CTC Chief Executive's winter update

CTC Chief Executive Paul Tuohy with one of his many bikes

CTC Chief Executive's winter update

As Paul Tuohy gets ready for a busy 2015, he spends some time cycling with friends, avoiding black ice and letting down tyres!

After a long working week of meetings and travelling I really treasure my weekends to clear my head and reconnect with friends. For the last five years or so I ride most Saturdays with a small group based around Horton Kirby in Kent. We all met in our local pub and discovered that we all rode a bike, some more regularly than others.

Before long we were a small group of riders going out for 30-40 miles always ending up in our country local with a few beers before home. It’s a simple formula with the most onerous issue being the task of controlling the whip for drinks! I suppose I am the most experienced rider in our group but the informality of our rides and the confidence it has brought people has meant that these occasional riders now use their bikes a lot more for work and play and I even managed to get a few to join CTC!

Our Saturday ride is at 1pm so I start my day with a Parkrun at 9am, a brilliant community event that takes place all over the UK. It’s a timed 5km run and attracts as many women as it does men and often the odd young parent running as they push buggies with the newborn often fast asleep the whole way! There’s also a good mix of under 18’s. However, it is very non-competitive and can become quite addictive!

The opening December run was a beautiful frosty morning but I could feel underfoot that some paths were slippery so I was surprised the chaps had decided to go out on the bike ride as usual later that day. Even though the temperature would rise to 5 degrees by 1pm I know the lanes well with many not getting any sunshine this time of year and remaining icy all day. I said I’d skip and join them in the pub for a beer afterwards and spent the afternoon faffing with my Scott mountain bike instead. I got to the pub early and was surprised to see the chaps firmly ensconced in their ale. Their ride had come to an abrupt end just 7 miles due to black ice on the lanes around Lullingstone near Sevenoaks. One went down followed almost immediately by two more. Rear derailleurs were broken and there were some splendid road rash scars worthy of any road race crash. Needless to say, last Saturday we were all enjoying the mud in Farningham Woods for some welcome off-roading.

So as winter begins, do make sure you assess the conditions you’re riding in and take reasonable precautions when you know there has been a ground frost. Even when we went off road last week, many had far too much air in their tyres (a common mistake) and couldn’t believe how much air I deflated from them and how much more responsive their bike was in the mud afterwards!

I know a lot of our members and supporters don’t ride as much in the winter as they’d like, but staying active even with some winter walks can help to stave off their Christmas calories. Part of my job at CTC is to be part of the Active Travel Consortium where we work to influence government to get Britain moving a bit more.

All I have to do is ask those nice people in the Department of Transport to give us £1m and we’ll show them how we can get 100,000 people back on their bikes!"

Paul Tuohy
CTC Chief Executive

As CTC supporters we know the benefits that cycling brings us, but part of our role as a national charity is to get more people active on bikes and we’ve got some exciting plans to do this which I hope to tell you more about in the New Year. All I have to do is ask those nice people in the Department of Transport to give us £1m and we’ll show them how we can get 100,000 people back on their bikes! The cost benefits of doing so are of course multi-million. More about how I get on in my next blog.

In the meantime, I hope you get lots of nice cycling related goodies. I’ve asked Santa for some SKS mudguards. My son wanted some re-chargeable lights so I bought him membership of CTC instead as there’s a special offer of free Lezyne lights.

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Comments

Dear Paul

CTC great new plan - and The Equality Act 2010.

Thank you for writing to me in Cycleclips, to share your overview of a good year in the life of the CTC.

I am particularly interested to read of the great new plan that will set out CTC future direction. I fully support CTC aim to get more people cycling in 2015 than ever.

There is one new thing that would promote change, put more air in harder CTC tyres, as a 21st Century honestly inclusive organisation. That is to consistently integrate new 21st century Equality Act 2010, to underpin CTC's fair inclusive policy, attitude, action. Nationally and locally.

The public sector Equality Duty (s149) is a powerful tool, misunderstood and neglected by the CTC to date. Any CTC "great new plan" would be incomplete, unfair, without The Equality Act openly at its core and it's power explored, used and developed by CTC activists/ members.

Even more important is vital voluntary sector defence, grasp and use of the Equality Act. This government attempted to, and a potential future government maintains its intention to undermine and reduce lawful fair equality and human rights law. A frightful prospect going quietly unnoticed and largely independently unmonitored. Any equality act complacency by the third sector perpetuates public sector/private contractor less-than-fair practise.

The CTC inclusive initiatives you list imply unquestionable worthwhile values. The Equality Act formally coherently enshrines fairness values with far more robust unused legal power and influence. CTC must use equality act power and influence to consolidate and expand in new ways. It is not now used in routine CTC negotiation, as a shaping, influencing CTC tool with government and public service providers, policy makers, budget holders, scheme designers, up and down UK and in Whitehall.

Present campaigns seem traditional, infrastructure measurable "standards"-led, rather than lawful duty "values" driven first.

Thus I see all ordinary, and extraordinary 21st century cyclists are losing needlessly, unfairly right now.

National bodies eg Living Streets, 20s plenty recognise, have researched and are collaborating to explore Equality Act power. There are new cost-effective opportunities for change, to better achieve their national purposes and support their local volunteers. The review of the public sector Equality Act in Wales has useful equality experience to advocate. Seeking DfT Equality evidence would add legal strength to strategic joint negotiations on say the Infrastructure Bill, investment in cycling of £10 per person per year, Space for Cycling.

I gather that much of the CTC / CDF justice / defence focus is on individual personal accident and injury. The strategic universal potential of application of the Equality Act in the public law realm appears neglected.

Please could you put this on a Council agenda for discussion? As a RTR, I am interested to learn the CTC Council view of the use of the Equality Act 2010, and the public sector equality duty. Does the CTC have access to public law expertees and guidance? What stops the CTC from formally integrating the public sector equality duty, the Equality Act, in its new plan?

I look forward to learning more of the CTC great new plan. Please contact me if I can play any useful part in integrating the Equality Act. This to strengthen existing CTC work and future CTC plans in new ways that are the fairest possible, and for more cyclists than ever.

Best wishes

Hilary Reed

RTR Portsmouth

Getting 100,000 people back on their bikes.

No small task, let's do it.

100,000?

Let's get real!

I thought that CTC was a CLUB for cyclists who are already on their bikes who have subscribed for many years without large lumps of public money to arm-twist us to continue to ride daily.

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