130 years ago the Roads Improvement Association was set up by the Cyclists Touring Club (now, “We Are Cycling UK”) – who are still authorised to put up cycle route signs – and the National Cyclists’ Union, before motoring was legal in the UK. The RIA was instrumental in funding hard and smooth road surfaces, which didn’t just benefit them but motorists as well – as wonderfully reported in “Roads Were Not Built for Cars”.
In the meantime, crowdfunding of a whole range of products and concepts has become common.
In recent weeks, I have communicated with colleagues in the Suffolk district of the CTC, as well as by email with EuroVelo and the ECF (European Cyclists’ Federation) as I would love to see signage for the Eurovelo route that comes almost past my door. I had wondered, in the same way that our family has a brick with our name on at the local football club, and we supported a similar type of scheme at the local theatre, whether it wouldn’t be possible to have individuals and families donate the cost of a sign – either for a Sustrans, a Eurovelo, or local / regional cycle route signs.
Then I saw that the Adventure Cycling Association, who bill themselves as “America’s Bicycle Travel Experts” have an annual campaign month, where individuals can donate in support of the “USBRS” – the United States Bicycle Route System; different levels of donation qualify for rewards – just like the crowdfunding model – and all entries above $10 go into a draw for a Limited Edition Salsa Marrakesh touring bike.
My hope is to persuade the CTC, Sustrans and Eurovelo to set up a similar “crowddoning” campaign.
The American model has some major donor matched-funding: donations up to $45,000 will be doubled. Perhaps we could link into some of the major, multi-million Euro funds that ECF has announced on their website to multiply the efforts of Joe (and Jo) Public?
If you have ever enjoyed cycling a signed bike route, please help promote this idea of donations to organisations such as Sustrans and Eurovelo specifically for additional cycle route signs.
The more cycle route signs there are, the more people become aware of the routes, and the more people who are inspired to cycle some of them. The more cyclists we have, the better our call for cycling infrastructure will be heard.
If you have ideas on how to swell this seed of a campaign, please get in touch!