|Motto||The cyclists' champion|
|Legal status||Private company limited by guarantee & Registered charity|
|Purpose||Support cyclists and encourage bicycle use in the UK.|
|The Bicycle Touring Club, Cyclists' Touring Club|
Cycling UK is a brand name of the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC), which is a charitable membership organisation supporting cyclists and promoting bicycle use. Cycling UK is registered at Companies House (as "Cyclists' Touring Club"), and covered by company law. It works at a national and local level to lobby for cyclists' needs and wants, provides services to members, and organises local groups for local activism and those interested in recreational cycling. The original Cyclists' Touring Club began in the nineteenth century with a focus on amateur road cycling but these days has a much broader sphere of interest encompassing everyday transport, commuting and many forms of recreational cycling. Prior to April 2016, Cycling UK operated under the brand CTC, the national cycling charity. As of January 2007, the organisation's president was the newsreader Jon Snow.
Cycling UK works to encourage more people to take up cycling, to make cycling safer and more enjoyable, and to provide cyclists with the support and resources they need. Its activities vary from road safety promotion to the provision of organised cycling holidays. Cycling UK does not focus on competitive cycle sport, since that has its own organisation, British Cycling.
Cycling UK's successes have been a benchmarking project to spread best practice in cycle-friendly infrastructure design, and a grant of nearly £1 million to promote national standards for cycle training, standards Cycling UK helped to develop. In 2015, Cycling UK received funding of £1million for their social outreach project, the Big Bike Revival. The Big Bike Revival ran over the summer of 2015 and held over 1,600 events throughout England, benefiting over 50,000 people by "reviving" people's old bikes and giving them the skills and confidence to cycle more. The project was awarded a further £500,000 by Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill in February 2016 to continue in summer 2016, and in June the Scottish Government awarded Cycling UK Scotland £450,000 to bring the Big Bike Revival to Scotland.
Cycling UK is organised at district level, with Local Groups organising cycle rides on Sundays and during the week. The more leisurely rides are planned around café stops, the quality of the ride often being judged on the standard of the cakes.
In 2008, the CTC Charitable Trust (formerly a part of the organisation charged with cycling development activities) launched the Cycle Champions programme. Using funding from the National Lottery's Wellbeing Fund, CTC employed 13 Community Cycling development Officers around England to promote cycling in all sectors of the community, particularly those not traditionally associated with cycling. They recruited 'Cycle Champions' within the community to work towards these goals as volunteers.
In 2009, CTC, in partnership with ContinYou and UK Youth, launched Bike Club, a programme funded by Cycling England with the intention of promoting cycling, and its associated learning experiences, among children and young people aged 10-20. Locally based officers advised on the establishment of clubs and the application for funding.
The members' magazine, Cycle, covers subjects including ride reports, product reviews and legal and technical advice. Members benefit from public liability insurance, which is extended to cover rides organised under the auspices of Cycling UK Local Groups.
Cycling UK is also the organisation behind the British Cycle Quest, an informal competition which challenges members to visit six designated places in each of the counties of England, Scotland and Wales.
Cycling UK is currently a member of the European Cyclists' Federation.
Cycling UK believes that UK cyclists should continue to be free to decide whether or not they wear cycle helmets, and campaigns to keep the UK's laws as they are. Cycling UK says that this is because putting too much emphasis on cycle helmets makes people think that cycling is much more dangerous than it actually is, and can put people off. Cycling UK believes that health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks, so it is important that people are not discouraged. Cycling UK also feels that the real risks faced by cyclists, such as excessive vehicle speed, are often forgotten when all the discussions concentrate on cycle helmets. Cycling UK reviewed the current Highway Code before it was published, and helped reword some sections that could have been detrimental for cyclists.
Cycling UK is a founder of the Slower Speeds Initiative, an unincorporated association dedicated to reducing traffic speeds on all roads. CTC works with organisations such as Transport 2000 and Sustrans, and has charitable offshoots, the CTC Charitable Trust and the Cyclists' Defence Fund.
Cycling UK has been known by various names over the course of its history:
2016's branding change is intended to reflect the organisation's current activities and avoid placing an undue emphasis on its historic touring focus.
Cycling UK was founded at Harrogate, in Yorkshire, on 5 August 1878 by an Edinburgh medical student, Stanley Cotterell, under its original name of the Bicycle Touring Club. It claims to be the oldest transport organisation in the world. Its headquarters were wherever Cotterell happened to be living. It had 80 members, all men. The first woman, Jeanie A Welford, joined in 1880. In 1883, the Bicycle Touring Club was renamed the Cyclists' Touring Club to open membership to tricyclists. Membership rose to 10,627 and CTC opened a headquarters at 139-140 Fleet Street in London.
