for.one national representative body able to speak across many matters for its members? I can't think of anything that makes cycling.uniquely unsuitable for one national body.


That's a good question and for me the short answer is that you are right, and there is a place for one body to represent all UK cycling. But there is also a place for what the CTC used to be and no longer is. I would consider being a member of both, but it is the latter I would warm to most. At the moment I feel that Audax UK more closely resembles what I want from a club. They are led by volunteers and organise rides that people do for fun, or for a personal challenge. I want that, but without the need to get to checkpoints before a cut-off time.

The other stuff that CTC do is laudable and useful, and I would happily donate to it as I do to other charities that I support. But just as I don't want to be a member of Oxfam, I don't particularly want to be a member of CTC. It is not really a club (or does not feel like it) and it is not focused on touring / leisure cycling. It is not what I want from a club.

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Psamathe » 29 Dec 2015, 9:43am

TonyR wrote:
Psamathe wrote:I actually was not complaining. Just answering a question another poster raised. Could have answered by PM, but then the forum becomes less useful if people answer publicly posted questions by PM, etc.


viewtopic.php?f=45&t=102481&start=30#p966446. ?

A statement about what I did and what I would do, not a complaint.

However, I think people are more interested in discussing the need for a new CTC than your mis-interpretation of other people's posts (which is getting very tiresome).

Ian

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Vorpal » 29 Dec 2015, 10:12am

I am no longer a member of the CTC. I expect that if I still lived in the UK, I would still be a member. My reasons for joining, though had nothing to do with the 'club', as I was also the member of an independent local club, BC, and at least one other cycling organisation. I joined for the cycle campaigning. I joined because I was *already* commenting on local planning applications, writing to the local authority and county council to request changes, etc. A fellow campaginer, suggested I join for the RtR network. I'm glad I did, and think that if I lived there, I would still benefit. I also knew several people who, like me were involved in a number of aspects of cycling, and belonged to several organisations. Most of them joined CTC for the campaigning.

I don't agree with everything the CTC is doing these days, but I do think that there is far more to it than what we see. The network of allies in campaigning, the negotiations that gain a little bit here & a little bit there, etc.

I don't like putting cyclists into categories, or suggesting that different types of cyclists need different clubs. Yes, cyclists who do different kinds of cycling may have different needs, but almost all of us do more than one type of cycling, if not today, then over the years. Commuting, touring, carrying or accompanying children, leisure cycling, etc.

Sporting cyclists do need BC which is part of the UCI organisations that oversee competition. Oversight for competition is important, and I understand the blurring of the lines that has occurred in recent years between BC and the CTC. But it comes down in the end to the fact that we are all cyclists. The opinions about what are good cycling conditions and whether we need special infrastructure is probably as varied amongst any 'type' of cyclists as it is between 'types'. We all benefit from more cyclists on the roads and we will never agree about how to accomplish that.

Yes, there is somewhat less emphasis in the CTC on cycle touring than there once was. If you don't like it, change it. Run for council, write to the national office, organise tours for your MG, whatever you feel makes the best improvement.

But it doesn't need a new club. It doesn't need further dividing cyclists when we already struggle to overcome disagreement about so many things. If you don't care about campaigning, or commuting, or club runs, don't do them. But don't think they have nothing to do with you.

We are all cyclists.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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Philip Benstead
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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Philip Benstead » 29 Dec 2015, 10:38am

Ron wrote:
Philip Benstead wrote: what is the ctc doing you do not like
It is anglo centric and failing to acknowledge that powers have been devolved from Westminster whilst still claiming to be a UK wide organisation.



Please explain and expand with examples of what you mean.
Philip Benstead | Life Member Former CTC Councillor/Trustee
Organizing events and representing cyclist in southeast since 1988
Bikeability Instructor/Mechanic

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 29 Dec 2015, 11:28am

Vorpal wrote:But it doesn't need a new club. It doesn't need further dividing cyclists when we already struggle to overcome disagreement about so many things. If you don't care about campaigning, or commuting, or club runs, don't do them. But don't think they have nothing to do with you.

We are all cyclists.


I'm not so sure. (By which I genuinely mean "I'm not sure", rather than a euphemism for "I definitely disagree"!)

For many years my full-time job was writing for inland waterways magazines, and indeed I still freelance. The situation there was analogous in that you have a "national governing body" for all boating, the RYA, and also an industry group for all boating, the British Marine Federation. There are also several inland-specific organisations, notably the Inland Waterways Association.

