In a posting to Member Groups of CyclingUK in October 2019 , Paul Tuohy writes:-
As we leave another fantastic summer of cycling behind us and move into the autumn months, I’d like to thank you and your wonderful volunteers for all your hard work over the past year enabling more people to cycle.
We now have almost 9,000 registered Cycling UK volunteers, an increase of over 800 since last year. Together, we have again, with your help, achieved so much for cycling. Some of the highlights have been:
- Put on Tri-Vets 100km and 100-mile rides at 15 locations around the UK, attended by approximately 500 participants, including three generations of one family.
Co-ordinated the 11 events in the Challenge Ride Series of longer distance rides, including the Diss Cyclathon for the first time, which attracted around 1,000 participants; 4,000 cyclists in total took part in a Challenge Ride.
- Our amazing groups and volunteers put on hundreds of other rides, events and activities for all ages and abilities throughout the country.
- Our Volunteering Team sent out four editions of Velocheer, our newsletter for and about volunteers, to over 4,000 email addresses, with an open rate of nearly 50%.
- We continue to feature stories, articles and case studies about our volunteers and their activities in our mainstream communications channels as well, including profiles of all the volunteers and voluntary groups who were finalists in our Volunteer Awards 2019.
- This year, we implemented ‘Going the Extra Mile’, a new reward and recognition programme of thank you cards, certificates and awards for our volunteers and awarded Certificates of Appreciation to voluntary groups and individuals to mark some outstanding contributions to cycling.
- We highlighted the contributions of our volunteers by celebrating national Volunteers’ Week in June and #youmadeithappen in October.
- At our Volunteer Celebration in London, also in June, we showcased some of the tremendous work done by our volunteers, which was attended by about 100 award finalists and guests.
- We are continuing to develop the IT resources in our Volunteer Hub. We are trialling the new Volunteer Engagement Tool with some of them and hope to roll this out more widely after Christmas 2019, enabling groups and individuals to recruit, manage and retain volunteers.
- We are pleased that many of our Member Groups are now using the Group Management Tool to communicate with members by sending out welcome emails and newsletters, as well as keep track of their volunteers and members in a way that is GDPR compliant. It is hoped to develop these tools further in 2020.
- Our Training Department has delivered training courses in road and off-road ride leading and first aid to around 1200 individuals.
- We now have 58 active Community Cycle Clubs in 10 English regions, with 196 volunteers delivering activities to nearly 600 individuals.
- In West Yorkshire, Cycle for Health has delivered 16 courses to around 150 participants since April 2019.
- In Scotland, a second Bothy opened at Ardrishaig, encouraging many more people to cycle in mid-Argyll.
- We’ve also launched the Edinburgh Handcycling Experience, supporting those with lower limb and other impairments to enjoy the thrill of cycling.
- Over 100 women took part in our three Belles Big Rides.
Of course, we’ve also been busy co-ordinating all the other activities and events that make up our cycling calendar:
- More than 150 women led by Angelica Bell rode to the Houses of Parliament to launch the Women’s Festival of Cycling in July.
- We named our third 100 Women in Cycling list, celebrating inspiring women who are encouraging others to experience the joy of cycling.
- Hundreds of events throughout Bike Week in June encouraged around a quarter of a million more people to cycle.
- The Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation scheme continues to grow and has been delivered to seven businesses nationally, with more being accredited each month.
- 150 groups took part in the Big Bike Revival in England this year, with over 1,000 events registered.
- In Scotland, so far this year, 85 community groups in Scotland have taken part in the Big Bike Revival, running 280 events across 28 of their 32 local authorities and attended by an estimated 20,000 people.
Our national campaigning goes from strength to strength:
- We launched a new 800-mile route, the Great North Trail, to great interest from the cycling world and the mainstream media.
- Our Dutch Reach VR film has been viewed 14,000 times so far and 11,500 people responded to our campaign to demand more Government funding for cycling.
- Our Dutch Reach and #toocloseforcomfort campaigns were winners of the BikeBiz Cycle Advocacy Award 2019.
- We launched the Be Nice, Say Hi campaign with the British Horse Society to encourage cyclists to slow down for horses. (See also Cyclingnorthwales-ed‘)
- Nearly 9,000 potholes have been reported through FillThatHole.
- In April, as a result of our Trails for Wales campaign, proposals were announced which will open up many more opportunities for exploring the outdoors – around 12,000 emails were sent that supported the move.
- We partnered with Uber Eats to produce a series of guides on road positioning and cycle maintenance in both written and video form.
But not only that, our website views have gone up nearly 13% to over four and a half million and membership of Cycling UK has gone up by an incredible 2,000 new members over the summer to reach 68,000 in just the first year of our new strategy.
A personal highlight for me was taking part in SW London CTC’s Tri-Vets event in June, equalled by Chester and N. Wales Caer a Gogledd Cymru’s 80th anniversary President’s ride and lunch in early September – it was an emotional occasion as I recalled the impact joining a cycling club had on me as a young man and paid tribute to all the volunteers who have enabled so many people to experience the joys of cycling for themselves.
Thank you once again for ‘Going the Extra Mile’ for cycling.
We look forward to another great Cycling UK year in 2019-2020.