Bicycle Industries Fund to “show consumers which brands support grassroots and modal share development”

The Bicycle Association of Great Britain has issued a rallying call for the UK trade to re-invest in cycling’s future, whether financially or in advocacy efforts.

Having mooted a further funding drive to the long-established Bike Hub Levy, the industry trade body is looking for bicycle business feedback on whether a substantial push on advocacy could help turn around the fortunes of a presently ailing trade. The move is in part prompted by a continued cold shouldering of cycling by the current UK Government, under which levels are falling again after a period of growth.

“When the Cycle to Work Alliance pulled together, each member chipped in an equal share to pay for an advocacy group to raise the profile of both the schemes and cycling to work and it worked and continues to function tremendously,” Steve Garidis, operations director at the Bicycle Association told CyclingIndustry.News.

With a view to formally launching the Bicycle Industries Fund in the New Year, Garidis is currently consulting the industry on how we should raise funds and where resource would be best dedicated.

“The UK bicycle business has been fighting for more or less the same number of sales for some considerable time now, so we’ve really got to pull together to ensure cycling’s growth doesn’t slide if we’re to grow as an industry,” added Garidis. “The trade has a huge collective voice that needs to switch on to advocacy efforts. This new drive won’t be purely be based around financial contribution, we’d like to see more time spent on initiatives to drive grassroots participation, even supply of bicycles by brands to such things would be welcome.”

The Bike Hub Levy, which has been going since 2003, has to date raised £4.2 million from industry donations largely generated as a small percentage of sales. This will continue and funds will continue to be spent on British Cycling’s Go-Ride youth programme, Sustrans’ Big Pedal event and campaigning efforts by the London Cycling Campaign and Cycling UK (CTC).

Projects for individual schemes with a £20,000 cap have also been funded, including Age Well on Wheels, Darlovelo and the Get Cycling project in Hull and Sheffield. The free to download Bike Hub app, which has recently been upgraded, is also a beneficiary allowing cyclists clever route finding, as well as pointing to local bike shops..

This money, says Garidis, has been spent wisely, but still doesn’t meet the costs of ensuring children all get BikeAbility training, for example.

The Bicycle Industries Fund, should it come to fruition, may loop back in terms of return on investment. It has been mooted that contributors would be acknowledged as drivers of grassroots cycling on promotional websites.

Garidis concludes: “The aim would be to find a way to identify contributing brands with a fair trade style marking and to alert consumers to this. One would hope that there would be a knock on effect among consumers. If the 30,000 kids a year put through Go Ride knew which brands supported their development they’d probably be encouraged to buy with those labels.”

Should you wish to talk advocacy with the Bicycle Association, Garidis welcomes new and existing members thoughts on the new fund and how the industry can once again grow the pie. You can email him here.

Bicycle Association members benefit from a whole host of benefits, from technical guidance, right through to playing a hand in building accurate market reports to which they will have exclusive access.