Comment: Investing in the broad church of cycling

What can one random image from a youth event tell you about the future of cycling?
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Take a look at the below image, snapped at the August Boyley Jam (held in memory of former local rider Richard Ball) at White Rock skatepark in Hastings. It’s one taken totally at random, in fact, the focal point would have been the sea, cropped out at the top. It’s a bit Where’s Wally-esque, in that there’s a really quite random selection of characters – from a chap in the foreground with an excellently groomed mohawk, to a child who appears to be wearing some kind of psychedelic melon stunt jersey.

And no, I’m not about to spend a few hundred words taking the piss, variety is the spice of life, as they say. It’s the evidence within the image that’s intriguing.

Within is evidence that BMX riders often also grow to own and ride road bikes. Evidence that scooter riders, skateboarders and indeed anyone watching will be influenced by and often subsequently embrace bike culture. There’s two media types in the pic too. Three if you count me. This multi-distributor and retailer sponsored event will be seen far and wide in pictures and video, reaching an even broader audience. 

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Cycling is a broad church and it’s getting broader thanks to grassroots events and facilities like these. Which leads me in a roundabout way to my point – have you campaigned for the cause lately? Perhaps you’ve spoken with the local MP or town councillor about what they’re doing to combat obesity in the local area?

Cycle to school rates have doubled in some London boroughs with a little help from Bikeability training. Is there scope for a series of bike doctor events with your local schools to encourage kids to use their bikes? 

Is there a skate park or racetrack that’s too small for its audience in town? Make a solid case for an expansion and hold a jam alongside other local businesses to push awareness and funding. As shown in Hastings, the sky is the limit, with diverse funding sources gathered from the Government’s Play Pathfinder scheme, the fundraising efforts of the Boyley Trust Fund and council contributions. 

At the Boyley Jam there were countless families from around town watching both locals and shipped in pros perform in a series of competitions. The noise of the crowd and smiles on young faces suggest to me that such events contribute more than we’ll ever be able to put a value on when it comes to shoring up the future of the cycling business.

Check out the video from the aforementioned Boyley Jam below:

Boyley Jam 2015 from Source bmx on Vimeo.

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