Changes to Cycling UK membership: FAQ
Changes to Cycling UK membership: FAQ
Update September 2021: at the 2021 AGM, further changes to the membership structure was approved. See the updated table in question 6 below.
Cycling UK has exciting plans to do even more to campaign for safer roads, open up new routes and get many more people cycling all over the UK. Our valued members are at the heart of the organisation in supporting our campaigns, amplifying our voice and running groups and rides. It is thanks to members and your membership fees that we can continue to fund the majority of our work.
To ensure that we can continue to help secure a better future for cycling, we proposed some changes to membership from 1 November 2020. These changes were approved at the AGM on 4 September 2020.
Some frequently asked questions are below with relevant links to further information. Our Membership Changes page has more detail including the magazine article featured in your August/September Cycle magazine, along with a video from our Trustee, Christine Gibbons.
The changes are also outlined in the magazine and via a letter to those members who will be directly affected by the changes.
If you have any questions not answered below, please:
Contact the Membership Team
- Why have you made changes to membership?
- How did you decide what the changes would be?
- When will these changes take place?
- What are the changes?
- What are the improvements to the membership offer?
- What are the changes to the membership fee structure?
- What is the new Supporter option?
- How will the changes affect me?
- What is the new concessionary rate?
- What is student membership?
- Will Life Membership still be offered?
- Will the 'five years for the price of four' commuted discount still be offered?
- Will the 14 months for the price of 12 offer still be available?
- I’m currently a Senior member. What are my options after 1 November 2020?
- Will checks be made on my eligibility for a specific membership category, including means testing?
- I originally joined Cycling UK some years ago on a membership offer or type which is no longer available. Will I still be able to remain on this rate?
- Will changes be made to affiliate membership?
- How does Cycling UK spend the money from membership fees?
- Are these changes definitely happening?
- Are you just making the changes now because of coronavirus?
- How does this all link with your Pumped Up campaign?
- What was the review you carried out last year to inform these changes?
- What are the next steps and how can I find out more?
1. Why have you made changes to membership?
Members are at the heart of what we do at Cycling UK. They make us the biggest charity for cycling in the UK, enabling us as a movement to:
- Put on thousands of rides every year, helping people at every level from beginners to enthusiasts to go out riding with like-minded cyclists.
- Hold flagship Challenge Rides across the country, reaching out to the wider cycling community with fun, engaging events.
- Have an incredibly strong voice for national campaigning and lobbying, so that we can make roads safer and get more funding for cycling. Members take personal action, such as signing petitions or writing to their MPs, but also the sheer size of our membership provides ‘clout’ behind our calls to national governments.
- Successfully lobby and campaign on local cycling issues, holding local authorities to account for road safety and infrastructure decisions.
- Help thousands of friends and family get cycling and keep cycling with information, support and advice – especially now when so many people are getting back on their bikes.
- And the invaluable funding from membership fees supports the charity to deploy our policy expertise in lobbying, developing national campaigns, supporting our groups and volunteers, running national events such as Bike Week to engage new cyclists, creating new routes, supporting our community outreach programmes, and much more.
As members are so important to us achieving our charitable mission, a key part of our first ever five-year strategy in 2018 was to grow the number of members and supporters to 100,000. This will give us a much bigger voice for cycling, and much-needed funding to support our mission.
But, given that the number of members has grown only slowly over the past few decades, we knew we would need to review and perhaps make significant changes to our membership offer and structure to grow significantly and create a stronger voice for cycling.
2. How did you decide what the changes would be?
Last year, we undertook a comprehensive review of the membership programmes of many other membership organisations across the UK. In autumn 2019 we conducted a major survey to find out what people thought of membership – almost 4,000 members responded, and we also surveyed more than 1,000 non-members who are regular cyclists.
The results showed that people like both what we are doing as a charity, and the benefits of being members. It also highlighted that there are some key ways we can improve our membership benefits, and also that the way in which we set our fees was not in line with people’s expectations, or how most other membership charities operate.
So, we proposed some improvements to our membership benefits and offers, and proposed to make the membership fee structure fairer and more accessible to those on lower incomes so we can grow our membership and impact. These proposals were approved at the AGM on 4 September.
