Update from Cycling UK's Chief Executive

CTC has now rebranded to Cycling UK

Update from Cycling UK's Chief Executive

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.




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Bland and poorly designed logo. Time and money spent on spin and PR that could have been spent on campaigning to improve things for cycling/cyclists. Major change like this should have been put to the membership (remember them ?).

Bad change handled badly by the organisers (which raises other questions)

Unfussy, straightforward and descriptive. It says what we do - and says it without ambiguity. Well done and thank you.

Am I the only person in Scotland to be unhappy at the name CyclingUK?

Can you tell us how many members in Scotland you have consulted in comparison with members in England (and Wales, and presumably NI), please? I can't remember receiving anything myself specifically.

45% of the Scottish electorate voted to leave the UK. Of course I haven't done the research to know the proportion of CTC members who voted yes, and perhaps it is a small number (considering that a lot of members are older, and the older generation did tend to vot no). The problem, like at Westminster, is that England is far more populated than Scotland, so a lot of your news-letters/ political campaigns are to do with London or English cycling issues. Nothing wrong with that, but that cannot be representative for the folks in Scotland.

So, as there was a CTC Scotland, what are you going to do about Cycling UK/ Scotland? Can we skip the UK bit please? It feels like the business of the driving licence: no sooner was the indyref done and dusted, with the remarkable results we all know, the UK government proudly announced that the union flag will be appearing on new driving licence issued. I resent that.

Even the Ramblers have their own entity up in Scotland. Can you not do the same? Perhaps i don't need to be a member of ex CTC anymore.

I made similar points in an e-mail to HQ as soon as I read of this change, which came out of the blue and has the taint of 'palace coup' about it. 'UK' is a toxic brand for many in Scotland, and doubtless for some in Northern Ireland and Wales too. The new name will certainly be a turn-off for some who would otherwise have been inclined to become members. And when did CTC cease to accept membership from the Irish Republic? Besides, it is extraordinarily inept to choose a name which will inevitably cause confusion with another organisation and an online magazine: British Cycling; and Road Cycling UK.

Bland brand is my verdict... and the name too similar to British Cycling, which is for racers and could cause confusion in the minds of that general public CTC claims they are trying to reach.

I would prefer 'UK Cyclists' Club'. Without 'club', you feel like you belong to the AA, not a group of real, like-minded people. And the 'champion' bit suggests the organisation is /just/ about campaigning, which it is not.

I miss any picture in the logo. I need a 32x32 icon to represent CTC on my website, so I used to use the little bike pictogram. This logo is words only and lacks anything you could make that small.

I'm a retrogrouch who disliked the change from "CTC Gazette" to "cycle" and the disappearance of the winged logo. I also dislike the feel of fait accompli that comes from the Council decision.

Despite this I shall probably hold my nose and vote to confirm.