National Bike Week 1999 – targeting non-cyclists

This article was published in 1999, in Newsletter 23.

Last year we organised ten events for NBW, and got very wet in about five of them. Unfortunately the weather seemed to hit the Free Breakfast the hardest, during which Dave Earl and I gave a spirited live interview to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire under their brolly. We achieved our two main aims of the week: publicity (and hence new members) and fun (especially looking back on it on video). The strain of arranging so many events including having to be on call to give live interviews takes its toll and all involved wanted a little break from bikes afterwards!

Looking back, many of the events we ran last year were very popular with cyclists, consistent with our membership drive. This year we want more people to become cyclists. So how do you get the Great British Public onto a bike seat again for the first time since they left school? How do you persuade them that cycling is going to be better for them than sitting inside their cars, listening to traffic reports? These questions have been the principal focus of the NBW planning groups over the past few months, and so thorny are they that we’ve seen active membership of this subgroup dwindle from a peak of six down to two.

Our plans for the week in ’99 include the very popular free cyclists’ breakfast and Dr Bike clinic. This year the big new event will be Bike Buddies. Government policy is to urge more people onto bikes, but if you haven’t ridden in a while the process of getting a bike can be daunting. Bike buddies will be volunteers from the Campaign (you?) who are willing to spend time during NBW talking to, guiding and advising new cyclists. The process will begin with a Start Cycling Day, which will be an expanded Dr Bike event, with help desk offering route planning and friendly faces to talk about choosing a bike.

We hope to use mainstream advertising to plug the event, specifically to attract non-cyclists. However this costs real money which we are now seeking to raise. There are plenty of opportunities for volunteers here! Visit the Campaign’s NBW web site or telephone Simon for specific details and timetable.

National Bike Week is 12-20 June this year, and is nationally co-ordinated by the CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club) and supported by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in a new two-year partnership.

Simon Nuttall phone 412006