Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

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CJ
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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby CJ » 7 Sep 2015, 10:45am

Back to the subject of post: no it is not fair to full CTC members. Having until one year ago been on the inside, I know that the actual cost of providing the few remaining extra services they receive is either very much less than one might suppose (e.g. to produce and distribute each copy of Cycle magazine costs about one fifth of the notional 'price' printed on its cover) or actually contributes to central funds (e.g. CTC Holidays return a significant annual surplus to central funds, after paying full whack for everything they receive from CTC, i.e. advertising in Cycle plus certain accounts dept. services, they are indeed charged so much for these services that their bochure used to be distributed in Cycling Plus instead!).

The way it works is more or less like this:

Affiliates are purely to get the numbers up, perhaps covering their costs, more likely not, in the (vain?) hope that some of them will convert to full membership. It's a class of pseudo membership dreamt up by Kevin Mayne, who was rewarded on a per-member bonus and hence gave all sorts of loss-leader first year free kind of deals, then blamed foot-and-mouth disease when the year was up and many of these bargain hunters quite predictably failed to renew.

Unwaged and Senior probably cover their costs, perhaps make a small contribution.

Full adult individual members are the backbone of CTC. They are the ones who REALLY pay for CTC, who generate the surplus that funds all the important stuff CTC does nationally. National office rewards them for this by taking their goodwill entirely for granted, whilst denigrating the touring that enthuses most of them as a fuddy-duddy 'traditional' thing.

Because the people running CTC overwhelmingly come from cycle racing clubs, plus a few (but NONE of the staff) who have a member group background, they grossly overestimate the role or local clubs and groups within CTC. The overwhelming majority (repeated surveys indicate some 70%) of CTC members are not associated with any formal local cycling club or group, but (presumably) ride alone, or with friends and family. This applies especially to the profitable full-adult members, the proud super-supporters (or unknowing milk-cows) of CTC.

Rather than chasing after the fickle members of racing clubs, who will buy whatever insurance affiliation deal looks cheapest this year: CTC needs to make CTC relevant to the Facebook generation of young cycle-tourists. Believe me there are plenty of them. What with the cost of car insurance for under 25s and the double-whammy of student loans plus housing costs inflated by shortage, it's the only kind of holiday most can afford - even though they're more likely to speak of their adventures as a 'road-trip' or 'expedition' than use the 'T-word'! Both my offspring go touring with their friends, neither and none of whom are members of any club. They're not interested in racing and have plenty of like-minded friends to go on bike rides with, so what do they need a club for? As for third party insurance, they would probably laugh: I have no money - so sue me! So it's hard to think of how to get them thinking CTC is for them, but as far as I have seen, CTC isn't even thinking along those lines and throwing no bread at all upon those waters.

For a long time, CTC's most loyal core supporters have been those who spent the happiest days of their youth cycle-touring, as CTC members, and want to maintain that association, or come back to it in later life when they can afford to indulge such sentiments and when family commitments diminish sufficiently for them to relive their youth. By failing to make itself the place to be for this generation of young cycle-tourists, CTC is sleep-walking into a future of no more cows to milk!

By diminishing its support for cycle-touring as it chases after local clubs, CTC may well be bringing that future even closer!
Chris Juden
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robgul
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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby robgul » 7 Sep 2015, 11:03am

Some interesting stuff in CJ's post ... a couple of thoughts/comments:

Cycle mag ought to be able to be produced on a cost-neutral basis - i.e. the ads pay the costs of editor, print, distribution. It seems that some of the regular advertisers have either gone, or reduced their ad sizes - I'm sure that's not just a "financial pressure" issue but related to the return ... although measurement is variable. ... and of course there was the Thorn/SJS ad debacle a few years ago relating to an honest review of a poduct.

Affiliates - to me the only tangible benefit is the TP insurance - I wonder what CTC is actually paying for that, and whether it's on a defined headcount or a block policy within a range of cohort sizes. There are some admin costs to add but with available technologies they should be pretty minimal.

The general underlying theme of CTC being out of touch with members and the market seems to be pretty accurate from where I'm sitting on my Dawes Galaxy with a Brooks saddle and a Carradice bag on the back :(

Rob

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CJ
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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby CJ » 10 Sep 2015, 2:26pm

robgul wrote:Cycle mag ought to be able to be produced on a cost-neutral basis - i.e. the ads pay the costs of editor, print, distribution. It seems that some of the regular advertisers have either gone...

I think that's expecting a bit too much. Advertising already pays a far higher proportion of the costs of our magazine than was the case in the 80s and 90s. I would argue that whilst it may be rational for an ordinary commercial cycling magazine to become a 'free sheet', thereby placing itself entirely in the pockets of the advertisers, that is not really appropriate for the organ of a body such as CTC, which is supposed to address and represent the needs and concerns of the practical cycle user - and do so without fear or favour.
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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby robgul » 10 Sep 2015, 5:11pm

CJ wrote:
robgul wrote:Cycle mag ought to be able to be produced on a cost-neutral basis - i.e. the ads pay the costs of editor, print, distribution. It seems that some of the regular advertisers have either gone...

I think that's expecting a bit too much. Advertising already pays a far higher proportion of the costs of our magazine than was the case in the 80s and 90s. I would argue that whilst it may be rational for an ordinary commercial cycling magazine to become a 'free sheet', thereby placing itself entirely in the pockets of the advertisers, that is not really appropriate for the organ of a body such as CTC, which is supposed to address and represent the needs and concerns of the practical cycle user - and do so without fear or favour.


