Seventy-five bicycle advocates and industry leaders met at Eurobike yesterday afternoon in an Advocacy Summit organized by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF). By working together and lobbying Governments, billions of Euros could cascade down to help grow grassroots cycling, said Manfred Neun, president of the ECF. [Pix here]
Kevin Mayne, ECF’s director of development, said: “Advocacy is the most powerful force for generating and protecting the bicycle sales we have but it needs investment from the whole sector.”
Mayne was appointed to his current role at the ECF in March and is charged with raising money for the Cycling Industry Club, the industry branch of the ECF. The Cycling Industry Club was launched at Eurobike last year with the goal of raising €1m to fund lobbying efforts. Two-thirds of this total has now been reached, with new pledges made at Eurobike yesterday, including investment from the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association. Giant president Tony Lo, chairman of TBEA, told the Advocacy Summit that TBEA pledged €50,000 to the Cycling Industry Club per year for the next three years. Lo also said that Giant would provide €100,000 per year "ongoing."
Stan Day, president of SRAM, had been seeking pledges for the Cycling Industry Club from other American companies. Specialized and Cannondale are now on board, he told the summit.
Mayne said the industry could get up to €6bn of EU funds spent on cycling in the next five years, if a united front could be presented to the EU political machine.
Money the industry spends on advocacy has a huge paypack, said Mayne.
“The EU will welcome any economic arguments put to it and cycling is being listened to because it brings clear economic benefits. The EU tells us the reason there’s no cycling money for some countries was because it wasn’t being asked for.”
Mayne showed how an investment of €25,000 (“tiny pots build really fast,”) led to EU funding of €138m.
“The healthiest bike markets are not built on leisure mountain biking, they are built on transport bikes. We have studied EU wide figures for transport cycling and confirmed that countries with the highest transport cycling buy the most bikes,” said Mayne.
“Advocacy leads to sales.”