Sunday, 15 December 2013

Advocacy and industry

Traffic Jam (homemade) And here's the big difference in approach to advocacy by US and UK.

US-based Trek director of product development and marketing says "Our goal has always been to help create more places to ride" (Source: bikeradar) and there is more inspiring stuff from John Burke, Trek Director, (himself) here speaking at the League of American Bicyclists this year:

Here and here too.

All these statements acknowledge deeply the reason why people don't cycle and vow to tackle that, at source, head on. Yet the UK bike industry (supported and / or represented by Bicycle Association GB and Bike Hub) tend to pussy foot around and leave the root cause rather unaddressed. When you ask them they still talk about "encouraging more people to cycle" and "more people on bikes, more often". And? That's it.

I'd conclude from what I have seen, read and learnt today that the US is miles ahead in understanding and harnessing the powers of advocacy. Politicians, retailers and advocates working hand in hand. Maybe our US American counterparts are less afraid of rocking the boat, causing friction and conflict and debate to resolve this - not shy to ask, to combine forces, to work together.

If you'd like to find out more about how muddled and muddied the waters of the UK bike industry are - read this 'self-explanatory' bikebiz article.

Time for change.

Maybe confidence and trailblazing starts with advocacy.

Then industry can follow.

The Bicycle Association has joined #space4cycling - and that must be a good thing. Phillip Darnton, executive director of the Bicycle Association is quoted to say (and pardon my interjections): “To encourage more people to cycle [sigh, but wait...], it is essential that, community by community, we plan a range of schemes which really make cycling feel safer [good!] - and give confidence [sigh] to new cyclists. The biggest deterrents to cycling are the volume, speed and proximity of motor traffic [yes, and?]. The London Cycling Campaign has been hugely successful with its 'Love London Go Dutch' programme, and we are very pleased to be associated with its successor. We are very confident that it will gather enormous public support.”

Maybe this is the start of a reelly beautiful relationship.


  1. Replies
    1. Interesting. Kinda along the same lines? (It's a fascinating subject: how to break out, for a minority out-group to become mainstreamed...)