3. When will these changes take place?
The changes will come into effect on 1 November 2020. We will be contacting all members whose memberships are affected by the changes during the normal renewal process.
The changes were laid out in the August/September issue of Cycle magazine and on the AGM voting paper included with it; and on the videos and articles in the ‘Membership changes’ part of our website.
The proposals were approved at the virtual AGM held on 4 September.
4: What are the changes?
We want to:
- Improve the membership offer, including providing better benefits and more relevant information, advice and communications to members.
- Change the membership fee structure to make it simpler, fairer and more accessible, encouraging those on lower incomes to join us.
5. What are the improvements to the membership offer?
We know from our surveys that insurance is a key benefit for members. Rest assured, the existing third-party liability insurance included within all memberships to cover individuals if they are involved in a cycle related incident will remain a core benefit.
We have introduced a number of new benefits such as a new bike insurance offer with Yellow Jersey as well as home and bike insurance discount with Pedal Cover.
We also plan to review our overall insurance provision at the end of this year to ensure we are providing the best service for members, and may bring in other improvements following this review.
You've told us that retailer discounts are a highly valued member benefit and that the range available to members has already improved this year by adding in offers from Komoot (a free region map bundle to new users), 50% off the Discount Cycle Network (access to over 40 further retailer offers) and 10% off at Freewheel. We had planned to announce a further set of new discounts over the summer, but the unprecedented demand in the cycle market has delayed the launch dates of some of these partnerships until later in the year.
We also know that members love the communications they receive, filled with information, advice, inspiration and great routes to try. Over the course of the next year we will be improving the communications members receive so they are much more relevant to the type of cycling you like to do, whether that’s touring in the UK, or hurtling down mountains.
6. What are the changes to the membership fee structure?
We proposed making the fee structure simpler, fairer, and more accessible. Currently, the majority of members paying a concessionary rate are doing so based on their age, rather than on their ability to pay. We believed it would be fairer to introduce a new main concessionary rate based on the ability to pay, rather than by age.
By making the membership more affordable, more people on lower incomes will be able to join us, meaning we can support them in their cycling journey and giving us a bigger voice to support cycling.
It means the current senior rate for the over-65s will no longer be available on renewals after 1 November 2020. Over the coming months we’ll be working closely with our valued senior members who, importantly, will be able to transition to our new concessionary rate if they need to do so. The additional cost to senior members who do move to a full adult membership, on the other hand, will be less than £1.50 a month.
The new Concessionary membership will replace the existing categories of Disabled, Carer and Unwaged memberships. Existing members with those memberships will transition straight to the new concessionary membership. The criteria for new concessionary members will be that they receive any means-tested benefit; are disabled or a carer; or that they rely on the state pension as their sole source of income. We will continue to have a concessionary rate for those in full-time education.
Update September 2021: The Concessionary rate will now include students in full-time education. The new rates from 1 November 2021 are as follows:
There is also a new Supporter option.
7. What is the new Supporter option?
If you’re no longer cycling but want to remain part of Cycling UK, the new Supporter option is a way to stay involved and continue to support our wonderful work.
Supporters will still receive Cycle magazine and other communications, and contribute to campaigning, lobbying, protecting cyclists, encouraging more people to cycle and ensuring a great future for cycling across the UK.
By making a minimum donation of just £2 a month via Direct Debit, you will help to support the organisation which you have been a part of for many years.
This is not a membership and so will not include any of the other benefits available to members, including insurance cover, voting rights or access to riding with groups.
8. How will the changes affect me?
All memberships will receive the enhanced benefits outlined above, and other improvements as we roll them out over the next year. In relation to the change in fees:
Adult individual membership – no change in your fees, as the rate will remain frozen at £48 for another year.
Senior membership – the senior rate will no longer be available at your renewal date after 1 November 2020. To ensure that there is no break in your insurance cover, Direct Debit payers will be automatically transitioned to the adult rate. If you pay annually, your renewal letter will invite you to renew on the adult category.
We are very happy to talk through the options that are available if you wish to change to a different category, including the new concessionary rate if you might struggle to pay for adult membership (see full details of your options below).
