Bicycle User Groups

If you cycle to work, but you believe that your employer could be doing more to promote and support cycling within your workplace, perhaps you could do with a Bicycle User Group.

A Bicycle User Group, or BUG for short, is a group of pro-active & like-minded cyclists within an organisation or location concerned with furthering the interests of their two-wheeled colleagues.

As cycle commuters we typically require somewhere secure to lock our bikes and somewhere to shower & change. If you don’t have those where you work, your BUG should be campaigning to change that.

If you already have those facilities at your place of work, your BUG may wish to focus on encouraging other colleagues to take up cycling. They may make special arrangements to assist new cyclists, such as –

  • Offering education and advice
  • Organising group commuting bicycle buses or a buddy scheme
  • Social rides after work or at lunchtime
  • Bike Week events & displays
  • Campaigning for the introduction of a bike to work scheme or salary advance to assist with the purchase of a bicycle

A good employer will recognise the benefits of allowing their staff to commute by bicycle, such as improved health and fewer sick days; less squabbling over what is likely to be a limited number of car parking spaces and a lower carbon footprint. The BUG should be pushing against an open door, but this isn’t always the case.

Getting involved

The big question is, does your organisation have a BUG already? How do you find out? Well, sometimes this is easier said than done. Your BUG may not be afforded any space on any corporate intranet or bulletin board so you may have to improvise. Try approaching other cyclists you meet at the staff bike racks –chances are someone knows of a BUG already in existence.

Of course, if there really is no existing BUG you could try starting one! Fortunately, the CTC has some great advice on how to get started:

  • Share and discuss your ideas with other cyclists at your workplace first. If you don’t know who they are, attach leaflets to their bicycles, or put up a poster near any cycle parking – or just send out an email to everyone, if possible.
  • Arrange a meeting for anyone who’s interested. Out of courtesy, let your employer know beforehand.
  • At the meeting, take everyone’s contact details. Ask them how involved they want to be and if they have any special skills the BUG could use (design, writing newsletters, diplomacy etc).  Discuss your cycling wish list and work out the priorities.
  • Start with some simple, clear-cut objectives, e.g. 20p mileage rate for employees cycling on business (this is the permitted Inland Revenue rate for tax relief); covered cycling parking; drying room.
  • Research the above, estimate costs, and gather literature/leaflets to persuade your employer that promoting cycling has something in it for them as well, e.g. healthier staff; need for fewer costly car parking places; less congestion on the roads. CTC’s guide to Cycle-friendly Employers helps explain the benefits.
  • Work out who in your management structure should be able to help put your proposals into practice. Meet them, perhaps offering a presentation. Be constructive and well-informed and, above all, do your best to come out with managerial endorsement plus timetabled action points and, ideally, a budget. If your BUG membership is already impressive, let them know – it demonstrates the popularity of your project.

Source: Bicycle User Groups (BUGs) | CTC

Speaking of the CTC, it is possible for your BUG to join the CTC as an “Affiliated Group” for around £75 per year. This entitles your group to their Organiser’s Liability Insurance so you can organise BUG rides with a little extra peace of mind.

By affiliating your group to CTC, you will obtain our comprehensive Organisers’ Liability insurance cover (see attached PDF below) of up to £10 million to protect your event organisers and volunteer ride leaders against any claims made against them. In addition, affiliating to CTC provides:

Source: Affiliate membership for cycling clubs and groups of all types and sizes | CTC

This also allows members of your BUG to join the CTC for a reduced fee and enjoy the benefits that membership brings –third party insurance, among other things.

Do you have a BUG at work and, are you a member?

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