Why dont you join the CTC? straw poll, serious question

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  • Why dont you join the CTC? straw poll, serious question
  • Premier Icon GrahamS

    As regards BC, this is only for racers surely?

    No, BC also do a £28 Ride membership which is for non-racers:

    “Ride membership is perfect for commuters, sportive riders and leisure cyclists. It gives you access to liability insurance and lots of discounts.”

    I’ve been riding long enough to remember the bcf/BC statement saying they’re not interested in mountain biking, and they view it as a passing fad, like skateboarding. 😀

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    For hot_fiat, here’s Jon Snow being a coached and engaging spokeperson for the CTC:


    Premier Icon jameso

    if you don’t want to support CTC then don’t, it’s a free world and all that

    Totally agree – if you don’t want to support the CTC, there’s Sustrans or BC. Or ‘none of the above’, an equally valid option. Defending why you don’t join by propagating the idea that the CTC does nothing of use / does nowt for us MTBers / is full of beardy wierdies only (not attributing those comments to anyone, just generalised points!) is what’s frustrating. Generalisations and image count too much for some and a group like the CTC isn’t Apple or some other cool-media lot. Give em a chance )

    Hot fiat, to most non-cyclists, we’re all one and the same with those sword-wielding wizards I occasionally see playing in the woods locally ) Actually, a pretty funny bunch when I chatted to them once after a fave trail took me into the path of some kind of orc-wannabe – dunno who looked most scared.

    Premier Icon jameso

    if I visit the web pages of CTC local groups, how come many of them make no mention of mountain biking?

    Cos so many of us are on here doing nothing constructive : )

    Premier Icon Mugboo

    IF CTC or BC made better/open access for mountain biking there big thing for 2014, would there be a stampede of STW’rs signing up?

    I heard their spokeman this morning on Radio4 talking about potholes. His voice made me envision the stereotypical dweeb persona. Enough to put me right off membership permanently. Not that what he had to say was wrong in any way, but it’s bad enough working in IT (errr computaclub) without adding to the image. Slightly beyond that and yer into running around the woods with wooden swords and 30-sided dice.

    :face palm:

    If you’re serious then the issue is surely about you, not CTC (or any other cycling organisation).

    Many years ago I contacted Hampshire County Council to see if I could join their Access Forum. I considered myself as having a good knowledge of Rights of Way in the County and would be an asset for mountain bikers. Sadly, I did not receive the courtesy of a reply.

    I appreciate that might be frustrating. However, if you just got in touch once (or even twice) then you might not be suited or have the perseverance to work on this stuff. It almost always takes ages and has big tedious stretches but that’s just the stuff you have to get through to reach the end (which might also not be exactly what “you” wanted). Dealing with most LA’s, big public bodies is almost always like this, whatever you’re talking to them about.

    There’s all sorts of reasonable explanations for no response and equally there’s all sorts of reasons, though not so excusable, but perfectly, humanly explicable that might account for it. I’ve “not responded” to lots of people who have got in touch with me over the years; I forget, don’t have the answer, the time, the inclination, the opportunity. Most reasonable people will then email with a polite reminder (they can be impolite, but then I lose interest in them) or they ring, or they try a colleague.


    As a CTC cycling development officer this thread makes fascinating reading, having been with the organisation now for 4 years we have and still are adapting and changing our working practices to meet the ever changing needs of all cyclists…..and this is were the issue sometimes sits……in a similar way that people have stated that one organisation will never represent them 100%, we as an organisation can never fully represent all cyclists 100% all of the time either. With our unique and proud history that many of our members still appreciate and doff their cap to, we have to recognise this aspect of our heritage and the people we represent but equally we are aware of the need to be more in touch with the modern cyclist.

    As predominately a mountainbiker myself for the past 26 years I do understand the gaps there are in our provision, however we do represent our group more than (Some) people may be aware and this is another area we are working hard to address…..improving our brand awareness and profile.
    The work around Rogate et al has been mentioned already but we also have a great training programme for ride leaders and skills instructors and provide consultation to the industry.

    We are actively looking for ways to appeal to and meet the needs of the mountain bike community whilst still looking after our current member groups.

    The beardy, pannier riding stereotype is something we are accutely aware of, these riders hold equal standing with us as an organisation the issue for us is, is that we then don’t appeal to your average mountain biker, commuter etc.