Disabled/Carer/Unwaged membership – these concessionary memberships will be combined into a new concessionary rate for those who receive means-tested benefits, are disabled or a carer, or whose sole income is the state pension. If you already have one of these memberships, you will transition straight across to the new Concessionary membership. On your next renewal date we will just ask you to confirm that you qualify for the concession. The fee will be increasing by £1 from 1 November in line with our normal practice.
Junior / Student, Household, Individual Affiliated and Group – there is no substantive change to this, we are just clarifying the criteria, see the question below. The fee will rise as normal, roughly in line with inflation as set out in the fee table above. Update September 2021: Student membership will be incorporated in the Concessionary category from 1 November 2021.
Household, Individual Affiliated and Group - no changes to these membership types, except that the price will be increasing roughly in line with inflation as set out in the fee table above.
Life membership – there is no change for existing Life members. For new Life members, we are changing the fee calculation, see the question below.
9. What is the new concessionary rate?
We want to support people from all different backgrounds to join Cycling UK. We particularly want to encourage those on lower incomes, who may not be able to afford full adult membership, to join and we hope this newly defined concessionary membership will help.
You are eligible for the concessionary membership if you meet any one of the criteria below. Update September 2021: Student membership will also be incorporated in the Concessionary category from 1 November 2021.
|Topline Critera||More detail|
|You are in receipt of any means-tested benefits||
The benefits system is complex, and we aren’t by any means holding ourselves as experts.
We will always use the ‘Turn2Us’ definition of means-tested benefits as they are a well-respected charity supporting people on low-incomes. If you receive any of the benefits listed here, you will qualify for the concession.
Note that pension credit is a means-tested benefit on this list, so that anyone in receipt of pension credit qualifies for the concession.
|You are disabled||
It is very much up to members themselves to identify as disabled. We will use the definition under section 6 of the Equality Act 2010 which states that you are disabled if:
You might find helpful the advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau on the definition of disability.
|You are a carer||
It is very much up to members themselves to identify as a carer. If you are not sure, we suggest reviewing the Citizens Advice Bureau advice for carers which has useful advice on the kinds of activities and responsibilities which constitute being a carer.
|Sole income is state pension||
If your sole income is from the state pension then you will qualify for this concession.
We are not able to provide any advice on pensions or pension credit. However, if you’re sole income is the state pension and you are struggling to make ends meet it is worth checking if you qualify for pension credit and the charity Independent Age also has useful advice.
10. What is student membership?
We already have a ‘Junior/Student’ membership. We are renaming this to ‘Student’ membership and clarifying the definition. We offer this membership at a reduced rate as, like the categories for the main concessionary membership, we recognise that anyone in full-time education may not be able to afford the full membership fee. This concession is available for anyone of any age:
- In full-time education
- Undertaking an apprenticeship
It is also open for anyone under the age of 18 as the law now states that anyone under 18 must either be in full-time education; carrying out an apprenticeship or spend a certain amount of time working or volunteering whilst in part-time training.
Update September 2021: Student membership will be incorporated in the Concessionary category from 1 November 2021.
11. Will Life membership still be offered?
Yes, Life membership will still be offered. For those members who already have Life membership there will be no change bar the additional benefits with retailers, insurance and exclusive tailored content added to the membership.
For those looking to take up Life membership, there will be a change to the calculation. As of 1 November 2020, it will be as follows:
To calculate the rate, begin with 25 times the annual Adult membership rate, (currently £48), giving a total of £1,200
Then combine these two factors and deduct them:
- 0.5 % (= £6) reduction for every full year of age up to 71; and
- 0.5 % (= £6) reduction for every full year subscription paid by the member.
Most Life memberships in other membership organisations are offered at a fixed rate, so this system remains fairer for those members who have already been with Cycling UK for some time, and factors in a length of time that their membership will continue for.
12. Will the 'five years for the price of four' commuted discount still be offered?
No, this discount will no longer be available from 1 November 2020. For members currently within a '5 for 4' commuted membership, there will be no change until your renewal after 1 November 2020, and you will still receive the improved benefits with retailers, insurance and exclusive tailored content.
