British Cycling membership hits 80,000

'Giving the people what they want', grassroots activity & campaigning helps boost BC's numbers

by John Stevenson   October 7, 2013  

British Cycling Logo

With a second British Tour de France winner, its president Brian Cookson being elected to cycling’s top job at the UCI and the organisation being named Sports Governing Body of the Year at the Sports Industry Awards, British Cycling has had a rather good 12 months. The icing on the cake is a new record membership level of 80,000 which makes it the UK’s largest cycling organisation.

British Cycling’s annual report, published today, details its achievements over the last year. Perhaps the most remarkable is that the number of British Cycling members increased by 44% to 56,041 to 80,749 in the 12 months to September 2013. CTC, the UK's other large cycing body, has about 70,000 members.

This is the highest membership level since the British Cycling Federation was formed from the old National Cycling Union and British League of Racing Cyclists in 1959.

According to the report, the key to British Cycling’s growth has been a ‘give the people what they want’ approach. The report says: “Members tell us they like to receive tips and guidance on how to ride, train and set up their bike, as well as discounts on cycling gear and priority access to major events like the UCI Track World Cup. A desire to support British Cycling’s campaigning work, grass roots development and the Great Britain Cycling team are also increasingly cited as reasons for joining, while peace-of-mind liability insurance and legal support have remained core to our members’ needs.”

The reference to campaigning is telling, because British Cycling’s advocacy work has undoubtedly increased its profile and therefore membership. It has also added a powerful voice to that of organisations like CTC, Sustrans and London Cycling Campaign in calling for better facilities and justice for the cyclist victims of road collisions.

British Cycling credits the success of elite athletes with helping to grow the sport at grassroots level, but that is to perhaps underplay its own wide grassroots activity. British Cycling has been involved in organising Sky Rides at city and local levels; initiated the Breeze Network which organises rides for female riders, especially beginners; set up social cycling groups and grown the Go-Ride programme for young riders.

In the report’s foreword, his final one as British Cycling’s President before taking over as president of the UCI, Brian Cookson said: “The legacy of our remarkable success at the Olympics and Paralympics, our Tour De France winners and the success of our athletes across all disciplines continues to have a huge impact on all people in Britain being inspired to get on a bike.

“When I first joined British Cycling in 1997 it was on the brink of collapse, had limited resources, no medal record to speak of and a historic low in its membership. I am delighted to be leaving British Cycling with the sport’s governing body being in such fantastic shape and I know that there’s plenty more to come yet.”

Whether you're a BC member or not, the full annual report is available as a PDF.

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Nice to see someone in charge of a national governing body sign-off on such a high note, rather than slinking out the back door after some kind of scandal.
Thanks Brian and good luck! Applause

posted by pwake [312 posts]
7th October 2013 - 23:27

18 Likes

Well done British Cycling

The icing on the cake would be if in future they're able to stop their idiotic car-driving Olympians jumping on the cyclist victim-blaming bandwagon.

For me, this tarnishes the fine work the BC campaigns team has done

posted by fluffy_mike [84 posts]
8th October 2013 - 14:44

10 Likes

fluffy_mike wrote:
The icing on the cake would be if in future they're able to stop their idiotic car-driving Olympians jumping on the cyclist victim-blaming bandwagon.

Actually. the icing on the cake would be if the drivers/passengers of all British Cycling liveried vehicles handed out bottles and encouragement when they drove past you.

posted by farrell [1579 posts]
9th October 2013 - 8:29

6 Likes

Pleased to say that I joined last week. Was I the 80,000th member? Is there a prize..?

posted by Neil Smith 48 [16 posts]
9th October 2013 - 10:05

9 Likes

Congratulations to BC.

posted by BikeJon [60 posts]
9th October 2013 - 10:07

14 Likes