Should local groups break away?

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Philip Benstead
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Should local groups break away?

Postby Philip Benstead » 14 Aug 2020, 12:03pm

Given among the general population and particularity those CUK are trying to reach the perception of the average CUK member who take part in CUK activities and local groups may be seen as an elitist or professional cyclist.

A long time ago 1970’s a company report to the CTC Council recommended to get rid of the DA’s

Can member groups and events be compatible with the aim of CUK, would it be best if the riding groups were to become a separate organization where they could organize events and rides to their only liking. Whilst CUK could concentrate on short rides of 5, 10, and 15 miles?
Philip Benstead | Life Member Former CTC Councillor/Trustee
Organizing events and representing cyclist in southeast since 1988
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mattheus
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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby mattheus » 14 Aug 2020, 12:28pm

" Can member groups and events be compatible with the aim of CUK, would it be best if the riding groups were to become a separate organization where they could organize events and rides to their only liking. "

Is anything stopping groups organising such events/rides now?

(BC groups manage well enough.)

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Philip Benstead
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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby Philip Benstead » 14 Aug 2020, 12:31pm

mattheus wrote:" Can member groups and events be compatible with the aim of CUK, would it be best if the riding groups were to become a separate organization where they could organize events and rides to their only liking. "

Is anything stopping groups organising such events/rides now?

(BC groups manage well enough.)

No but does it put potential new members off?
Philip Benstead | Life Member Former CTC Councillor/Trustee
Organizing events and representing cyclist in southeast since 1988
Bikeability Instructor/Mechanic

Tangled Metal
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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby Tangled Metal » 14 Aug 2020, 1:22pm

30 years ago I bought my first road bike with the money earned in a summer job.i was getting more into cycling but also fancied getting back into whitewater kayaking. I got invited to a Friday meet of the local CTC group. A group that IIRC was the first CTC group to be able to issue race certificates or whatever it was called to enable members to race RTTC events without having to join another association. It was a big club and well organised.

Anyway I turned up at the club evening and whilst everyone was sociable I got taken to one side by one long standing member then another and another for a chat. That chat was a whole set of rules and behaviours. It was very unwelcoming and everyone was positively elitist about things IMHO. It totally put me off. For example I got told that I needed mudguards, a few actually told me which ones I had to get, I was ok with the Mudguards. The next item I had to have read was a carradice saddlebag. No choice in that at all. No cheaper alternatives, bear in mind I almost spent up with my bike I couldn't afford everything they specified.

In case you doubt it I can assure you that was the case. They were very elitist and very unwelcoming to people who might be new to cycling. I guess my point is local clubs and groups really need to have a more open attitude to potential new members. It does appear to me that BC is better at this than CUK and the old CTC.

BTW I got heavily into kayaking and really enjoyed it. Everyone was friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed. They had a fixed event, say first Sunday of the month, for beginners. The next Sunday for intermediate paddlers. Everyone knew there was something for them. Inclusivity was integral, that meant kids, adults, beginners and experienced. I think in cycling it feels that isn't the case. The exception I know about was a group developed out of a nearby town's recycling and environmental campaign group. An informal subgroup set up to organise social cycling trips around the area. I joined them and whilst there were CUK members within the group nobody was left behind. They were about cycling and being social. CUK could learn a lot I reckon.

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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby mattheus » 14 Aug 2020, 1:36pm

Philip Benstead wrote:No but does it put potential new members off?

Does what?

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Philip Benstead
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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby Philip Benstead » 14 Aug 2020, 1:40pm

mattheus wrote:Does what?

The long rides and events .
Philip Benstead | Life Member Former CTC Councillor/Trustee
Organizing events and representing cyclist in southeast since 1988
Bikeability Instructor/Mechanic

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Si
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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby Si » 15 Aug 2020, 11:15am

I think that CUK's Community Cycle Clubs do a lot more to get people cycling that the MGs. My experience of MGs is that by and large they are friendly, full of nice people, etc but they do have a couple of draw backs that can put some* newbies off: the _image_ of fit people in lycra on racing bikes, mainly male, white and middle class; and the need to fork out what is a hefty lump of wodge to some people if you want to continue after three rides. Added to this the fact that MGs cater for 'cyclists'...that is, most of their rides are beyond the ability of someone who might have just learnt to ride. This is not me criticising MGs - they do a great job for their target audience - but their dynamic isn't built to encourage all new* cyclists.

CCCs on the other hand, by and large, have lots of people who haven't been riding that long, don't seem to see as much lycra, are much more diverse, do shorter rides, often near city centres, and tend to charge very little or nothing to join. Some CCCs even put on free learn to ride and free use of 'hire' bikes for those that can't ride for these reasons.

A comparison of my local MG and my local CCCs (using my rough estimates):
Shortest weekly ride: MG 20m +, CCC < 6m
Cost to join for waged adult: MG c. £40, CCC £0
Learn to ride available? MG no, CCC yes (well it was before CV19 stopped it)
Free hire bikes available? MG no, CCC yes (before CV19 stopped it)
% female to male: MG largely male 70%+?, CCC 70%? female
% white to BAME: MG c. 90% white, CCC c. 60% BAME
Trained ride leaders? MG some, CCC all
Riders all have 3rd party insurance? MG Yes, CCC No

Thus for someone who can't ride or haven't ridden since they were a kid and has little confidence on the bike or on the road, for someone who knows they aren't that fit, for someone who would be embarrassed in lycra, for someone who might be female or BAME, for someone who has to watch the pennies, etc which of the above are you most likely to choose?