13. Will the 14 months for the price of 12 offer still be available?
Yes, this offer will still be available for those switching to annual Direct Debit (first year only).
14. I’m currently a Senior member. What are my options after 1 November 2020?
As a senior member you are likely to have been with Cycling UK for many years, and we thank you for your loyal and valued support. As you have already seen, we have exciting plans to do even more to campaign for safer roads, open up new routes and get many more people cycling all over the UK. You are at the heart of the organisation in supporting our campaigns, amplifying our voice and running groups and rides. It is thanks to you and your membership that we can continue to fund the majority of our work.
As our proposals to create a fairer structure of membership fees have now been approved at the AGM, we very much want to support you to continue to be a member. We set out below what will happen now in relation to your membership.
When it comes to your renewal (after 1 November 2020), as with the normal renewal process, you will receive a letter four to six weeks before your membership is due for renewal.
In this letter you will receive details of the approved changes and the letter will suggest changing to Adult membership as our new standard membership category. To ensure that there is no break in your insurance cover, Direct Debit payers can be automatically transitioned to the adult rate. If you pay annually, your renewal letter will invite you to renew on the Adult category.
You may of course prefer to change to a different type of membership, such as Concession (if you receive pension credit or your sole income is from a state pension, for example) or Household (if there are two adults who would benefit from membership in your household). We are here to help with your options, so please do get in touch to discuss the best route for you.
If you are no longer cycling but would like to remain a supporter of Cycling UK and continue to receive your Cycle magazine, you may like to consider our new Supporter option.
You will also be able to update us with your chosen change in membership via our website, once you receive your renewal letter.
Your potential renewal options in more detail:
Adult - there is no difference in the membership benefits you receive apart from the additional ones that will be added for all members. We have frozen the rate this year to support senior members who may be moving across to this membership.
Concessionary - there is no difference in the membership benefits you receive apart from the additional ones that will be added for all members. This category is to ensure those people that cannot afford to pay the Adult rate can continue their membership if they meet the criteria.
Life membership - again, for Life Membership, there is no difference in the membership benefits you receive, additional ones that will be added and you will not have to renew ever again, with both considerable savings possible for you, and hugely important support for Cycling UK’s objectives.
Household - If there is more than one member in your household then why not combine your memberships into one payment and save? Compared to two adults you would save £21 a year.
15. Will checks be made on my eligibility for a specific membership category?
We will not conduct any specific checks on eligibility and Cycling UK will not be conducting “means testing” when you take out membership, as it is an honesty-based system. However, please bear in mind that your situation may require verification if you need to make an insurance or legal claim. We have provided detailed guidance to each criteria in each question above and members will need to use this guidance themselves to determine whether they qualify for a concessionary or student membership.
16. I originally joined Cycling UK some years ago on a membership offer or type which is no longer available. Will I still be able to remain on this rate?
Over the past year we’ve been phasing out some historic membership categories such as Go Bicycle and Right to Ride. This is in line with simplifying and streamlining our membership structure. We have been contacting relevant members to inform them that at renewal, they will need to transition to the standard Adult rate (unless they are eligible and wish to move to another category).
17. Will changes be made to affiliate membership?
Currently no changes are proposed, bar the standard annual increase in price in line with inflation, but we will be reviewing affiliate and group membership later in the year. An individual affiliate membership is available to someone who is a part of a group that has joined Cycling UK as an affiliated group. As an affiliate individual member you will continue to benefit from third-party liability insurance; however to access all benefits such as the legal advice line and Cycle magazine you would need to become a full member, for example an adult, household or concessionary member. .
18. How does Cycling UK spend the money from membership fees?
Membership is the charity’s main source of unrestricted income and it funds much of our work, including policy and lobbying; campaigns; our communications, such as Cycle magazine; our events, including Bike Week; our support for groups and volunteering; and the running of the charity. Membership fees also provide the foundations which allow us to apply for, and win, government funding for our behaviour change programmes (for example Big Bike Revival and Cycle for Health); and design and develop our training courses.
We are incredibly proud of what we are able to achieve together through the funding provided through membership fees. Just last year we:
- Enabled more than 11,000 people to campaign for better cycling infrastructure across England – we are absolutely delighted to see almost all our demands taken up by the government in its new vision for cycling and walking launched this year.