    This is all evolving though and through development work out in the field the officers have and are continuing to name a few….build pump tracks on school fields, set up and deliver community led rides, map new routes, campaign for improved infrastructure and facilities, train ride leaders, run maintenace courses and much more…..perhaps we need to start shouting more.


    I’m glad I started this thread. I was pleasantly surprised so many people said they were members of CTC or BC. I honestly didnt think many were. Its heartening to see i was wrong.

    My original comparison was to the BMC as this topic came up on ukbouldering.

    Climbers seem to see the BMC as more something they #should# be a member of as they appear to strongly represent climbers and have that image, so people seem more pro joining the BMC as they see the benefit. They see the BMC taking a very active locally and nationally. Theres quite a lot of publicity for them at climbing walls and in magazines and at crags and competitions.

    I suspect if the CTC were able to activly publicise themselves better in their work for mountain biking than the jaded image may fade. Even e subtle rebranding to CTC-MTB might help mtb riders take up memberships. As people have said, what do they get for their money? Show them this in terms of mountain biking locally and antionally and I think membership will increase. This publicity might seem expensive but I think its valuable investment in the future of the sport.

    “I don’t want to have personal responsibility for others and be placed in a situation where legal action could be taken against me as an organisor.”

    Actually the CTC gives such cover to those leading runs provided basic steps are taken.

    It sounds to me like you are leaving yourself wide open in your STW rides activity “having organised plenty”. Signatures or not you will be identifiable as organiser so whether you want the personal responsibility or not, you have it.

    It’s not something you should have to worry about in an ideal world but sadly nowadays even fellow cyclists are looking for someone to sue when things go wrong.

    I saw a recent report of a case going through the courts where a cyclist seems (to me) not to have been paying enough attention/not allowing sufficient space or reaction time and is now sueing others in the group.

    There was a similar one a few years ago where the chap was successful but I reckon he’ll have difficulty finding riding chums now?

    There also has to be some recognition of the inter-group competition / confliction that occurs. No point hiding from it.

    An example – at one of the XC WC’s held at Dalby CTC staff were asked to leave (or something of that sort) by British Cycling.

    Hey ho, it’s not surprising this sort of thing happens sometimes but it’s still a shame and a bad thing for “us” in general.

    Premier Icon jsinglet

    I’m a member of the CTC, and run our local group website. We are quite evenly split between road and mtb, riding with the group is what got me back into mountain bikes about 10 years ago.

    We have regular night rides and Sunday rides, weekends away, and run an event once a year. Being part of the CTC gives us publicity locally and encourages new riders to give us a try.

    Each group is different, it’s not possible to lump us all under the same banner.

    Premier Icon eddie11

    Eh? Well this is a revelation. If the ctc do all that why the hell don’t they change their name? Britsh cycle club/campaign or some such.

    Not being a cycle tourist I have never felt the need to search them out, I just thought they represented a branch of cycling I don’t do like cycle Speedway, or downhill.


    If the ctc do all that why the hell don’t they change their name? Britsh cycle club/campaign or some such.

    british cycling?. Oh i see 😯

    In all serious i think they might be considering it – the last members questionnaire had questions along the lines of ‘do you know what CTC stands for?’ etc.

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    If the ctc do all that why the hell don’t they change their name?

    I think they should probably continue to be called CTC, but either come up with a more suitable backronym or just do a BP and announce that it is no longer initials and is just a name.

    Premier Icon jameso

    subtle rebranding to CTC-MTB

    With a CTC/MTB ac/dc spoof t-shirt. “that would rule..” : )

    turq, could you PM me, james.olsen.remote at hotmail.co.uk? Just got a q or contact lead request. Thanks.

    Premier Icon jameso

    The name ‘CTC’ shouldn’t be an issue as long as the intent is clear. Having a long history is good and re-brands often lose something in the translation.


    I was but didn’t renew.
    Several reasons. 1 was that it was just cash I didn’t have. I could have renewed as unwaged as they didn’t even ask for proof but that didn’t seem right.
    Main reason was that I realised that most of my money wasn’t spent on touring but campaigning which wasn’t what I joined for. I joined for a touring club. the fact that they are pushing the campaigning and trying to call themselves a national organisation annoyed me. I believe that you cannot be national organisation without being the governing body which the CTC isn’t.

