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Quick survey will inform new Mass Participation Commission ideas

One of our regular readers and contributors ‘themartincox’ is lucky enough to be away in Aigle this week. As part of his MBA program with Nottingham Trent he is spending a week at the UCI headquarters doing a market study into mass-participation cycling (that’s sportives and the like to us normal folk). He's looking for your help with a quick survey that'll go inform the UCI's ideas about mass participation cycling.

The newly created UCI Mass Participation Commission met for the very first time at the UCI's office in Aigle, Switzerland, another sign of the change in Aigle after Brian Cookson’s election.

Following the two day session, Cookson said: “The Mass Participation Commission will be central to the UCI's desire to help drive the development of non-elite and amateur cycling, and growing the number and reach of mass participation events will be central to this aim. I was delighted to see the energy and commitment of the Commission in its first meeting and it confirmed to me that mass participation events have huge potential.

“With more leisure time and an increasing desire by governments and individuals to improve health, there is a real opportunity to significantly grow mass participation events across all territories. I regularly ride mass participation events and I want the UCI to help bring the pleasure they give to more and more people, whatever their age or cycling standard.”

The UCI points out that mass participation events are booming in many parts of the world and cites last year’s inaugural RideLondon event as demonstrating the appeal. The organisation says big events can  help introduce participants of all ages and levels into cycling.

Martin is out there working with the UCI to prepare a report into cyclists’ habits, and to see how the UCI can assist riders and event organisers in getting more from their days out on the bike.

He has a short anonymous survey, which looks like it will take about three minutes to fill in. It won’t save the cycling world, but it might help make it a slightly it a better place.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

16 comments

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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a bad question here

Are you more or less likely to attend an event if pro's are also riding the course?

Yes
Maybe - it wouldn't be a deciding factor though
No

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NeilXDavis [122 posts] 2 years ago
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Whats a sportive got to do with the UCI exactly?

Oh thats right theres tons of cash in organising these things...

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Notsofast [103 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd like to see less sportives, but those that remain to be huge closed road events, as things stand with more and more events every year they are becoming a victim of their own success and have gone from being tolerated to being actively disliked and that reflects on all cyclists 24/7 wether we like it or not.

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Initialised [298 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd like to see a levy on sportives that goes toward conservation, cycling advocacy, training and improving on and off road cycling infrastructure in the counties and towns the route traverses.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd take the survey and have a moan about helmet use in mass participation events being compulsory but i dont take part in aforementioned mass participation events so i'm guessing my views aren't needed.
 26

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levermonkey [660 posts] 2 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

I'd take the survey and have a moan about helmet use in mass participation events being compulsory but i dont take part in aforementioned mass participation events so i'm guessing my views aren't needed.
 26

Cycling is a broad church. All thought out opinions are valued.
1) I don't wear a cycle helmet day-to-day as I don't believe they add sufficient protection.
2) I like doing Sportives.
3) Sportive rules say I have to wear a helmet.
So 4) Whilst taking part in a Sportive I wear a cycle helmet. It isn't really a problem unless you make it one.  4

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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levermonkey wrote:

3) Sportive rules say I have to wear a helmet.
So 4) Whilst taking part in a Sportive I wear a cycle helmet. It isn't really a problem unless you make it one.  4

No, it's a problem because British Cycling have made it one by requiring helmets for sportive events. You consider helmets only not-helpful, but anyone who considers helmets actively harmful (rotational injury risk, or risk compensation effect, perhaps) has to chose between the sportive and their safety.

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Wookie [221 posts] 2 years ago
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How did this become a helmet debate?  7

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Yorkshie Whippet [521 posts] 2 years ago
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Wesselwookie wrote:

How did this become a helmet debate?  7

Because there's no lorries, buses, close "misses", day-glo, reflectives or lights involved?  1

I thought helmets were an insurance stipulation not an organisers requirement, same with tri bars.

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themartincox [493 posts] 2 years ago
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Hi everyone, thanks for the feedback on here - and even more so if you have filled in the form!

NeilXDavis wrote:

Whats a sportive got to do with the UCI exactly?

Oh thats right theres tons of cash in organising these things...

absolutely, and like all industries that have 'tons of cash' there are some firms that are better at it than others, and some that are frankly dire - why would the UCI be interested? perhaps to see how they can help get more people to have positive experiences on bikes rather than have tacks thrown on roads etc.

investment in the future is perhaps one way that the UCI can help - probably more effectively that a commercial organisation - so all opinions are valid etc

but seriously, another helmet debate, next thing we will all be calling for mandatory Rapha uniforms for all sportivists!

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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themartincox wrote:

- why would the UCI be interested? perhaps to see how they can help get more people to have positive experiences on bikes rather than have tacks thrown on roads etc.

investment in the future is perhaps one way that the UCI can help - probably more effectively that a commercial organisation - so all opinions are valid etc

I'd be very interested in teh UCI initiative to stop tacks being thrown on the road, unfortunately unless they introduce magic tyres that a puncture proof or hire a goon squad of ninjas to watch the roads and beat senseless anyone throwing tacks, i'm not sure how that could be done?

That said, and tongue now removed from cheek, if the UCI can get involved and improve cycling conditions and improve the future of cycling that is a positive step

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themartincox [493 posts] 2 years ago
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Ninja's, there's always room for ninja's!

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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Yorkshie Whippet wrote:

I thought helmets were an insurance stipulation not an organisers requirement, same with tri bars.

Then British Cycling should get a better sportive insurer that doesn't undermine its public campaigning. CTC rides and some independent sportives don't require helmets, but since BC made helmet use a requirement of the guidelines organisers must follow to be listed on BC's publications, some independent sportives have changed their policy.

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CarbonBreaker [86 posts] 2 years ago
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NeilXDavis wrote:

Whats a sportive got to do with the UCI exactly?

Oh thats right theres tons of cash in organising these things...

You might like to take a look at the survey, and what comes up if you say you organised an event in the past to answer that little nugget:

"Would a 'quality assured' accreditation (and use of corporate logo) be of use - Yes No Maybe Cost dependent"

Ah, Quality Assurance overhead by the UCI, that's worked well for frames, components and wheels...

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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I mentioned it because if the goal of the UCI and BC is to increase mass participation then (in my opinion) helmet compulsion prevents mass participation.
In my opinion.

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vorsprung [279 posts] 2 years ago
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That was a very silly survey

I have organised two events in recent years

One was a ride around the village to support the "historic churches" day. This was strictly for normal people on their cheap bikes. Hurrah. Ran that for 3 years. It was free to enter. Most people I got was 20

The other was a 400km audax starting at night from a pub. It cost £15 but included a manned stop with coffee in the middle of the night and a BBQ at the finish. I've run this event twice and hope to run it again next year. Last time had 50 entries

audax rides are of course under AUK rules and publicised by AUK publications etc etc. It's a bit of an underground thing though

British Cycling and the UCI don't have any interest in these kind of small scale cheap events as far as I can see. On continental europe there is a big overlap between the cheap audax/brevet rides and the grand sportives. But in the UK there is a kind of event industry that has little appreciation of people wanting to do their own thing. They have a template for events and if you don't fit the mould, too bad.

If there was some way (for example) a big organisation could provide comprehensive publicity and enough people to make the 400km audax fully signed, I'm sure I could double the entry fee and make it happen. This kind of support could make the event more accessible to more people.