One of the recent scatter-gun press approaches from the in-house PR team at Sustrans has come up trumps as the Dandy is to devote a whole issue to cycling topics. Due out on Friday with a cover date of June 10th the Pedal Power issue features all of the Dandy characters getting into bike-related scrapes.
This isnt a promotional short-run one-off just for Sustrans, its the regular Dandy.
Desperate Dan unearths a Stone Age bike when he helps out Tony Robinson of the Channel 4 Time Team (who just happens to be a Sustrans patron); Korky the Cat rides a roadster along a washing line; and Beryl the Peril goes on a hair-raising tandem ride with her dad. Theres also a bike-themed adventure strip called Ridge Rescue 4 which features four stunt riding rescuers and Jarvis Cocker a keen cyclist makes a cameo appearance in P5.
PERSONAL BIT FROM THE EDITOR
Sustrans were also responsible for four major pro-bike pieces in this weekends broadsheets. Sustrans, as a charity doing something tangible, gets excellent media coverage for cycling.
Our levy vote is showing that the majority of people who have voted so far want the levy cash given to a PR and marketing campaign. Yet diverting the bicycle levy away from Sustrans and into a bike specific campaign handled by a marketing agency more interested in its fee than the good of cycling is probably not all that bright.
Theres no point encouraging newbies to start cycling if theres nowhere for them to cycle. Sustrans is putting routes on the ground. They may not be perfect, much of them may, in fact, be hot air, but they are the best weve got and its an infrastructure that can be built up over time.
Next year the Millennium cash runs out so Sustrans are going to need that £1m much more than they need it this year. Is the bike industry going to shoot itself in the foot by pulling the rug from underneath an organisation that has helped put cycling quite literally on the map? (There three conflicting metaphors in one sentence, not bad, huh?)