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Main reason was that I realised that most of my money wasn’t spent on touring but campaigning which wasn’t what I joined for.

    Surely road safety and access law effects a tourer like any other cyclist?

    Did you really just want them to spend your membership money compiling lists of bike-friendly B&Bs? 😀

    I believe that you cannot be national organisation without being the governing body

    Surely it’s “national” in that it campaigns on issues across the whole nation?

    e.g. similarly the National Blind Children’s Society campaigns nationally on issues, but I don’t think they actually govern any blind children.


    But I wasn’t interested in joining an organisation that spent its time on campaigning. I didn’t get what I thought I was getting. I could have looked harder first but that didn’t tell me everything.
    I am not convinced anyway as the one thing that this country needs to do is stick 2 zeros on any fine anywhere, full stop. Plus minimum near life sentences for any accident causing death. Education won’t work, bullying will.
    And I disagree about the national . It suggests that it represents cycling nationally and is the voice of cycling. It isn’t. I see a campaigning organisation as a separate thing to a recreational one. I joined the RSF to ride green lanes with like minded souls and the TA to ride and talk about 3 wheels.
    The National blind thing is not a sport and has no alternative.(I won’t comment further as I didn’t know it existed) BC is the national cycling organisation just like the ACU is for motorcycling.
    I have no negative issues about the CTC, it just didn’t offer me what I wanted, that’s all and somebody did ask.

    Premier Icon seven

    For me it is the insurance, free legal advice, and the discount in most bike shops and other outdoor shops, membership pays for itself every year in the savings 🙂

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl

    It sounds to me like you are leaving yourself wide open in your STW rides activity “having organised plenty”. Signatures or not you will be identifiable as organiser so whether you want the personal responsibility or not, you have it.

    It’s not something you should have to worry about in an ideal world but sadly nowadays even fellow cyclists are looking for someone to sue when things go wrong.

    I do think that you’re being melodramatic with this. All over the UK people organise activities without signing a piece of paper. Making things ‘official’ is the quickest way to deter anyone from being public-spirited.

    Years ago I used to coach teenagers for cross-country running, both at school and a local athletics club. My signature was not required for either of these activities.

    Many people on here have enjoyed Forum rides at Swinley Forest, being shown around the trails by riders with local knowledge. Pre-Trail Centre obviously. One ride, in sub-zero temperatures, saw over 50 people.

    * shakes head *

    I’m in, so I can get a better rate on bike hire insurance, but happy to be a member.

    They were also very handy for SSUK. Rather than a full on XC race on privates land, I started a club, affiliated it with ctc, then we were insured for a great big one speed time trial. This saved an incredible amount of money and work. For the price of a normal XC race we got three days camping, a dead pig, a poet, beer, music, a dj at the fire pit, beer and a freebee. And a load of firewood, a caterer, good weather, cider etc.

    Cinnamon Girl, in essence I agree that should be the situation and normally nothing occurs but the essential words in your post are “years ago”.

    Having the names, no signature necessary, gives the CTC leader protection with the CTC’s insurers and the claim probably would not come from a participant but an affected third party.

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    I’m perplexed by your logic mattsccm. You say you don’t want to join an “an organisation that spent its time on campaigning” but then go on to say:

    the one thing that this country needs to do is stick 2 zeros on any fine anywhere, full stop. Plus minimum near life sentences for any accident causing death.

    which sounds like (a very extreme version of) the changes the CTC are campaigning for in their Road Justice campaign: http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/

    How do you envisage those changes happening if you don’t want to campaign for them?

    The National blind thing is not a sport

    True, but touring, commuting and transport cycling are not sports either.

    BC is the national cycling organisation

    I disagree. It may be the national organisation for competitive cycle racing, but it doesn’t really speak for me as a commuter, tourer, casual roadie and occasional mountain biker.

    Admittedly BC is changing too and getting a bit less race focussed these days, as it now has the non-racey Ride membership, is supporting the SkyRide stuff, and even does a little campaigning. But CTC have been doing that stuff a lot longer.


    As a long time mountain biker, member of CTC and BC then more recently a CTC employee, I have to say that this thread is pure gold. It gives a great insight into the positives, negatives and more importantly perceptions of CTC, all of which are fully understood and felt within the organisation. The same frustrations, challenges and opportunities are already being worked on. Being all things to all riders is no easy task.

