The following report has been received from David Cox and Dan Howard:
As the West Midlands representatives on CTC Council, we provide an occasional ‘Councillor’s Update’ to keep in touch with all CTC members and volunteers in the region. The CTC has a broad membership base and we appreciate your views and feedback as this helps shape how the CTC develops.
Members Conference Warwick (Dan)
We held our first conference for members in October. Over 100 members were present and it was a hugely inspiring day – celebrating some of the positive work we’ve achieved and discussing further change which is needed. A number of workshops were held covering campaigning, group riding and inclusive cycling. We intend to build on the event this year and watch out for news of our 2016 conference coming soon.
Ride Leaders Training (David)
I’ve been leading club runs for 40 years and yet I’ve never been on a training course. CTC responding to a survey of Member Groups needs was able to offer a series of one day introductory courses this year. I went to one in Wolverhampton and thought it was excellent reviewing all the practical issues that concern ride leaders. It was good to meet leaders of varied experience from a variety of groups and compare notes. I know from discussions with members that promoting safe group riding is a widespread interest.
Other Activities (David)
I am very involved in the cycle campaigning aspects of CTC and have become Vice Chair of Push Bikes the Birmingham Campaign. I am also trying to build links with cyclists across the West Midlands so that we can relate to and negotiate with the new Integrated Transport Authority who have outlined ambitious plans for a strategic cycle network across the West Midlands. Do let me know if you are interested in joining a Bike West Midlands Network mailing list with a view to a Workshop during 2016. This year’s Cycle Nation and CTC campaign conference was in Liverpool and as always it was good to meet fellow campaigners and hear about their frustrations and successes. There was also a lot about street design for cycling which goes over my head or under my wheels – I know what I like but understanding drawings and the realities of junctions, crossing etc I find difficult. Fortunately we have some dedicated people in CTC and Push Bikes who can design and critique with a skill that more than matches many professionals in local authorities.
You will have read about the Big Bike Revival in Cycle but it was a major success for CTC which encouraged thousands of people to retrieve abandoned bikes from their sheds and garages and get back out riding. It is also a way that CTC can provide a national profile for the many local charities and social enterprises that have grown up around recycling bikes, training riders and new mechanics in maintenance skills and providing work experiences.
Council has now approved a new Strategic Framework for CTC which will give a clear focus to our activities encouraging cycling for all, campaigning to improve conditions for cyclists, supporting our volunteers, becoming more visible as the leading cycling charity and looking at how to generate more income.
We are also in January considering two important proposals one is to improve the Governance of CTC with a smaller but still democratically elected Council to provide stronger leadership, guidance and performance monitoring for our CEO’s new management team. We will also be looking at a long awaited re-brand to give CTC much more visibility to match and celebrate our success behind the scenes. For too long CTC has been the best kept secret in cycling. We will report on the outcomes of these important debates in the next Update in the run up to the 2016 AGM – don’t forget to vote!!!
Member Group AGMs
Between us we attended most of the local Member Group AGMs in the Autumn. Once again it was good to meet up with people again and find out about all the rides, tours and events that each group enjoyed over the year. Ledbury and District was the stand out for me (David) with an excellent café for the meeting a ride out and then a pub lunch! Many groups are considering carefully what their members want and how to attract new ones. They are also always looking for volunteers to bring new ideas to the Committees so if you haven’t yet done so do think about checking out your local group. Contact details can be found on the website.
In between my CTC duties I am pleased to say that I have still found plenty of time for riding my bike with regular club runs, a few Audax rides and short explorations while on trips to Devon, Japan, the USA and France. At Velo City Conference in Nantes I gave a joint talk on Birmingham’s Cycle Revolution with Adrian Lord. I also took my recycled 1980 Carlton from Bikes and Trikes in Sutton Coldfield on the Eroica Britannia in Bakewell and managed to do the Prudential Ride London Surrey 100 again but this time in glorious sunshine.
A chance encounter at Hatton Lock (David)
Last week I had a late start on a wet day and made it to the excellent Hatton Lock café for lunch. By chance I sat next to a couple from Coventry who had arrived by tandem and were enjoying a long lunch break in the dry. Lynda and Dermot Lynch turned out to be fellow members of CTC and are a young couple with two children under 10. They enjoyed the magazine Cycle and especially the articles on family cycling which gave them ideas for future expeditions. CTC has over 16,000 family members and some interesting family centered activities in Scotland which I would like to see spread across the UK. Dermot and Lynda also like the Holidays and Tours sections so they can aspire to future trips as the children grow up.
It is really great that we pensioners are still riding but when you look at CTC archive photos and film of the mid 20th Century you that it was younger people establishing the traditions of rides, tours and gatherings that we now treasure. Fortunately, Dan and Wendy – with Cerys in the trailer or balance bike – represent the younger generation!
A few weeks before I accompanied my friend John Bennett as he led an 80 mile ride to celebrate his 80th birthday. We are working to enable everyone from 8 to 80 to enjoy that liberating gift of cycling. We must have younger people and families coming along to fill our shoes or pedals. In 10 years time and at 80 with luck I don’t want to be the last cyclist left!!
Recently I did another sort of ride entirely with Cycle South Birmingham a community cycling venture taking donations from Northfield Baptist Church to the Food Bank at Northfield Partnership. They also do Pond Dipping Rides for young people (the children don’t get dipped they have fishing nets!). Community cycling is also part of CTC with projects around the country and I like the opportunity to do some Cargo Biking!
I’ve been lucky to fit plenty of cycling in this year – riding many club rides and audax events and even riding our tandem with child trailer in the procession at a Country Fayre Parade with a few other unusual machines such as trikes, penny farthings and recumbents.
The highlight of the summer was riding the 1200km Paris Brest Paris event – the fourth time I’ve ridden this event. The weather was perfect and I had just one puncture leading to me riding it in my fastest time of 81.5hrs. For me the best part of this event is riding with so many people from all around the world sharing stories and experiences along the way.
This should arrive in your inbox on Christmas Eve so if you still have some Christmas gifts to buy – don’t forget CTC membership! (https://www.ctc.org.uk/gift-
Best regards and Merry Christmas
Dan and David