A fairer framework for cycling's future

Roy Spilsbury is backing Cycling UK's membership changes
Man in white jacket with red stride gives a thumbs up while astride a bicycle
Man in white jacket with red stride gives a thumbs up while astride a bicycle
Rich Wevill's picture

A fairer framework for cycling's future

Thanks to the support and funding of our members, Cycling UK have successfully lobbied government to improve funding, and provides inspiration, advice, events and rides to countless cyclists through our magazine and website.

To ensure that we can continue to do this work and achieve our ambition to get more people cycling, we are proposing some changes to our membership offer: improving our member benefits; talking to people more about what interests them; and making our membership fee structure simpler and fairer.

It’s this final proposal we’ve had most feedback on in recent weeks, which will only happen if it is approved at the AGM. 

We spoke to a few of our senior members to find out why they are supporting the proposals, which include focussing our concessionary rate on people who might struggle to pay the full rate, and removing the automatic discount for those aged 65 and over.

I contacted Cycling UK and explained my feelings and they replied to my message and outlined why they were making the changes and I have changed my mind and will be taking out a lifetime membership

David Moseley, Cycling UK member

David Moseley joined Cycling UK, then known as Cyclists’ Touring Club as a teenager in the mid-1950s so has witnessed the organisation go through many changes before. 

He said: “When I first read the letter and saw the senior rate that I pay was proposed to change I was completely dissatisfied, but I readily admit I am a grumpy old man, who still rides the same bike I did when I was a 16-year-old. At the same time, it does cheer me to go out every other day and see the number of people on bikes, many of them families and younger people.

“I contacted Cycling UK and explained my feelings and they replied to my message and outlined why they were making the changes and I have changed my mind and will be taking out a lifetime membership. I have been a member for more than 60 years, I used to go out riding with my Dad when I was I boy, we went touring, sleeping in haystacks and things like that. Then the trips took a bit of pause until I got my own family and got into it again.”

David is 84 and still clocking up the miles, he estimates he has ridden 1,780 miles since the beginning of lockdown and it was only a few years ago, that he spent four months riding around New Zealand.


An old photograph of a group of young people stopped at the roadside while cycling in the 1950s
David and friends take a breather during a ride near Manchester in his youth

David Prince, 73, also has an adventurous spirit, he had been planning to ride across Spain this summer until the pandemic forced him to change plans and settle for going from Hampshire to Hayle in Cornwall and back up to his home in Cardiff.

David said: “I joined what was then Cyclists’ Touring Club in the early 1980s for a source of information and ideas. I had done some cycling touring in my youth and was getting into it again and so I became a member.

“I was introduced to cycle touring by a fellow student when I was 18 and at art college in 1965. He was from Malaysia and one of the things he wanted to do before he went home was visit Spain.

"We were both penniless students and I had to borrow a bike to join him but it was what gave me a real taste for these kind of adventures.

"We didn’t have a tent, we just had a ground sheet, sleeping bags and a bivvy bag each. We didn’t use campsites but back then every village in France and Spain would have a water pump and we would fill our bottles up there and then go on a few miles to the next village.

I think the full membership rate -which works out at £4 a month- is good value, particularly when you consider the information you get as part of the organisation.

David Prince, Cycling UK member

"We lost touch for many years but about three years ago I heard from him again. Sadly, at the end of last year he died very suddenly and so my plan was to recreate our original journey in his honour and to raise some money for charity.”

Unlike the spontaneous nature of that first continental trip, David says thanks to his Cycling UK membership and modern technology, it’s much easier to plan your journeys today. “I think the full membership rate -which works out at £4 a month- is good value, particularly when you consider the information you get as part of the organisation. I like to read tales of what other people have been up to and get the technical and health advice on a range of topics that you publish in Cycle” he said.

Veteran cycling campaigner Roy Spilsbury from North Wales is also backing the introduction of some new membership options believing that reform is needed to allow the charity to look to the future. “For a number of years, we have had a serious and growing problem of succession. We are now largely an organisation of the aged,” he said.

"The current situation is quite unsustainable, not least with many younger people losing their jobs post-coronavirus. I want Cycling UK and cycling for all to continue to go from strength to strength for years to come,” he added.

Bob Jobbins, 78, who previously worked for the BBC as a foreign correspondent for the World Service, said he backed the change in the membership fees on principle as he felt it was right that any concessionary offer should be based on ability to pay rather than a person’s age.

He explained: “I am completely comfortable with the idea that an organisation which I am a member of, should use any concessionary facility it has to support young people, those who are unemployed or who are disadvantaged in some way who might not otherwise be able to afford to join.

"I am a trustee for another organisation in the charity sector, and we have similar discussions about who should pay what to continue to be able to grow and encourage the next generation. I tend towards the perspective that entrance to places like museums or galleries should be free or reduced for young people or those on a low income. It makes no logical sense that someone who is older automatically pays less.”

Given his globe-trotting job, Bob has been something of a nomadic member of Cyclists’ Touring Club, and more recently Cycling UK, having most recently re-joined five or six years ago. Now settled in Cambridgeshire, he says he does more functional than recreational cycling these days and has revised his membership to the household offer because his wife has been cycling more during the current crisis.

I am completely comfortable with the idea that an organisation which I am a member of, should use any concessionary facility it has to support...those who might not otherwise be able to afford to join.

Bob Jobbins

He said: “I think it is a good thing to have an organisation that speaks up on behalf of cyclists. If you think there is value to being part of the cycling community which campaigns on issues like road safety as I do, plus you take into account all the practical advantages such as the members benefits and discounts, then it seems to me you get out more than you put in,” he said.

Cycling UK’s members are at the heart of the organisation in supporting our campaigns, running groups and rides and helping to reach out to groups underrepresented within cycling,

This is a critical time to support more people to cycle in the UK and the proposed changes will be voted on at this year’s AGM in September. Voting papers are included with the August/September issue of Cycle magazine, which also detailed the changes in full.

To help answer any questions you might have, Cycling UK has put together a Q&A on our website, but if you still have questions you can contact the membership team using the details below:

 
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Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19