... I was coming at it from the point of selling more advertising (ideally at higher cost) - not turning it into a "controlled circulation mag" where the editorial is paid for (and written) directly by the advertisers (although Mr Blance might like that :twisted: ) - printing costs have gone through the floor with new technologies even in the last 15 years - it should be achievable. The quality of the audience, and propensity to purchase, being delivered to the advertiser (i.e. the CTC members) is obviously key . . . but that's another tangent.

Rob

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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby PH » 12 Sep 2015, 1:23pm

CJ wrote:Affiliates are purely to get the numbers up, perhaps covering their costs, more likely not,


I'm quite surprised by this. What are the costs other than the insurance and a small amount of admin?
It would be interesting to know how much the insurance costs, maybe it is the whole £18, in which case there's no hope of ever getting Gift Aid on the membership fee. But I doubt it is, up until a few years ago I had 3rd party insurance included in a union membership, which covered cycling and just about anything else, plus a legal helpline which I found far better than the CTC one. Judging from my subs the insurance couldn't have been costing the union very much.
As for third party insurance, they would probably laugh: I have no money - so sue me!

Hasn't this always been the attitude of the young to insurance?
But it's just a few quid and pretty straightforward to sue someone for up to £10,000 in the small claims court. If I'd suffered any loss more than a couple of hundred quid and the person was employed, I would indeed sue them and expect to reclaim it.

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Si
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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby Si » 12 Sep 2015, 4:06pm

I think that the thing about getting the numbers up also applied to affiliate groups at one time but things have moved on now. Getting affiliate groups on board has given the CTC a group of sub-organisations that are a lot more dynamic than the old MGs/sections, etc.

For instance, the CTC presence around here was a MG. This MG offered day-touring rides at a number of distances/grades for those who were already OK on a bike and were CTC members, it did an audax, a jumble and had a social side too - all great stuff that suited the membership of the MG wonderfully, and is well run but a group of dedicated volunteers.

However, now that the CTC has affiliates in the area too it can offer adult and child learn to ride classes, basic maintenance classes, led rides for complete beginners, more sporty rides, rides for minority groups, etc......all free to the general public to take part in.

Thus it's not surprising that the CTC is starting to value affiliate groups more and to wants to do more stuff for them.

Of course, being a member of an affiliate group doesn't translate into being an affiliate member of the CTC. However, the one can play off the other and so numbers can get bumped up as a side effect of stuff that is really beneficial to cycling generally.

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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby PH » 12 Sep 2015, 4:17pm

Si wrote:However, now that the CTC has affiliates in the area too it can offer adult and child learn to ride classes, basic maintenance classes, led rides for complete beginners, more sporty rides, rides for minority groups, etc......all free to the general public to take part in.


Yet the NO doesn't allow MGs to do that, other than wanting to hold on to the cash cows CJ talks about I see no reason why not.

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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby PH » 12 Sep 2015, 4:23pm

Si wrote:Of course, being a member of an affiliate group doesn't translate into being an affiliate member of the CTC.

That would depend on the affiliated club, some insist on third party insurance, CTC membership being an option, and at least one other I know of insists on CTC membership.

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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby gaz » 12 Sep 2015, 4:34pm

Si wrote:However, now that the CTC has affiliates in the area too it can offer adult and child learn to ride classes, basic maintenance classes, led rides for complete beginners, more sporty rides, rides for minority groups, etc......all free to the general public to take part in.


Except of course that it is not the CTC offering those things, it's non-CTC groups that happen to have chosen to affiliate to CTC.
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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby Si » 12 Sep 2015, 5:02pm

gaz wrote:
Si wrote:However, now that the CTC has affiliates in the area too it can offer adult and child learn to ride classes, basic maintenance classes, led rides for complete beginners, more sporty rides, rides for minority groups, etc......all free to the general public to take part in.


Except of course that it is not the CTC offering those things, it's non-CTC groups that happen to have chosen to affiliate to CTC.


But they are CTC affiliated groups, supported by the CTC. Without the support that at least one of these groups in my area gets from the CTC it wouldn't go on.

The CTC has plans to offer greater support to affiliate groups in the future.

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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby gaz » 12 Sep 2015, 5:40pm

Si wrote:The CTC has plans to offer greater support to affiliate groups in the future.

I'm quite happy for CTC to give more support to affiliated groups. I'd even expect that the Charitable Objects would allow CTC to support the activities of groups that aren't affiliates.

I'm not happy to stretch the interpretation of the CTC supporting the activities of its affiliates to a point that those activities are considered to be CTC activities.
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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby Ron » 13 Sep 2015, 12:16pm

For CTC members whose main reason for membership is participation in events organised and run by local MGs the transfer of MGs to affiliated groups would appear to be a "good thing", but what about non-participants in local events?
I'm unable to trace the results of the CTC member survey carried out in 2013 but seem to recall that few members actually participated in MG events but a high percentage of CTC members retained membership in order to support campaigning work nationally and locally. Is the transfer from full to affiliated membership likely to reduce CTC campaigning effort?

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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby PH » 13 Sep 2015, 4:17pm

I understand that individual affiliated membership is about to go up from £18 to £24, maybe it was at a loss and they want to increase the cash cows. OTOH how much is it from BC?

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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby Psamathe » 13 Sep 2015, 4:22pm

PH wrote:I understand that individual affiliated membership is about to go up from £18 to £24, maybe it was at a loss and they want to increase the cash cows. OTOH how much is it from BC?

And looked at in the light of the current inflation rate ... not impressive.

Ian

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Re: Is this correct and fair to CTC members !

Postby gaz » 13 Sep 2015, 6:39pm

Si has said that National Office are looking to offer more support to affiliates.

Doesn't seem unreasonable that some of the cost of increased services should be borne by the affiliated members and affiliated clubs.
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