When people turn to you and say “why?”
A recent phenomenon has been the number of people saying that there is not enough advocacy in Australia and that we need more. They are starting to point out how little the state orgs have been doing and wondering what can be done to fix this.
I will take some personal responsibility here, with the way Cycle started, it was a direct assault on the status quo and against the current state orgs. I found them tired and redundant. They were basically event organisations that only cared about how many riders they can get to the next challenge. And this once was true.
But the state-based orgs are now advocating and are doing the best they can do to improve conditions.
This doesn’t mean you can just expect these organisations to work for you without your support.
When Cycle first started, we wanted to pull the memberships from the orgs, we felt that by removing their funding they would sharpen up. And I am convinced this has actually happened, we now see all the state orgs pulling their collective heads together and working around tables to get better outcomes. In fact, it was seeing this for the first time in process that made me more comfortable to retire from advocacy.
This does go in line with the last Blog though, cycling advocacy does cost. And so by Cycle moving back, we are saying you need to support these orgs and give them your money to fund them so they can fight for you. Get involved and push them to do the job. Hell, if a ex-pat with a facebook page can do it across Australia, you can do it in their faces. Don’t let them ignore you, but don’t become a detractor.
In the 7 years I ran Cycle I have seen memberships of these groups go down and their revenue struggle, and yet they are working their arses off to make the environment better. Imagine what they could do with pressure and finances to open avenues. Imagine what we could see if the events become secondary because they just happened. I am of the belief that we are at the start, not the end. I think we are about to see some amazing things to come.
To this point I am satisfied we can create the ‘Almighty Cycling Advocacy’ that I denied would ever happen. We will see the groups come together and work with We Ride Australia to form an umbrella group that will ultimately help to create a force that will be nationally and locally formidable and have the power to create change. This is something I could never achieve unfunded.
So, this may shock you….
Rethink your bicycle membership, join your state org, do an event (yeah even I struggle on the cost of these) but get involved, otherwise you will lose it and we will go backwards even further.