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June 2012


Bike Hub is the UK cycle levy

British bicycle industry’s voluntary levy continues to grow and thrive By Phillip Darnton

In its seventh anniversary year, the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, speaking at the House of Commons, singled out Bike Hub projects for special mention expressing his appreciation to the cycle industry for their continued support for initiatives to promote safe cycling, especially to young people. He particularly commended Bike It, The Big Pedal and the Bike Hub app. All these have been funded by Bike Hub, and all continue to have a real impact on the future of cycling. So how successful has Bike Hub been? BikeBiz last


published a progress review in July 2011, and since then the industry’s voluntary levy scheme has continued to thrive. Contributions in 2011 have exceeded £400,000; or, to be precise, £404,993. The final quarter of the year was particularly encouraging with a total of £120,300. In three out of the four last calendar years, contributions have topped £400,000; at £439,000 in 2008 - £434,000 in 2009 and £376,000 in 2010. Poor weather inevitably depresses retail sales, meaning a stock build-up with distributors, and hence a slacking of new orders to suppliers. So the dip in contributions in the year 2010 is in part offset by the increase at the start of 2011. Whichever

way you look at it, the cycle industry has donated over £3 million, mainly to schemes to get a new generation riding bikes. The figures are all the more remarkable, since there are few of the biggest retailers engaged; not Halfords; not Wiggle or Chain Reaction. The supermarkets are not contributing, nor the mail-order or internet suppliers. It’s all the more credit to the famous cycle brands, Specialized, Giant, Trek among them, and wholesalers like Fishers – and the hundreds of Independent Dealers who have really made the Bike Hub idea work. At just £1 for every £1000 of purchases, the achievement in total is truly remarkable – and it’s unique to the UK. It’s the only market


where suppliers and retailers work together, and continue together, “to safeguard the future of cycling.”

APPROACH From the start in 2004, it was recognised that Bike Hub would need to meet a series of criteria: * Invest only in well-managed, professional projects * Ensure that funds were properly spent and properly evaluated * Achieve a good national spread of investment * Focus on the new generation of young people, to ensure that they did not become the “generation lost to cycling” * That all the contributions went to the projects selected, and did not have ‘administrative’ costs For all of these reasons, the Bike Hub projects have been consistent over the past seven years to create continuity and expertise, and have been with large well-organised charities and NGO’s. Administration is handled by the Bicycle Association for Bike Hub at no on-cost, and the only charges are the auditor’s fees.

National and regional government. By the end of 2011, Bike It had over 80 full-time officers across England, Scotland, Wales and in Northern Ireland, working in 950 schools (mainly, primary schools), getting kids on bikes and learning to ride, and parents and teachers supporting their efforts. In these ‘Bike It’ schools, regular cycling to school – not necessarily every day, but on a regular schedule – has, in almost every case, at least doubled. There is still lots to go for – since there are over 21,000 primary schools in the UK, so Bike It is only just a small start; but Bike Hub’s contribution of £250,000 p.a. is a vital contribution.

The Big Pedal This, too, is a Sustrans’ project. Each March, children are encouraged to take part, over a three week period, in a ‘virtual’ bike race, called ‘The Big Pedal’. Using up-to-the minute software, with a lot of appeal to 9-11 year olds, the Big Pedal gets kids to log their trips to school, and with some smart tech to make it “fairer” for everyone – new cyclists, girls and boys, long trips and short – a PROJECTS series of schools can win prizes for their effort. It’s a competition which always appeals to children, In 2011, Bike Hub once again invested the majority of its contributions with Sustrans, and their schools. It was so successful in 2011 that Bike Hub has just funded it again in 2012, with the national cycling and walking charity. the target of 1000 schools together pedalling 1 million (virtual) miles. The scheme has been run Bike It This was the brainchild of the Bicycle Association, on £40,000 p.a. from Bike Hub, and looks set to and has been managed by Sustrans since the start. become a fixture in schools’ Spring Activities calendar. Good fun – and good for healthy It began with just four officers: young men and exercise too! women who worked full time with ten schools each to create a ‘cycling culture’ in Samsung Bike Week every one. Although Bike Week is always a Since those early days, Bike June event, when retailers are It has grown and grown. The usually at their busiest, it is Department for Transport is on nevertheless also the time when record as considering it “the most the weather is at its best (!), and successful single initiative for people are most willing to get on cycling” in the a bike. Bike Week has worked to last decade. promote just that for over 75 Despite the years and since Bike Hub began – with a economic difficulties of the past challenge from Government to put some money two years, Bike It has continued where its potential customers were – it has to grow with Bike Hub support contributed £30,000 p.a. to the overall costs of often as the ‘trigger’ for other this National grass-roots scheme. In 2011, contributions, both from



however, the Coalition government stopped their support (£75,000 p.a.), and Bike Week looked as if it might not continue; so, to keep this long-standing event, and with it the MP’s Annual Bike Ride, Bike Hub agreed to increase its support for one year to £65,000. About 1200 organisers are involved, and up and down the country over 400,000 people get on their bikes to celebrate the pleasure of cycling. It’s a worthwhile cause, and increasingly is catching the eye of potential sponsors – on 16th May it was announced that Samsung would be the headline sponsor of Bike Week in 2012. Without Bike Hub’s interim support it would have been much harder to attract such a high-profile sponsor. Bike Hub app As smartphones conquer the market – along with tablets and notebooks – so the app market has really ‘taken off ’. The Bike Hub app runs on both Google and Android systems, and provides, quite simply the best journey planner a cyclist – any cyclist – could wish for. It’s free to download and over ¼ million people have the app on their phones now. It provides a choice of routes – direct, quiet, easy – and in 2011 was improved to include “circular tours”, ideal for a Sunday afternoon ride out and back again.