The relevance of the RYA to canal boating was and is tenuous at best. In some cases I believe it has actually caused harm: blethering on about "our sport" during the campaign to retain reduced-tax (red) diesel, I think, tarred everyone with the offshore twin-engined brush, whereas many narrowboat owners either live on their boats or are fairly low-income people for whom it's their sole leisure activity. Similarly the BMF devotes most of its time, and income, to activities that have no relevance to the inland boating industry (e.g. promoting exports - but no-one outside Britain buys narrowboats) or have repeatedly failed it (notably the London Boat Show).

Technically we are all boaters. But the gap between me on my little narrowboat and the guy on his multimillion-pound Sunseeker is so vast that it really is just a technicality, and I don't want Government to be formulating inland waterways policy for the guy on his Sunseeker.

I could be convinced - though like I say, I'm not sure either way - that the same holds true for cycling. I don't have anything in common with sport cycling. A velodrome is no more relevant to me than a Sunseeker yacht. Indeed, I sometimes find that others' sport cycling actively hinders my utility and leisure cycling, in that people haring along in their attempt to get a personal best, or train for an event, or whatever, inevitably leads for calls for all cyclists - including me - to be banned from towpaths or other shared resources.

Yet my cycling does have a lot in common with pedestrians' groups such as Living Streets, who campaign for streets to be less car-dominated. That's one of the reasons I volunteer for Sustrans, whose work is not exclusively cycling-focused. The bike is a weapon but it's not the only one.

What does this mean for CTC? I couldn't tell you. I don't have any easy answers, I'm afraid! But I don't necessarily believe that "cycling" is the one thing that unites us all, or that different definitions aren't possible.
Last edited by Richard Fairhurst on 29 Dec 2015, 11:31am, edited 1 time in total.
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Si
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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Si » 29 Dec 2015, 11:30am

Bmblbzzz wrote:I see your point about competing for the same money and how that is self-destructive in the longer term. However, from the cyclist's point of view (as opposed to the cyclists' point of view, IYSWIM) I don't think Sustrans can be considered a cycling body comparable to CTC and BC. It offers places you can ride, not actual riding.


Sustrans certainly does offer riding. Quite a bit of sustrans is now focussed on rides of varying sorts. In my area these have been in the form of beginners' rides, work place/commuting rides, bottom end trad day touring rides, and rides/activities for schools/kids. Most of the rides happen in the city rather than out in the countryside, so somewhat different to the CTC rides. Likewise, they tend to be aimed at getting people cycling rather than for people who are already cyclists. CTC focuses on riding for fun, Sustrans focuses on riding for utility, health and fun. Sustrans also puts on various adult learn to ride classes locally. CTC does this sort of, but only because we because an Affiliate Group for the insurance. CTC, of course, covers many more areas than sustrans as its volunteers are pretty autonomous.

BC also puts on the various types of sky ride, and is looking to start a new scheme that falls between bikeability and gentle led rides, to teach and encourage people to ride in a structured but more fun way than traditional bikeability.

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 29 Dec 2015, 12:00pm

I didn't know they did that. In fact, I've just had a (admittedly quick) look on their website and the only regular rides I found were in Penzance and St Neots. Apart from that I only saw what I would describe as events: one-off rides. http://www.sustrans.org.uk/events is where I looked but I dare say there are more.

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby TonyR » 29 Dec 2015, 12:16pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:Technically we are all boaters. But the gap between me on my little narrowboat and the guy on his multimillion-pound Sunseeker is so vast that it really is just a technicality, and I don't want Government to be formulating inland waterways policy for the guy on his Sunseeker.


It depends on what you are wanting to do. If it's a club to arrange events then probably they are better apart because you are never going to turn up for Cowes Week to race your narrow boat and Ellen McArthur is not going to bring her cat to race on your canal.

But if you want to influence Government and other external bodies you are probably better off as one organisation no matter now disparate the chapters might be. There's two main reasons for that. First Government and others that don't understand those subtleties want a one stop shop they can talk to rather than think about what part of boating they are dealing with and who might need to be consulted as the representative of that part.

The other is that Government will be thinking about the effect on the whole, not just the subset and will prefer to talk to one organisation that can help them understand all aspects, not several competing groups pushing their individual agendas. So when considering what fuel duty measures they might introduce for narrow boat owners they will want to know what other boating groups use or could use the same fuel, whether they should be included in the benefit or not and whether they could take advantage of the scheme if they were not intended beneficiaries. So in your example they will want to make sure that the Sunseeker owner can't exploit a narrow boat exemption or claim discrimination and to understand how and if a big inland cruiser differs from a big sea cruiser.

