What is CUK now?

Bez
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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby Bez » 11 Apr 2016, 1:04pm

honesty wrote:It's not the touring club you joined, so what is it?


I joined something like 10 years ago, I think. I joined because of the legal benefits and as a way of funding the campaigning: at the time I saw it as an organisation promoting cycling in general, and that hasn't changed. I'm not a "club" kind of person, never have been. To my mind, the rebrand is simply an evolution, albeit an extremely visible and therefore contentious one.

When was it truly just a touring club? (Genuine question driven by genuine curiosity.)

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby PH » 11 Apr 2016, 1:13pm

Bez wrote:When was it truly just a touring club? (Genuine question driven by genuine curiosity.)


I don't know if it's ever been just a touring club, there's examples of it campaigning right from the start.
It was Kevin Mayne's project to open it up and turn it into an organisation for all non competitive cyclists. Whatever people think of that it was at least a lot more open than the present changes.
http://www.cyclinguk.org/file/public/ct ... -mayne.pdf

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby admin » 11 Apr 2016, 2:32pm

Bez wrote:When was it truly just a touring club? (Genuine question driven by genuine curiosity.)


It was very much just a touring club back when I joined in 1984. In those days the CTC sent out route sheets, country information sheets, and details of byway networks, on A5 sheets of paper if you sent them an SAE in the post.

There was occasional campaigning work done since the late 1880s, but I don't think there wasn't the same focus on campaigning: cycle tourists were happy pedalling along roads which didn't have much traffic.

As time went on, more and more of us felt that we needed to campaign for better road conditions, and the "Right to Ride Network" put local campaigners on an official basis from 1998.

The magazine name has changed over the years to reflect the club's focus:

many decades ago: CTC Gazette
from at least May 1983: Cycletouring
from December 1988: Cycle Touring and Campaigning
from December 1991: CT&C with a sub-title of Cycle Touring and Campaigning
from December 1996: Cycle with a sub-title of Touring and Campaigning
from February 2003: Cycle (no sub-title)

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby admin » 11 Apr 2016, 2:50pm

I've just had a look through Cycletouring from the 1980's, and campaigning doesn't really appear much. There is brief mention of cycle helmets (some things never change!) and an article on the new compulsory seatbelt law in August/September 1985, but only from the point of view of interest in the change's effect on cyclists.

There is sign of CTC campaigning at a high level in February/March 1986, where consultation on a Road Traffic Law Review was taking place. CTC were pushing for compensation in the case of a road crash, something like the "presumed liability" laws common in Europe that some people are still pushing for.

In June/July 1986 there is mention of the "Cyclists' Rights Network" and a National Rights Conference to "revitalise the expanding network". A certain John Grimshaw "of Railway Path Project fame" was due to sum up proceedings before lunch.

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby Bez » 11 Apr 2016, 2:53pm

So would it be fair to say that people's issue is not so much about the shift from "clubbing" towards campaigning, but more about a shift from campaigning about the issues that enthusiasts perceive from their participation within the status quo towards campaigning to turn that status quo into something where not only the enthusiasts feel able to cycle?

It seems that CTC campaigning has been done for at least a couple of decades, has grown for at least a couple of decades, and has evolved for at least a couple of decades; but it seems that it's only now—particularly with the rebranding making it blindingly obvious—that members have realised it's already evolved into campaigning that includes rather more viewpoints than that of the hardy enthusiast?

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby Bicycler » 11 Apr 2016, 3:25pm

No, I don't think that's a fair summary. I haven't seen any evidence that the focus of campaigns is a big part of the current controversy. It seems to be the fashionable stance of the urban cycle campaigner to paint CTC members as out of touch oldies selfishly doing their best to hold back the British non-cycling public from cycling through their desire to maintain enthusiasts' right to ride on the roads. It's a stereotype which - if it ever had elements of truth - is decades out of date.

Members' objections to the current direction of the CTC are various, but the primary issue at the moment is the loss of a valued identity. There are those that accept the broad charitable remit, but object to what they see as an unwarranted change of name. Others agree in principle to a change in the name, but disapprove of the way in which the rebranding process has been conducted. For still others the rebrand is the most recent objectionable event in the shifting of emphasis from a club which has always campaigned to a charity which exists to campaign. It would be a mistake to view this objection as having arisen suddenly out of thin air. These opinions have been raised at various points over the years, most notably during the charity debate which was hugely contentious at the time.
Last edited by Bicycler on 11 Apr 2016, 3:36pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby Mick F » 11 Apr 2016, 3:35pm

Bicycler.
Nicely put.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby mjr » 11 Apr 2016, 6:22pm

Bicycler wrote:It seems to be the fashionable stance of the urban cycle campaigner to paint CTC members as out of touch oldies selfishly doing their best to hold back the British non-cycling public from cycling through their desire to maintain enthusiasts' right to ride on the roads. It's a stereotype which - if it ever had elements of truth - is decades out of date.

