Falcon and Trek voice support for the ‘fighting fund’ - BikeBiz

Falcon and Trek voice support for the ‘fighting fund’

They join Specialized, Halfords, Ideal, Fisher Outdoor Leisure, Zyro, Bohle, Giant, Madison, Cyclemotion, Raleigh, Moore Large, Weldtite, Universal and BicycleBusiness. Along with the support from the ACT and many individual IBDs, the proposed fighting fund looks set to be a definite. But BAGB president Patrick Barker still needs more opinions and is surprised there has been precious little debate on the fighting fund bulletin board
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Of the ‘votes’ cast so far, 100 percent have been in favour of the resurrected levy scheme. But not many votes have been cast, and the fighting fund bulletin board, hasn’t exactly been abuzz with debate, controversial or otherwise.

Is this a sign that there is unanimous cross-industry support for the fighting fund and that Patrick Barker should press the go button?

It seems so.

If you have any comments to make, go to the bulletin board (if you’re a registered member of this site) or place your views on the fighting fund form (you don’t have to be a member to add text here).

Both the voting form and the bulletin board can be found at

http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/web/levy/

Patrick Barker has started to post his own comments to the bulletin board. He recognises that there’s general support for the idea of a fighting fund but that the devil is in the detail. The money raised by the fighting fund could be spread across a number of promotional projects, and these would be decided by a fighting fund panel.

“The details of how who and what were always going to be the tricky part. However I learnt a lot from the previous Sustrans levy and one of the key lessons from that was that any future fund should not be tied to any one project,” said Barker.

”First, because you lose the opportunity to react to circumstances as they change - and take our share of the various funds that become available at different times.

”Second, because if you commit yourself upfront to any one project you lose the ability to influence that project.

”Third, because when the project has achieved its goals you have to start all over again.

”That’s why I'm proposing a fighting fund rather than a fund for any specific project, although there are some good projects that seem obvious candidates.

”We need to find a formula that involves everyone, not just a small handful of bike brands. Communication is critical. Although supplier support is critical in getting the scheme off the ground, dealer support is just as important in keeping it going.

”It will be impossible to arrive at a proposal on administration and accountability that will satisfy everyone but the whole point of this public discussion is to canvass as many opinions as possible and end up with something that will be acceptable to most.

”There will always have to be an element of trust. It is crucial that the IBD understands and supports the project but it’s not going to be possible to ask every dealer to individually sign up. There must be some comfort in the very diverse range of suppliers who have already expressed support - these companies are agreeing in principle to part with some substantial amounts.

”If this proposal gets off the ground, the fund will be run in a way that is open and transparent - everyone will know which suppliers are participating and which are not.

”The decisions on how to spend (or not spend!)the money will be made by a management board made up of unpaid volunteers from inside and outside the industry, chosen for their skills rather than their postions. A key task for that board will be to maintain the support of the industry.”

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