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Ron » 29 Dec 2015, 12:44pm

Philip Benstead wrote:Please explain and expand with examples of what you mean.
here are some examples.
The Big Bike Revival publicised as a national event but later proved to be England only.
We are urged to write to our MPs regarding cycle issues, failing to acknowledge that transport is a devolved issue and letters should be sent to MSPs.
Perusal of National Council meeting minutes, I see no expressions of concern that Scotland has not been represented at a meeting of Council by an elected councillor since October of 2013.
When the Space for Cycling campaign was introduced there was a reference to efforts to be made before "the election", with no reference to which elections. There were no elections in Scotland.
Cycle Mag Oct/Nov 2015 Page 7 references to "the Government" and "get Britain cycling" and BBR, but the Westminster government can have no objectives to get Britain cycling because cycling is transport, and transport is a devolved issue.
News Item "Bikeability boosted "dated 22/12/15 on CTC website. Another England only item but not described as such with the CEO referring to " the cycling revolution in the UK'
News Item on CTC website "Government letting unsafe drivers off the hook" dated 22/12/15. Although not stated, I strongly suspect from the terminology used that this is an England only item. Are we to assume CTC believes Scottish drivers are not also getting off the hook?

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby beardy » 30 Dec 2015, 11:54am

pwa wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:Psamathe posted about joining organizations for other disciplines and mentioned kayaking. I used to be a member of BCU the national body for all kayaking disciplines. Whether competing in slalom, whitewater, sprint, etc. Or sea kayaking, freestyle, canoe polo, touring open canoe, kayak, marathon, etc. They are all represented by one, all encompassing national body. Within that there are national bodies such as the Scottish canoe association, wca and IIRC an English body set up within the BCU.

IMHO I'd say cycling could benefit from something similar because I think it works for kayak and canoe disciplines (of which there's many).

What is it about cycling that means it isn't suitable for.one national representative body able to speak across many matters for its members? I can't think of anything that makes cycling.uniquely unsuitable for one national body.


That's a good question and for me the short answer is that you are right, and there is a place for one body to represent all UK cycling. But there is also a place for what the CTC used to be and no longer is. I would consider being a member of both, but it is the latter I would warm to most. At the moment I feel that Audax UK more closely resembles what I want from a club. They are led by volunteers and organise rides that people do for fun, or for a personal challenge. I want that, but without the need to get to checkpoints before a cut-off time.

The other stuff that CTC do is laudable and useful, and I would happily donate to it as I do to other charities that I support. But just as I don't want to be a member of Oxfam, I don't particularly want to be a member of CTC. It is not really a club (or does not feel like it) and it is not focused on touring / leisure cycling. It is not what I want from a club.


The CTC national body isnt, the local groups are though. A bit of a pot luck depending on your geography (less so than Audax UK though!) but there are generally local rides of that nature available.
Local being 25 miles away in your case.
There are areas of the country that are very well served in this respect by their local groups (or rather serve themselves through their local groups). Look at Bristol CTC as an example.
Rather than a new national group being needed, cyclists can set up more local groups like that, the "Fridays" etc. What is lacking is grass roots cyclists to organise and ride these events. In rural areas the population density is just too low to get things off the ground.

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby pwa » 31 Dec 2015, 2:35pm

Beardy, I agree with what you say about local groups. When I joined CTC I expected to have a magic key to rides, only to find that there was little or nothing in my area. I could drive to Cardiff, only to have the joy of a ride starting in a city centre (yuck!) and often heading out towards my home before going back into the city (yuck again!). There was a small group in nearby LLantwit Major but that seems to have fizzled out, and their rides used to be too laid back even for me.

Perhaps when I retire I may think of starting up something that appeals to me and see if it appeals to others too. It would give me a project.

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby mountainman531 » 26 Feb 2016, 10:34pm

AUK is closer to the traditional aims of the Cyclist's Touring Club than "CTC", whatever that means, is.
They have well organised and attended rides, offer free 3rd party insurance and have a magazine which is more akin to "Cycletouring" than the present "Cycle" is.
Of course their longer rides are a bit further than most would consider to be touring.
I am not an AUK member, just making an observation of the present state of play.

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 27 Feb 2016, 9:38am

I am an AUK member and while they do appeal to many of the same people as the CTC and even have a historic link, I do not think its aims are the traditional (however defined) ones of the CTC. AUK is all about one specific type of riding and it's not touring as generally understood. It's structure is also very different, not having local groups. The only overlap I can see is that many people who enjoy touring or general leisure riding also enjoy audaxes.

It might be worth mentioning here that in bygone days the CTC ran time trials; perhaps CTT (Cycling Time Trials) is close to the traditional aims of the CTC?

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Re: Do we need a new Cyclists' Touring Club?

Postby gaz » 27 Feb 2016, 11:17am

Five years ago there were some who thought we needed a Cyclists Association.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...