Cycling’s international governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has announced the publication of its Cycling for All Manifesto, which ‘sets out the ambition, role and core activities the UCI will pursue to support cycling in all forms across the world’.
Promoting and nurturing everyday cycling is a core pillar of the UCI’s strategy and, under Brian Cookson’s presidency, the UCI adds that it is working hard to ensure that elite cycling acts as a catalyst to inspire even greater mass participation, and get many more people using bikes as part of their everyday lives. The Manifesto aims to demonstrate how cycling advocacy is being embedded into all areas of UCI activity, ensuring the organisation is a leading advocate for everyday cycling, working with partners from grassroots through to high level political engagement.
Welcoming the launch of the Manifesto, UCI President Brian Cookson said “The launch of the UCI Cycling for All Manifesto marks an important step in our strategy to drive grassroots participation globally. It provides a vital link between the sport of cycling and the much wider activity of everyday cycling that takes place in people’s daily lives.”
He continued, “We want to create a more bike-friendly world, where higher rates of cycling deliver a whole range of wider benefits, from health to environmental. Across the world, far too often it is a challenge for people to choose cycling as a form of transport, be it riding to work, travelling to school, or transporting goods to the market by bike. The UCI wants to make journeys by bike safer and more accessible for all. We encourage our National Federations and Continental Confederations, the cycling advocacy community, the cycling industry, and political leaders across the world to work with us in this essential area.”
Given the environmental, health and socio-economic challenges being faced across the world, UCI notes that cycling can play a clear role in ensuring a more sustainable future. Whether it is tackling climate change, air pollution, urban congestion or obesity and physical apathy, cycling is a low cost, safe and socially positive activity that should be encouraged.
UCI-funded research demonstrates that a switch from motorised vehicles to cycling would help confront these issues, while generating infrastructure savings of up to US$25 trillion by 2050.
“The UCI will play a central, indispensable role in maximising the worldwide benefits of cycling,” said Tim Blumenthal, President of the US bike advocacy organisation PeopleForBikes and a member of the UCI Advocacy Commission.
“The UCI’s core network of nearly 200 National Federations, five Continental Confederations, more than 1,500 pro riders and hundreds of major event organisers can work closely with cities and nations to make every-day cycling safer and more appealing.”
Activities under ‘Cycling for All’ cover several areas:
- At the political level, UCI will engage with policy makers to encourage countries and international organisations to adopt bike-friendly policies. For example, UCI is working directly in Brussels to influence EU decision-making, ensuring that the European institutions are supporting cycling, and looking to the bicycle to achieve EU policy goals. As part of this, the UCI and UEC are calling on the European Commission to adopt a European Cycling Strategy;
- With the UCI Bike City label, the UCI is rewarding and working with cities that invest in elite cycling and everyday cycling activities;
- UCI is developing a UCI Cycling for All Ambassadors programme to work with professional riders on cycling advocacy campaigns;
- With the UN Sustainable Development Goals in place, the UCI will push cycling as a tool for sustainable and inclusive development; and
- UCI will support its National Federations, sharing best practice and encourage their cycling for all activities.
“It is fantastic to see, how the UCI in the future will have an even stronger impact on everyday cycling, working closely together with the federations and cities,” said Pia Allerslev, Mayor for the Children and Youth Administration in Copenhagen, one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, and Member of the UCI Advocacy Commission.
“Giving more people, young or old, a better chance and incentive to move around by bike, will change cities and people’s lives.”
Chris Boardman, multiple Olympic and UCI World Champion, former UCI Hour Record Holder and cycling policy advisor said, “Whilst cycle racing is a marvellous sport and provides some of the world’s most exciting events, the bicycle itself has the potential to be so much more than entertainment; in truth, it could be world-changing. If more people used it for everyday tasks it would have an enormous impact on reducing global pollution levels and improving health.
“There are nations and cities that do just this but those examples are still the minority. Often, other, more car-oriented cities aren’t even aware of the benefits of more cycling, in large part because no one is responsible for publicising the bicycle’s potential and spreading the word.”
He added, “I am delighted the Union Cycliste Internationale has decided to widen its remit and champion this amazing machine in all its forms around the globe. It is the ideal body to bring people together and share best practice, unify lobbying activities and to persuade world leaders that two-wheeled transport should be part of their cities’ transport future.”
To support the UCI’s efforts, or for more information, interested parties can contact cyclingforall[at]uci.ch and/or follow @cycling on Twitter.