Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Discussion of the re-branding of CTC as Cycling UK.
Richard Fairhurst
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Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 8 Apr 2016, 3:22pm

I've largely held off on pontificating about the refresh because opinions are like... well, everyone has one, and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks.

And besides: I can see that "CTC" was an obscure and perhaps offputting name for a national cycling charity; that cycling is booming and deserves a campaigning organisation with national scope and ambition to match, and branding is part of that; and so on. Cycling UK isn't a bad name. I absolutely see, and to a large extent agree with, the rationale behind the rebrand, and very much wish the organisation good luck.

But it's clear that two constituencies who in many ways were the mainstay of CTC, the "Saturday ride" constituency (aka member groups) and the touring constituency, feel disenfranchised by the change.

I don't know anything about member groups or club cycling and wouldn't seek to pronounce on them. But I do think this furore is a great opportunity for Cycling UK to reaffirm its commitment to touring.

Touring is on the way back up after a decade in the shadow of sportives, and I'd argue it's broader-based than before. There are new buzzwords like "bikepacking" and "gravel-grinders", and hipster (but rather lovely) touring concepts like "coffeeneuring" and "S24O"s. People have started talking of "adventure bikes". Companies like Genesis/Ridgeback are churning out bikes ideal for people who want to tour. Every month seems to see a new "how I rode the world" book. There's a Cycle Touring Festival. Websites like Pannier and *cough* my own little project are springing up.

Cycling UK could, and should, be at the heart of this.

One of CTC's biggest strengths was the knowledge of its members - as this wonderful forum demonstrates time after time. People here will give you a better answer on UK (and often European) cycle touring than anywhere else on the internet.

So I'd suggest that Cycling UK set up a member/volunteer-run touring initiative, to promote and support touring/adventure cycling/expedition cycling/call-it-what-you-want. Rather than letting people think (rightly or wrongly) "We are Cycling UK, we're no longer about touring", shout loud that "We are Cycling UK: touring is one of the most fun ways to get on your bike, and here's how to do it".

I've seen this work well elsewhere. The Canal & River Trust (ex-British Waterways) has a long tradition of volunteer-run advisory groups on special interests: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/about-us ... ory-groups . It turns out that this approach can suck in really talented volunteers, donating their time and experience for free.

It needn't take much financial or staff commitment on the part of Cycling UK. The project should aim to act as a multiplier: combining volunteer effort, cooperation with other groups (such as Eurovelo, Adventure Cycling in the US, and Sustrans' long-distance routes), and Cycling UK's experience and reputation to produce something much greater than the sum of its parts.

Touring is enormous fun, and the Cyclists' Touring Club of 133 years should be the best-placed organisation to champion it. There's a real opportunity here.
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Whimwham7
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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby Whimwham7 » 8 Apr 2016, 4:09pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:But it's clear that two constituencies who in many ways were the mainstay of CTC, the "Saturday ride" constituency (aka member groups) and the touring constituency, feel disenfranchised by the change.

I don't know anything about member groups or club cycling and wouldn't seek to pronounce on them. But I do think this furore is a great opportunity for Cycling UK to reaffirm its commitment to touring.

Cycling UK could, and should, be at the heart of this.

One of CTC's biggest strengths was the knowledge of its members - as this wonderful forum demonstrates time after time. People here will give you a better answer on UK (and often European) cycle touring than anywhere else on the internet.

Rather than letting people think (rightly or wrongly) "We are Cycling UK, we're no longer about touring", shout loud that "We are Cycling UK: touring is one of the most fun ways to get on your bike, and here's how to do it".

Touring is enormous fun, and the Cyclists' Touring Club of 133 years should be the best-placed organisation to champion it. There's a real opportunity here.


At last, a positive suggestion for a way forward, leaving all the politics and back-biting behind.

Firstly my apology, Richard, for taking some of your post "out of full context", but I believe these paragraphs are the key to resolving the current problem.

The new title, logo and slogan all point to the campaigning side of the activities. There is no headline connection to cycle touring. The Chair and CEO have stated that the name CTC and the winged wheel logo will survive, but no mention has been made as to HOW this will happen.

Emphasis needs to be added to the home page of the website, to the magazine cover and to all communication material (letter-heading, e-mail headers etc.) that CTC is an integral part of the new brand and that cycle touring is an integral part of cycling in the UK (and elsewhere). The public and official bodies, as well as existing members, need to SEE the continuity. A good start would be to re-introduce the winged wheel and CTC name alongside the new logo.

As to how the new body (I hesitate to call it an organisation or a club, I don't think it fits either description at present) goes about championing cycle touring is something that Council and CEO need to address immediately.

