Cycling forward: our vision for Cycling UK and the pedal-powered future of 2024
The new year got off to a racing start at Cycling UK so it feels as though 2024 is already well underway. Despite all the ice and potholes that winter brings, I can’t help but feel optimistic about the year ahead as there’s lots to look forward to in 2024.
At the forefront of my mind is our new strategy. Last spring, we asked members and supporters to tell us what we needed to focus on over the coming years. More than 3,000 of you responded and I read through every individual comment.
When it was time to refine our strategy, it was our members we turned to for a more in-depth conversation through some focus groups. Together with feedback from our fantastic Cycling UK staff team and a wide range of external stakeholders, we were able to take an ambitious plan to our trustees for approval last autumn.
A cornerstone of our new strategy is to build strong public support for cycling. We think this is essential to make the UK a better place to cycle for everyone. Our strategy will ensure that we continue to be relevant and to thrive in a rapidly changing external environment.
It’s important to note that the new strategy will build on the success of the previous one – from winning vital improvements to the Highway Code and creating iconic new long-distance routes, to celebrating the cycling of our inspiring members and helping hundreds of thousands of people to discover the joys of cycling.
We now aim to fully realise the vast potential of cycling to improve our health and wellbeing, tackle climate change and create more pleasant places to live and spend time.
We’ll launch the finalised strategy in the next financial year and before that we’ll be sharing the plans with members, so do look out for this in the coming months.
Campaigning for cycling
You’ve probably seen that the forthcoming general election is already making the headlines. At Cycling UK, we are working with our partners to ensure that more and better opportunities for cycling are front of mind as political parties finalise their manifestos.
We will be working hard to help politicians see how cycling can be a practical and affordable part of the solution for many of the economic, health and environmental challenges they face.
Sharing the benefits of cycling with more people
It’s also set to be an exciting year for our community-based cycling programmes across England and Scotland. After a successful year of delivering the national e-cycle trials project Making cycling e-asier, we can’t wait to talk about the impact it’s had.
In time we can share what we have learned about how e-cycles can reach new people and help us to make different choices about how we travel.
In other good news, we expect our Big Bike Revival programme to be bigger and better this year, with funding agreed for more than 18 months, for the first time. This makes a big difference as we can plan delivery for 2024 and beyond.
We are hugely grateful to Active Travel England for this new and improved approach to funding the programme, which will allow us to share the benefits of cycling with even more people.
As if that wasn’t enough, we have yet another innovative new programme starting in April. With funding from the Motability Foundation, Cycling UK will work with disability cycling organisations to deliver and research all-ability cycling options in Manchester and Inverness.
A great year of cycling ahead
As always in January, there are plenty of ‘known unknowns’ for the year ahead. Will the political parties make meaningful commitments to invest in cycling in their election manifestos? Will the Paris Olympics inspire more people to give cycling a go?
Perhaps the biggest question of all: will we be blessed with fine weather to enjoy a truly memorable summer of cycling?
Whatever 2024 may bring, I hope all our members and supporters can enjoy a great year of cycling. Thank you for your continued support so that together we can make the UK an even better place to cycle – for everyone.