Post-General Election we asked whether the new Coalition Government would bring good times to cycling. And the trade had good reason to be positive – the Lib Dems had pledged to support IBDs with new measures, and the Coalition claimed to be the greenest Government ever.
Only a few months later, however, and Undersecretary for State Norman Baker confirmed cycling would no longer have its own pot of money, while Cabinet Secretary Francis Maude officially announced the news that Cycling England was to be axed.
Was 2010’s Bike Week the biggest yet? That was what EDF hoped for with its Team Green Britain branded sponsorship of the mass participation cycling event.
Through funded support, Bike Week saw more help provided for event organisers than ever before, and a higher profile for the long-established bike-backing week.
Event workshops and guides were among the resources made available. Events ran up and down the country with the aim to get bums on saddles.
Cycling Scotland got in on the action with the able assistance of long-distance cyclist Mark Beaumont. Cycling England chief exec Ian Aitken said: “There’s something for everyone during Bike Week, with events ranging from cycle training and Dr Bike sessions for novices, to commuter challenges and group rides around local cycling routes.”
Londoners woke up to a “new dawn for the bicycle” at the end of July, in the words of London Mayor Boris Johnson. He wasn’t far wrong either – with the launch of the Cycle Superhighways and the Cycle Hire scheme, the capital upped its cycle-friendly credentials like never before.
Barclays Hire Scheme, or Boris’ bikes, as they were snappily nicknamed, proved popular from the off, according to TfL. Five thousand bikes were available from 315 docking stations at launch and, at time of press, Johnson had announced a further 2,000 bikes and 4,200 docking points for central and East London in time for the 2012 Olympics.
HMRC threw a spanner into the Cycle to Work salary sacrifice scheme in August with a set of new guidelines.
The rule revision on ‘fair market value’ for the worth of a bicycle bought on the scheme was higher than previously, leading many in the industry – including those that have cited C2W as a key driver of growth for the cycle market – to fear for the future attractiveness of the scheme. Pre-empting the rule change, the largest C2W providers formed the Cycle to Work Alliance to back the scheme. Now the dust has settled on the change, those key providers have sought to calm fears and reassure retailers that the scheme is still viable and attractive.