Of course not all CCCs are like my local ones - some look very much like MGs or even racier! Flexibility is another of their advantages.
Then we have AGs, some of which are very like CCCs and some of which are very much like MGs.

Thing is though, all of these are CUK groups - shows that there is a place within CUK for all. Thus if your MG doesn't do what you think it should then it doesn't have to break away from CUK, maybe it just has to change its relationship a bit?


* Obviously there will be lots of newbies who might aspire to the lycra / racer image, or touring and for these the MGs are probably great.

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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby thirdcrank » 15 Aug 2020, 11:54am

I'm always interested in this sort of development. One thing missing there seems to be any info about the number of CCCs there are.

In the interests of finding out I used the cUK "Find Your Local Cycling Group" page searching on "Morley" using the default 20 miles radius.

https://www.cyclinguk.org/groups-listin ... _value=All

CCCs don't seem to be separately listed. We've had various threads over the years about how it can be hard to join a cycling club even if you aspire to mainstream cycle sport. I cannot see how the results of my search help much with CCCs.

One hit was

Girlbikevan Riders North Wales

Girlbikevan Riders North Wales are a Cycling UK affiliated group. Sorry we have no further information yet about this group.


That's accompanied with a map and a pin in the middle of the Penda's Fields housing estate which is in Leeds 15.

https://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups/ ... orth-wales

FWIW, around here at least, it's often assumed that anything labelled "community" is specific to the Moslem community.

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Si
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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby Si » 15 Aug 2020, 12:22pm

I think that on the lists CCCs are included in the AGs as technically they are AGs.

No idea how many there are - I would think not many as they have only been around for a while and tend to be centred on areas of high population and deprivation. In my city there are about 20, they range in form to one lot that are attached to a bikeshop that does community work/BBR, who are 'roadies', to groups based on new riders and returnees who do a couple of short social rides a week, to those that do events, bikeability, bike hire, etc. In other areas where the magical funding has not been available I would think they are very scarce.

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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby thirdcrank » 15 Aug 2020, 1:01pm

I can see that we could all use extra money but why is "magical funding" the issue?

PS On reflection, I can see that providing free bikes wouldn't come cheap, but I presume that's not the only thing needing funding.

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Si
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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby Si » 15 Aug 2020, 2:16pm

The CCC s tend to form from people who don't cycle or cycle very little and wouldn't normally be in a position to start a club as cycling itself can make them nervous let alone starting s club and looking after other people. Many will need to learn to ride or be given the confidence to ride on the road. Most won't even have heard of CUK (or Sustrans, BC etc). Thus we have CUK community cycling officers. They find members of a community who might not be confident cyclists but are great at inspiring people from their own communities to get cycling, the cycling officers give these people the support, training and guidance to get CCCs going, help with publicity, help get cy le training organised, set up ride leader training, etc etc. All the things that are needed to get a successful club going where before there was nothing. But the CUK officers need to me paid for somehow. For instance my local officer was paid for by a combination of dft, bbr and local initiatives, and was supported by the local council cycling dept, and BC did most of the training via me and my team who were paid for via sport England etc.

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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby thirdcrank » 15 Aug 2020, 2:59pm

Si wrote: ... the CUK officers need to me paid for somehow ....


So volunteers are a no-no?

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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby Si » 15 Aug 2020, 5:35pm

Yes and no. I'm sure that CUK would be more than happy to have a volunteer in this role, but it is a full time job so the volunteer would have to be both independently wealthy and exceedingly dedicated. In some ways the role is very much a volunteer coordinator one - enabling volunteers to do their stuff. The role also requires someone with a certain skill set - one that CUK is much more likely to get if they offer money for it!

Of cours sustainability is an issue - if the funding dries up will the CCCs continue? I guess part of the role is to help build CCCs that can continue after the end of funding.....i.e. the officer has to be so good that they put themselves out of a job.

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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby gaz » 15 Aug 2020, 7:36pm

thirdcrank wrote:One hit was
Girlbikevan Riders North Wales

Girlbikevan Riders North Wales are a Cycling UK affiliated group. Sorry we have no further information yet about this group.

Cycling UK provide an 'advertising space' for each affiliated group and Member Group. The content of that space is down to the AG to fill (or not), there may/may not be profanity/spam filters.

Many are as you describe above, some are simple links to an external website, a few have some useful info about the group.

Whilst Cycling UK do not control the content, they do control who appears on the list. There's an AG near to me that I know has not paid subs since 2018, still on the list.
2020 : To redundancy ... and beyond!

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Re: Should local groups break away?

Postby thirdcrank » 15 Aug 2020, 8:09pm

Si was explaining the merits of CCCs in the context of the difficulties of joining a cycling club, but had no info about how many CCCs there were. I searched that page and found none near me.

I'm not the target market so I don't know how potential cyclists judge the info. FWIW, there are two hits with CTC in the name. And as I mentioned, a body with North Wales in the name but a map pin in East Leeds.