Bike Hub invested £36,000 in update/development in 2011, and as it hits all the cycle shops in the country, it’s probably the Bike Hub scheme’s cheapest advert! Don’t have a smartphone and want to see how the app works? There’s a new “how to” video on YouTube: FUNDING GOING FORWARD Inevitably, since contributions fluctuate quarter-by-quarter – and who knows if the retail market will grow in 2012? – it is appropriate to be cautious in the forward allocation of funds, especially since most of our projects are reliant on people, and so cannot be terminated at short notice without a serious impact on employment.

BIKE HUB ROAD TRIP Velocity global Conference 2012 in Vancouver has asked for a presentation on the work of Bike Hub for an international audience. Phillip Darnton, the Executive Director of the Bicycle Association, will attend the conference at the end of June; the registration fees will be paid by the Bicycle Association and travel and accommodation will be a personal expense.

Press coverage of Bike Hub in The Sunday Times and BikeBiz



So far the programme for 2012 has committed £200,000 to ‘Bike It’ with Sustrans; £40,000 also to Sustrans for the Big Pedal, and £30,000 for National Bike Week beginning on June 16th (with the MPs’ Bike Ride as the ‘trailer’ on June 12th in London). The industry is also the prime sponsor of the “Summer of Cycling” in 2012, which has the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group as its patrons. Its aim is simple – but quite challenging! It’s to get keen cyclists in

Press coverage of

Small Bike Hub in BikeBiz grants from the Department for Transport as well as several Train Operating Companies have got the idea going, and Bike Hub is planning to give its support, as the scheme gathers momentum.

LOOKING AHEAD the UK to find a colleague, a relative or a friend who doesn’t cycle, and get them on a bike in Olympic year. If all keen cyclists got just one “saddle shy” friend on a bike, we would massively increase cycling in 2012. Find out more at

Bike Hub has given a tremendous boost to a range of activities, particularly focussed on young people, the cyclists of the future. The contributions, and the enduring support for Bike Hub are a tribute to the commitment of hundreds of small businesses across the UK to “There are many organisations whom Bike Hub would like to attract – no reason why we should not collect £1m per year.” PHILLIP DARNTON Executive director Bicycle Association

If you are interested in supporting Bike Hub please contact or call 02476 553838.


their vision of cycling for years to come. There achievements, and the backing of the major brands, have demonstrated that great schemes can be created with individually modest contributions: £1 for every £1000 of purchases has generated over £3 million so far!

The message is simple: Bike Hub works; it works well; and it gets results. So please just keep doing it!

Extract:  Financial  Statement  –  Year  ended 31  December  2011 BIKE  HUB    







2011      £    

2010  £

Income Bike Hub  contribu2ons   Bank  interest              






404,918                      75   _______  

376,106              163 _______







404,993 _______  

376,269 _______

Expenditure Sustrans           Bike  week                Get  Cycling             Cycling  Scotland           Darlovelo             Age  Well  on  Wheels           Website  design           iPhone  and  Android  Apps  Design       Administra2on           UKCA  subscrip2ons           Provision  for  future  expenditure  brought  forward   Provision  for  future  expenditure  carried  forward                



265,000    65,000      17,000      20,000     -­‐     -­‐      28,000      10,680      26,136        4,284          1,500     (250,819)      218,211   ________  

250,000  30,000    20,000    50,000    30,000    30,000    22,400    21,140    18,404      5,444      2,850 (354,788)    250,819 ________











Net surplus/(deficit)  for  Bike  Hub  





404,993 ________  

376,269 ________



NOTES i.   Provisions  for  future  expenditure  are  designed  to  cover  on-­‐going  commitments  to  Sustrans  for  Bike  It  officers,  who   work  on  an  academic  year,  not  a  calendar  year.   ii.  covers  the  costs  for  all  Bike  Hub  communica2ons,  principally  via  Bike  Biz. iii.   Website  design  and  apps  design  costs  are  for  the  con2nuing  development  of  the  Bike  Hub  app. iv.   ‘Administra2on’  is  the  cost  of  the  auditors’  fee  for  Quarterly  and  Annual  verifica2on  of  contribu2ons  and  accounts. v.   “Get  Cycling”  and  “Age  Well  on  Wheels”  are  part  of  the  New  Ideas  Fund,  launched  in  2009.    These  project  s  were   funded  un2l  the  end  of  2011.  

Bike Hub newsletter June 2012  

Bike Hub newsletter June 2012

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