Update from Cycling UK's Chief Executive

CTC has now rebranded to Cycling UK
As CTC rebrands to Cycling UK, Chief Executive Paul Tuohy sets out what this means for Britain's oldest transport organisation.

Britain’s oldest transport organisation, CTC, the national cycling charity, has today (5 April 2016) rebranded as Cycling UK. 

Through our new brand, Cycling UK will help more people, from any background, enjoy the gift of cycling. Where there are barriers, we’ll provide ways to overcome them.

Cycling is a great way to find fun, friendship and fitness through the freedom that riding a bike brings. We aim to reach out to the millions of would-be-cyclists to lift the lid off cycling’s best kept secret.

Cycling UK has been promoting cycling and protecting cyclists since 5 August 1878. On that Bank Holiday Monday, thanks to the vision and vigour of Edinburgh medical student Stanley Cotterell, the Bicycle Touring Club was formed in Harrogate. Five years later, we were renamed the Cyclists’ Touring Club.

Ever since our formation, our members have explored the world by bike. Much like our founding objectives to promote, assist and protect the use of all cycles on public roads, today we work to make cycling a part of everyday life for everyone. Cycling UK will also continue to campaign to make everyday cycling more popular, more practical and safer.

Cycling UK Chief Executive, Paul Tuohy sets out his vision for the charity in the years ahead in this short video:

Your questions answered:

Why have we chosen a new name?

Our name needs to better reflect who we are and what we do. It's an issue we've encountered before. In 1883, the Bicycle Touring Club (as CTC was then) became the Cyclists' Touring Club, in order to embrace those early tricyclists. Today, and for some years now, our members have been telling us that the name Cyclists' Touring Club needs updating. It appeals to one of our many
audiences – touring cyclists – but can seem confusing in other contexts. It can be a stumbling block for, amongst others, transport campaigners, planners, politicians, off-road cyclists, and newcomers to cycling. There's a disconnect between our name and what we're doing outside of touring cycling. It can limit us when we're trying to get more people to join us on our local rides, when we're trying to get media attention, or when we're trying to secure funding for cycling.

How did we consult with our members in taking forward this process?

CTC Council, our board of CTC-member trustees, began investigating our brand identity in detail in 2013. The first step was to question over 9,000 people – and subsequently 2,000 more – about CTC. The surveys included Member Groups, affiliated clubs, members, non-members who have been in contact with us, campaigning volunteers, local and national government colleagues, and key partner organisations. The feedback was instructive. Our members and others told us that CTC should remain an approachable, friendly, fun, warm and supportive organisation. It told us that we want everyone to cycle in the knowledge that we are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that your rights are represented and protected. There was broad consensus on what our role should be: making cycling the joy it should be – by protecting cycling. The research also said we need a name more representative of what CTC is and does, not just for recognition from existing cyclists – the five million people in the UK who cycle three or more times a week – but to reach out to all those people who rarely cycle or never have.

Does CTC still exist?

Yes. Our charity will still legally be registered as the Cyclists’ Touring Club with its charity and company registrations unchanged. The new name ‘Cycling UK’ and the brand ‘we are Cycling UK’ are being adopted as a trading name of the charity.  We are very proud of our heritage and history, and we know that a new name and brand will really help to make our charity even more attractive to many more people.

What does Cycling UK plan to do in the years ahead?

Cycling UK will help more people, from any background, enjoy cycling. Inclusivity is key. Where there are barriers to cycling, we'll provide ways to overcome them. We'll get people cycling through existing projects like the Big Bike Revival, which has reached into economically deprived areas to bring tens of thousands of bikes back into use and has equipped their owners with the knowhow to use them. We will also create new projects, along with opportunities for local groups to get involved. That way, some of the new and returning cyclists will progress to regular
group riding.

Cycling UK will campaign to make everyday cycling more popular, more practical, and safer. We'll do this using our established lobbying skills and our connections to get changes in policy and funding. We'll seek not warm words but tangible results, such as well designed space for cycling, prosecution and judiciary services that treat cyclists fairly, and improved off-road access through partnerships with landowners. We will also create more ways for the public to engage with and support our campaigning. For example, our recent Trails for Wales campaign saw the
highest public response to any Welsh Assembly consultation.

What does this mean for our members and prospective members?

The membership services you're familiar with will remain. As well as helping us promote and protect cycling for others, you'll still get: £10million third-party liability insurance; the vital support of
our Incident Line; six issues of Cycle magazine each year; stacks of discounts on bikes and cycling-related products; and the opportunity to join a local group and take part in regular rides.

What does this mean for the charity at a local level, for example with our Member Groups? 

While a number of our Member Groups have already started to adopt our new name and brand, there are also many who have not yet changed and may not for a time. This is especially likely where a Member Group focuses its operation on touring cycling. Most of our Member Groups have a clear identity and touring orientation that is well recognised by local club cyclists and they will be free to maintain that identity, as an integral part of Cycling UK.

Are you no longer promoting and supporting cycle touring?

Touring is still very much a part of Cycling UK, and many of our members and Member Groups will continue to lead and enjoy tours as a regular fixture in our events calendar. Our members will continue to benefit from access to CTC Holidays and Tours to take advantage of the fantastic touring holiday opportunities we have on offer across the world. We have also recently provided more ride leader training to add hundreds of qualified leaders to our cohort of volunteers across the UK (and plan to run more ride leader training later this year).

What does this mean for the winged wheel?

There will be many charities who will be jealous of our rich history and heritage. Such iconic assets like our winged wheel appear all over the UK on pubs, hotels and resting stops, as a sign that cyclists are welcome guests. We will continue to promote our heritage as a very important part of our wider brand, which will include continuing to use the winged wheel as a heritage brand.