    All of the statements made so far including “Who are CTC?”, “What does it stand for?”, “What do they stand for?”, “Aren’t they all wierdy beardy?”, “I don’t agree with all they stand for”, “They don’t do much for mountain bikers”, “They do loads for mountain bikers” etc are fantastic insights which will help the organisation work out how best to support and engage with all the wide and varied cycling groups and disciplines that exist.

    The fact that the organisation is made up of tourers, commuters, road racers, mtb xc, mtb downhill, cxers, bmxers means that the passion for all disciplines is there and whilst we don’t all agree on everything we generally want the same things – to enjoy riding our bikes and to help others to so the same.

    If it’s of interest, the Facebook page ctc_mtb (http://www.facebook.com/ctcmtb) will offer a small insight into some of the MTB support work they have been on with (maybe a bit too under the radar?)

    I also chair a local volunteer group called Newbridge Park who have developed a disused quarry and neglected woodland to create a mini bike park for kids and locals. CTC have been really supportive and are even working on helping with our site and event insurance. A number of the committee have also just completed the CTC Trail Inspection and Repair Course which is one of the only such courses that exist and is a huge benefit to groups like us in terms of formalising what we do and giving us backing for insurance etc.

    My post isn’t just to bleat on about how much CTC are doing for MTB but to say thanks for such valuable feedback (positive and negative) which I’ve already passed on.

    Unknowingly you’ve helped shape an organisation which intend to be the first place MTBers go for all things non competitive.

    I’ve never typed so much on a forum so cheers for reading!

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Nice one rideguide – cheers!

    I’ve not joined any professional cycling body, even though I do an absolute ton of miles and time on the bike (just under 5000 miles and 12 days of riding so far for the year).

    My main reason for not joining either BC or CTC is the mere fact that I’m tight, and I don’t see them being value for money.

    BC – unless I’m racing regularly is totally not worth it. The occasional race I enter, I’ll just (reluctantly) buy a day licence.

    CTC – I always perceived this as an outspoken campaign group for hippy cyclists – generally people who think they have more rights than other people purely because they are sitting on a bike. Again – costs money, and will probably mean more crap through the mailbox. No thanks.

    I’m a member of LCC, Katie of CTC.

    LCC have massively upped their game in the last couple of years. Personally I partly believe they’ve been driven into action by some fantastic work by a loose group of bloggers. Their Go Dutch campaign has actually started to have an impact. We’re not seeing the results yet – infrastructure takes time to build – but it feels like the supertanker might be starting to turn (at least in London).

    CTC does try to represent a very wide group of cyclists. They have covered a fair amount of MTB stuff in the mag for years, and have had an off road rep who seems active. However, they do still suffer from having a significant subsection of the membership who believe mtb is evil, vehicular cycling is the one true way, and who would probably be happier if nothing had changed since 1970.

    They’re playing catch up on policy – for every statement that they support proper infrastructure there will be a submission to a consultation that suggests they still believe a bit of training and a poster campaign will make the roads safe for everyone to use. The recent fiasco with their ‘cycle to school’ page is symptomatic.

    However, the way to change the views of these organisations is from the inside – they’re the best we have – so you should be members – whether it’s LCC, CTC or BC matters less

    Oh – and I think they’re policy on helmets is extremely sensible.


    The CTC don’t push hard enough. Any lobbying won’t create what I am on about. Speeding should be so sodding stigmatised that it is the same as child abuse. Its a crime. Ditto using phones. Kill a cyclist should be life. You chose your actions, you kill, Life. Extreme yes . Any campaign organisation will compromise, they have to as you don’t usually get extremes what ever their value.
    But that isn’t the point of the thread. I keep saying. I just don’t want to join a campaigning organisation. I don’t disagree with the idea. I just don’t want to join it. I don’t object to Comic relief but I don’t give either.
    It has to be said that what is best for cycling is a matter of opinion. I personally don’t think, for example, that more MTBers mean that its a good thing. In fact maybe it is the opposite. The more people I see the less I enjoy it. The FoD has been trashed by MTBers in places. and much of that is deliberate. It was much nicer 20 years ago. Sportives mean more cyclists. And just why is that good?
    I ‘ll say it again. If you agree with the CTC the fine. I am sure they do very many useful things. I sympathise with many of them but the OP asked why people were not members.

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