W

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honesty
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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby honesty » 8 Apr 2016, 4:16pm

I worked at BT during the period of creation and subsequent spinning out of O2. Companies creat and manage subsiduary brands all the time, either spinning them out or retaining them under an umbrella corp. The process seems to be to be something that could be used here (though maybe not go as far as to create 2 completely separate entities). It is my hope the C.UK is used as the umbrella organisation with all the charity/campaigning sections and the CTC is revived as a connected national club under which touring is dealt with. You can see some pointers to this maybe being the way forward as CTC Holidays still exist. If this is the case then I would be very happy with the outcome. If this was the plan from the start the message and change could have been managed so much better though!

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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby Paulatic » 8 Apr 2016, 4:32pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:
Touring is enormous fun, and the Cyclists' Touring Club of 133 years should be the best-placed organisation to champion it. There's a real opportunity here.


I don't know who is right but Paul Tuohy claims 138 years
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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby admin » 8 Apr 2016, 4:39pm

The Bicycle Touring Club was founded on 5 August 1878 in Harrogate. So the club will be 138 years old on 5 August 2016.

By 1883 tricycles had become so popular with tourists that, by a postal vote of the BTC members, it was decided to change the title to the Cyclists' Touring Club. So "CTC" has been the club name for 133 years.

The "winged wheel" badge was introduced in 1886, so the winged wheel logo is 130 years old.

[Source: "Winged Wheel", William Oakley, CTC, 1977, ISBN 0 902237 10 1]

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Mick F
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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby Mick F » 8 Apr 2016, 4:40pm

Whimwham7 wrote:Emphasis needs to be added to the home page of the website, to the magazine cover and to all communication material (letter-heading, e-mail headers etc.) that CTC is an integral part of the new brand and that cycle touring is an integral part of cycling in the UK (and elsewhere). The public and official bodies, as well as existing members, need to SEE the continuity. A good start would be to re-introduce the winged wheel and CTC name alongside the new logo.
Yep.
Absolutely right.
+1
:D
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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby Psamathe » 8 Apr 2016, 4:48pm

I'd have thought if they were going to do anything along those lines it would have already been done (as part of the rebranding process). Organisations cannot keep re-organising all the time. The re-brand is a big sep so to then start adding bits "'cos they got it wrong" would be a loss of face and yet more reorganisation.

I think it is a good idea though for me there are more (and probably bigger) problems within the CTC than the re-brand. I suspect the better prospect is for another organisation to take over the touring aspect (e.g. Robgul's Touring Cyclists Club).

If the CTC were genuinely committed to the touring (and that is more leisure rides, incl day rides, etc.) then I'd have expected the CTC to split into two divisions CUK - campaigning body and CTC - touring organisation. That would also give them a structure for further "expansion" e.g. introducing a mountain biking section, etc. They effectively did the CUK bit but ignored the touring bit.

Ian

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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby mullinsm » 8 Apr 2016, 6:06pm

It is, indeed, refreshing to see such positive ideas for the future of the organisation put forward. However, I would maintain that the correct time to air these views and have them considered would have been before any firm decision on rebranding had been taken. The fact that they weren't would tend to suggest an arrogance on the part of the decision makers and a distain for the membership that I for one find objectionable. Either that or they're so stupid that it never occurred to them to ask us or that some people might be alienated by their actions. Either way, I'm not sure they deserve our support going forward.

I love cycling and especially cycle touring. I was happy to subscribe to be a member of a club which represented cycle tourists and I wore my CTC jersey with pride. I didn't get much back in terms of things I actually needed. The much vaunted insurance is duplicated by my home cover and holiday insurance, the magazine was no more than a good 15 minutes read once you had stripped out all the adverts and flyers and the scant touring specific info on the website was often so out of date as to be useless, but it was nice to be part of a tradition. Now that's been swept away, I don't feel much inclined to continue my relationship as I already give to charities far more deserving than this.

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 8 Apr 2016, 6:30pm

Absolutely: I'd agree that such a commitment should have been made at the time of the rebrand ("and to show that touring is still very much in our DNA, we're launching our new touring initiative..."). But better late than never, perhaps? I live in hope...
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Karen Sutton
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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby Karen Sutton » 8 Apr 2016, 11:09pm

I've got an idea, why not run the Club alongside the charity with the Cyclists' Touring Club being the Touring arm of the National Cycling Charity?

What's that you say, we tried that one? Maybe not for long enough.

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Re: Touring in Cycling UK - a modest proposal

Postby steady eddy » 9 Apr 2016, 6:53pm

If CTC remains the charity umbrella- as appears to be the case then surely cycling uk is a wholly owned subsidiary of CTC to use business speak - but it seems to be presented the other way round. As I posted elsewhere on the forum the answer is surely "Cycling uk - the campaigning arm of the CTC" - instead of this we re stuff so obviously stolen from Macmillan.