Federaçao Portuguesa de Ciclismo: a National Federation committed to Cycling for All
In the last three years the Federaçao Portuguesa de Ciclismo (FPC) has increased its membership by 46%, one of the biggest growths registered by any of the European National Federations.
How have they done it? A big part of the increase has been due to the high profile of Rui Costa, 2013 UCI Road World Champion and three times Portuguese “athlete of the year” - an impressive achievement in a country where football remains by far the most popular sport. The Lampre-Merida rider has helped the FPC further by fronting their campaigns to improve conditions for cycling.
The FPC widened its activities with the launch in 2013 of a Cycling for All programme, including children’s activities, mass participation events and that World Champion-led campaigning.
The programme is run by Sandro Araújo, Vice-President of the FPC: “The National Cycling for All programme has been an important tool in promoting and developing cycling at a wider level in our country, reaching more people than ever, but also for broadening the scope of our intervention within the cyclists’ community, working towards a wider social role for cycling sport.”
Their strategy aims to make cycling - whether as a sport, recreational activity or means of transport - more accessible by improving safety, comfort and quality. In line with that strategy the FPC set itself the objective of streamlining its systems and actively engaging with advocacy efforts. They have a specific ambition to increase cycling in schools and expand their training programmes for children.
By broadening the focus of the organisation, the FPC widened its membership potential, thereby increasing revenue. They introduced a ‘family’ membership offer for two adults and a child priced at just €54 - less than twice that of an individual adult membership (€29).
Campaigning for awareness and participation
“I’m used to saying Cycling for All is the sport’s 'baking powder’, because it is so important in raising general awareness and participation, and also for sustainable growth,” says Sandro Araújo.
At the end of 2014, FPC also formed an alliance with local urban cycling campaign group MUBi, agreeing to share knowledge, support campaigns, and argue for common objectives, particularly concerning cycle training in schools.
FPC is one of the founding members of Estrada Viva – “Living Streets” – campaigning for safer, walking- and cycling-friendly streets. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, FPC have helped develop a teacher training programme to improve cycle training in schools. They are also working with the Ministry on a pilot training programme to teach 6,000 children from three groups of schools how to cycle.
The FPC represents an excellent example of how a National Federation can increase its membership, help teach thousands of children to cycle and make the streets safer for everyone, whether they are cycling to work, or training.