Cyclists Associations in the UK
If you’re an active cyclist or simply thinking about retrieving your dusty bike from the back of the garage for the first time, you’re not alone when it comes to improving your cycling skills. Cycling is the third most popular sport in the UK, with over two million adults riding at least once a week. Help, advice and training is on-hand from the major cycling associations that look after and promote the interests of cyclists of all ages and abilities.
British Cycling is recognised across the world as the official governing body for cycling in the UK and is an affiliate member of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – the sport’s international federation. With 95% of its activities related to competitive cycling, British Cycling has sporting success as its leading priority.
However, while you’ll recognise its familiar team logo and colours at national and international competitive events, British Cycling does not simply represent professional athletes such as Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish. Instead, the organisation governs the sport from the absolute beginner through to the Olympic gold medal winner, and has an active role in promoting cycling amongst children and first timers, with a focus on maintaining and improving road safety. Also, British Cycling encompasses the six disciplines of this sport: cyclo-cross, road, mountain, track, cycle speedway and BMX.
The growth in membership of British Cycling, from 15,000 in 2005 to over 100,000 last year, reflects the surge in popularity of the sport across the UK, to some extent a legacy of Great British cycling success in recent years, for example at the World Championships and Olympic Games.
With one eye on securing future medals at international competitions, British Cycling is also firmly committed to improving participation at grassroots level and organises extensive coaching programmes and cycling events in which members of the public can actively participate. For example, the Go-Ride programme has delivered in excess of 400,000 training opportunities for children and young people and enables them to participate in competitive cycling events without the need for a racing licence.
Similarly, its Sky Ride programme offers a variety of opportunities, including guided local rides and city centre cycling events, with over 360,000 people having engaged in the latter to date.
For cyclists of different abilities and aspirations, British Cycling offers a variety of benefits including personal liability insurance, expert nutrition and training advice and legal support regarding cycling issues. A network of qualified coaches is also available to offer training in every discipline of the sport for those wishing to advance beyond leisure cycling and to engage in the many competitive events that take place across the country.
CTC: The National Cycling Charity
CTC’s focus is engaging as many people as possible in cycling for leisure and is the largest organisation of its type in the UK. As well as providing advice to anyone wishing to cycle safely, from young children to pregnant women, the CTC has an active voice campaigning for cyclists’ rights and organising local recreational events in which people can take part. Enjoyment and safety are high priorities for the organisation which aims to provide cyclists with the support they need to make cycling a fun and safe leisure activity, rather than a competitive sport which falls within the remit of British Cycling.
At present, CTC’s membership exceeds 70,000, with its members coming from all walks of life.
For any question regarding leisure biking, CTC is the first port of call, whether the issue concerns safety when cycling with a child, choosing a bike for the first time or cycling safely to university.
CTC also boasts an extensive network of local affiliated groups who organise training programmes and events for cyclists of all ages and abilities, as well as campaigning regionally on issues regarding cycling and road safety.
Membership of the CTC entitles members to third party insurance, legal advice and discounts on cycling accessories and bicycle insurance, among other benefits.
Cycling Associations For All
So whether you’re hoping to develop your cycling skills to win a local or national competition, or simply want to improve your health and fitness and enjoy a new leisure activity, there is an abundance of advice, events and training opportunities from the two leading cycle associations, which will help to make you a safer, more proficient cyclist.