I don't think it's fair to blame any CTC's current problems on "the urban cycle campaigner" whoever that is (John Grimshaw?).

And I'd say that that stereotype is a decreasing minority but sadly, as recently as two years ago, it was still present but muzzled.
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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby AndyK » 12 Apr 2016, 12:14am

Bicycler wrote:For still others the rebrand is the most recent objectionable event in the shifting of emphasis from a club which has always campaigned to a charity which exists to campaign. It would be a mistake to view this objection as having arisen suddenly out of thin air. These opinions have been raised at various points over the years, most notably during the charity debate which was hugely contentious at the time.

I wouldn't mind so much if I thought the charity existed to campaign. I think the opposite is true: it is becoming yet another grant-seeking charity-business, its capacity to campaign for real change fatally undermined by its increasing reliance on government funds.

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby Bicycler » 12 Apr 2016, 1:13am

mjr wrote:I don't think it's fair to blame any CTC's current problems on "the urban cycle campaigner" whoever that is

I wasn't blaming any of the CTC's problems on cycle campaigners. I just tire of the way that the CTC gets bashed for its history of representing road riding cycling enthusiasts (ie. much of its traditional membership) as if it were something to be ashamed of.

Obviously the current aims are much wider and, in fulfilling those aims the CTC's campaigning has to be wider too. But we can't just write off all criticism of the CTC's new aim and recent direction as reactionary selfishness like a previous poster seemed to be doing. The old fuddy-duddy CTC man seems a convenient stereotype to drag out to dismiss out of hand those who object to the current change.

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby PaulB » 12 Apr 2016, 6:39pm

Copied from an entry about the latest CTC magazine on another thread.

I've been having a clear out of old magazines and general "stuff" and came across two copies of Cycletouring from the 1970s.

The October/November 1977 edition had a black and white photo on the cover of three touring cyclists near Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria. The whole magazine was printed in black and white and there was no 'in your face' graphics that assault the senses these days. The August 1978 edition had a colour painting on the cover and marked the 100th birthday issue and looked back at the history of the club.

They appear dated now but were full of reading including looking to the future; ....it was agreed that (i) the major part of the Club's resources should continue to be allocated to the promotion of cycletouring; (ii) qualified members be encouraged to undertake the leadership and organization of more group tours, particularly for young or inexperienced cyclists....


The magazine reflected the views and workings of a club, not a commercial charity trying to change the world at its members expense. It is little wonder that, given recent events and a major change in the ethos of what was the Cyclists' Touring Club, that this forum is full of very aggrieved and disappointed people.

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby NickM » 25 May 2016, 8:23am

If the emphasis of what-used-to-be-the-CTC is campaigning, then it isn't achieving much. The thing that makes cycling in continental Europe so pleasurable and safe is the strict liability which requires motorists to treat more vulnerable road users with care. That is by far the most needed change in Britain. As far as I am aware, no campaign to achieve it is in place or even on the horizon.

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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby Paulatic » 25 May 2016, 10:53am

We have a campaign for Presumed Liability here in Scotland
http://www.roadshare.co.uk
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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby Philip Benstead » 25 May 2016, 11:25am

Please note the following received , I think there is confusion here regarding the name of the organisations?


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To: Philip Benstead
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Re: What is CUK now?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 25 May 2016, 12:08pm

From my perspective little has changed in practice. I joined CTC in 1985 or '6, for rather random reasons (prompted by the LBS where I'd recently bought my first ever brand new bike!) and read the magazine with interest but never joined any rides. As a teenager I found the idea of riding 80 or 100 miles – those were common daily distances – with a bunch of unknown people all much older than me rather off-putting. I did ride with a local club but that was much more local in start points and the distances were lower. I then let my membership lapse and rejoined a couple of times as my interest in cycling waxed and waned and I moved around the world, finally* rejoining about four years ago. This time I actually started riding with a local group (they're still mostly older then me).

I voted against the charity conversion and I think the rebranding has been cocked up, but neither are disasters. I'm in favour of making the organisation (whatever form it takes) a more effective campaigning force but not at the cost of the riding -- and there's no sign of it impinging on the riding. Though I'm far from convinced the charity conversion has made it a more effective campaigning organisation either. Membership is getting pricey -- that's the only negative I notice, really.

Someone mentioned letters in the magazine in the '80s? I remember one around 1987 about nuclear weapons! I can't remember how they managed to to link it to cycling, but they did somehow -- and predictably the publication of this letter raised lots of ire against Cycletouring, as it was then. I mention this just to say that letters can be somewhat eclectic.

*Finally so far!