Members, like those of other clubs, often rode in uniform. CTC appointed an official tailor. The uniform was a dark green Devonshire serge jacket, knickerbockers and a "Stanley helmet with a small peak". The colour changed to grey when green proved impractical because it showed the dirt. Groups often rode with a bugler at their head to sound changes of direction or to bring the group to a halt. Confusion could be caused when groups met and mistook each other's signals.
From 1887, the Cyclists' Touring Club gave seals of approval, in the form of a cast iron plaque (later replaced by an enamel plate) showing the winged-wheel symbol of CTC, for mounting on an outside wall of hotels and restaurants which offered good accommodation and service to cyclists. A few of the metal signs still exist, as do a handful of road signs put up by CTC to warn cyclists of steep hills: usually steep going down, which was as much a problem for riders of large-wheel ordinaries, or "penny-farthings", as going up. The CTC no longer puts up general road signs—although the right to do so is retained—and approved establishments are offered a plastic window-sticker carrying the blue and yellow logo shown above.
In 1898 CTC became embroiled in a court case to defend a member denied what she thought adequate service at a hotel carrying the club's badge. Florence Wallace Pomeroy, Viscountess Harberton (1843-1911), of Cromwell Road, Kensington — wife of James, 6th Viscount Harberton, an Anglo-Irish peer, and president of the Western Rational Dress Society — cycled on the morning of 27 October 1898 to have lunch at the Hautboy Hotel in Ockham, Surrey. Lady Harberton's campaigning for society to accept that women could wear "rational" dress on a bicycle and not ankle-length dresses led her to wear a jacket and a pair of long and baggy trousers which came together just above the ankle. She walked into the coffee room and asked to be served. The landlady, a Mrs Martha Sprague, showed her instead into the bar parlour. CTC went into action, mounting a prosecution for "refusing food to a traveller". The landlady was acquitted and CTC lost the unusually large amount of money it had allotted to the case, which had been considered at the root of cyclists' rights and the values of CTC.
In 1906 CTC asked the High Court to amend its constitution so that it could admit all tourists, including car-drivers. A majority of members - 10,495 to 2,231 - had voted the previous year for the change to take place. The court ruled that CTC could not protect the interests of cyclists and drivers at the same time and denied permission.
In 1926 the CTC discussed an unsuccessful motion calling for cycle tracks to be built on each side of roads for "the exclusive use of cyclists", and that cyclists could be taxed, providing the revenue was used for the provision of such tracks. The first (and one of the very few) dedicated roadside optional cycle tracks was built, as an experiment for the Ministry of Transport, beside Western Avenue between Hanger Lane and Greenford Road in 1934. It was thought that "the prospect of cycling in comfort as well as safety would be appreciated by most cyclists themselves". However, the idea ran into trenchant opposition from cycling groups, with the CTC distributing pamphlets warning against the threat of cycle paths.
Local CTC branches organised mass meetings to reject the use of cycle tracks and any suggestion that cyclists should be forced to use such devices. In 1935, a packed general meeting of the CTC adopted a motion rejecting ministerial plans for cycle path construction. The CTC were listened to, and the use of cycle tracks largely fell out of favour in the UK until the early 1970s.
In 1996 the UK Cyclists' Touring Club and the Institute of Highways and Transportation jointly produced a set of Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure guidelines that placed segregated cycling facilities at the bottom of the hierarchy of measures designed to promote cycling.
In September 2012, the Cyclists' Touring Club was merged with the CTC Charitable Trust, forming a single charitable organisation. This followed approval by The Charity Commission for England and Wales in June 2012. It was stated that conversion to a single unified charity would result in financial savings, allow the income of CTC to be boosted by up to £100,000 by reclaiming Gift Aid, and help to build public recognition and support. CTC members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of amending the CTC's Memorandum and Articles to enable the registration as a unified charity, with almost 9,000 members voting at the AGM, and 92.7% voting in favour.
On midnight on 30 September 2012 the CTC Charitable Trust merged with the Cyclists' Touring Club and the new financial year starts with one unified charity.
The Charity Commission for England and Wales has approved CTC's application to become a charity. The decision recognises that all the work of the UK's largest cycling organisation, with its 68,000 strong membership, is of benefit to the public.
All these activities now qualify as charitable. With these benefits protected by the Council it must be in the interest of members to also grasp the benefits of Gift Aid on subscriptions. We can boost the income of the CTC by up to £100,000 a year - funding that can be used to support more cycling, more local groups and more campaigning. If we vote 'no' we are also turning away from public recognition. Society supports charitable organisations like ours financially because we can prove we make the world a better place - through charitable services to members and through our campaigning and promotion.
CTC members voted overwhelmingly in favour of amending CTC's Memorandum and Articles, in order that the organisation can be registered as a unified membership charity in England and Wales. (CTC is already registered as a charity in Scotland.) Almost 9,000 members voted at the AGM on 12 May, just before this issue of Cycle went to press, with 92.7% voting in favour including the Chair proxy votes. If the proxy vote were excluded the vote would have Had failed to reach the required 75%