- Encouraged over 400,000 people to practise the ‘Dutch reach’ to prevent car-dooring accidents.
- Reported almost 10,000 potholes to local authorities through the ‘Fillthathole’ app.
- Supported member groups to put on almost 11,000 member group rides, encouraging everyone from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts to go riding with like-minded cyclists.
- Helped groups and volunteers to put on 13 amazing Challenge Rides across the country.
- Launched the Great North Trail, a new 800-mile, almost entirely off-road route from the Peak District to northern Scotland.
- Rolled out our new volunteer engagement system, Assemble, supporting our 7,000 volunteers to put on rides and activities.
- Ran our biggest ever Bike Week and Women’s Festival of Cycling with over 100,000 people taking part in more than 400 real-life and online events.
- Supported our behaviour change team to roll out Big Bike Revival events across England and Scotland, helping more than 100,000 people get back on their bikes and stay cycling.
We couldn’t achieve any of this without the vital funding provided by membership fees – thank you.
You can find more information in our latest Impact Report and annual accounts.
19. Are these changes definitely happening?
Yes, the motion setting out the changes was passed at the AGM on 4 September 2020 and so will be coming into effect from 1 November 2020.
20. Are you just making the changes now because of coronavirus?
No. This has been part of the long-term plan that has been thoroughly researched, as you can see from question 22 below. The pandemic has further highlighted a need for urgent change as it has had a significant impact on some of our other funding streams, at the same time as providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to encourage more people to cycle.
21. How does this all link with your Pumped Up campaign?
The Pumped Up campaign aims to create a buzz and raise awareness for cycling and Cycling UK. It is mostly funded by our Department for Transport grant to drive people to our Big Bike Revival events. It is also a way of promoting volunteering opportunities, will draw in a new audience, appeal to new cyclists and help us recruit more members.
22. What was the review you carried out last year to inform these changes?
In November 2019, we sent a request to take part in a membership survey to half of all members for whom we had email addresses (the other half received a survey about charity messaging). Of the 20,000 members who received the request, 3,995 members responded. The people who responded to the survey were broadly reflective of our overall membership with senior members comprising 46% all respondents.
We also sent the survey to keen cyclists who are not currently members and had 1200 responses, the demographic breakdown of these respondents matched that of the overall UK population.
The survey asked a range of questions in three categories:
- Types of cycling activities the person undertook
- Which of our charitable activities from campaigning to outreach programmes they found most interesting
- What they thought of our current member benefits, and potential new benefits; and what they thought would be a reasonable price to pay for those benefits
We provided a brief overview of some of the results in the February/March issue of the magazine, on the relevant pages (5 and 6 of the pdf). As you can see from the results, a high percentage of both members and non-members were motivated to support us because of our campaigning and lobbying work to make cycling safer; our work to improve people’s health through cycling; and our work to encourage people to cycle and make it more enjoyable.
In addition to the information set out in the article:
- The majority of our current benefits were highly rated as reasons to join Cycling UK, in particular our third party liability insurance, the legal advice line, Cycle magazine and retailer discounts. Cycle insurance was highly rated as a benefit we don’t currently routinely offer, which is why we are now introducing a free month’s cover with further discount. Given how highly rated insurance was in the survey, we will be reviewing our insurance provision more broadly over the winter to ensure we are providing the best service for members.
- We asked people in a variety of ways to say what they would be prepared to pay for the benefits of membership. Existing members responded that they would, on average, be prepared to pay above our current adult rate of £4 per month. Of these, members over 65 said they were also prepared, on average, to pay above the adult rate of £4 for membership
23. What are the next steps and how can I find out more?
For more information, visit our Membership Changes page. Here you will find a copy of the article featured in your August/September Cycle magazine, along with a video explaining the changes in more detail.
All current Senior members will receive a letter detailing the changes, along with a reminder of when their next renewal (after 1 November 2020) is due.
You can keep updated with all the latest news and information in CycleClips.
If you have any further questions, please:
Contact the Membership Team
Thank you for your support.